Narcissism is caring too much about you and not about other people. In today’s self-absorbed world, how can we raise kids who strive to make a difference? How can we teach them to care about others, and instill in them a yearning to improve the world? What are the signs of a self-absorbed child? Here are some strategies to help your kids be less self-absorbed and enable them to see the world as being bigger than themselves.
You overindulge their every whim.
Sadly, our self-absorbed society has told parents to help their kids feel good about themselves at all costs, and that it’s the parents’ duty to make their children happy. Underneath it all, though, kids don’t need parents who always make them happy. They need parents who will make them capable. When parents give children too much stuff that costs money, do things for children that they can do for themselves, do not expect children to do chores, do not have good rules and let children run the family, they are bound to raise a child that will be completely self-absorbed.
They talk highly of themselves.
Does your child speak in a boastful or exaggerated way about his accomplishments? Self-indulgent kids talk incessantly about themselves and their accomplishments. Instead of feeling proud or confident, they are arrogant. They may belittle others for not doing as well as they did. They embellish their own achievements and care little about acknowledging others. Furthermore, praising children too often and telling them they are more special than others contributes to a higher likelihood of developing narcissistic traits.
They don’t have many friends.
Friendships are built upon trust, communication, shared interests and compromise. Narcissistic kids typically don't have those traits, and subsequently have serious problems in interpersonal relationships. They don't care about other people, but rather use others as a way to increase their own false sense of self-worth.
They get angry when they don't get their way.
Does your child have frequent angry outbursts because you are not doing what she expects? Selfish kids are very good at intimidating or manipulating their parents to get what they feel they deserve. If expectations are not met, they react in anger to get their way. Other kids manipulate their parents, particularly if the parents are divorced, into getting what they want.
They want only the best.
If your child pays excessive attention to how they look or obtaining the latest and greatest new gadget it is a sign they’re self-absorbed. Egotistical kids like to acquire things, whether it is clothes or technology, as a way to bring attention to themselves. They want to be envied by their peers and look cool in other people’s eyes. They will get angry when someone else is given a compliment for their looks or material items they have.
Look at your own behavior.
Have you ever noticed that you might be too self-absorbed, and your child is only replicating your behavior? You need to always be a role model to your children. If they catch you constantly talking bad about others, only focusing on your own appearance, and fighting to get your way, then they likely will act the same.
Ways to help them be less self-absorbed.
There are many ways you can help your child be more empathetic and compassionate. First, practice being active, engaged listeners in family life. It starts with you modeling excellent listening skills to your partner and kids. Put away your electronic devices and listen closely to your loved ones. Teach your kids that being a good listener helps others feel valued.
The single best way to avoid raising an entitled child is to require your youngster to do things for others. This begins in early childhood by requiring your preschooler to help around the house, and continues later on with family chores and volunteer efforts. Practice having giving hearts together, either by volunteering your time or donating to a favorite charity or a family in need. There are unlimited opportunities in the world to serve others. Most likely there are plenty of volunteer opportunities within your own community. Serving others will open your kids’ eyes to the extensive disparities faced by certain groups of people, and will help them learn about the needs within their own community.
Random acts of kindness are an awesome way to serve others. By doing random acts of kindness together, your kids will learn how to make people’s day. Your kids will learn about the act of helping others without doing it for praise or recognition.
When teaching your child about empathy, you must come into the conversation with a calm tone.
Coaching empathy to self-centered children can be likened to walking a tightrope; parents offer pointed words of advice without leaning too far and threatening their feelings. Shame and sorrow can set in, making it easy for them to dismiss parents as too critical. Offer reassurance such as, "We all make mistakes and may be too quick to think of ourselves when we need to think of others." Provide examples of when adults commit the same error and elaborate upon the social consequences.
It's natural for you to want to raise your child to be the best person they can be. Having a child that is overly self-absorbed can be exhausting and scary, but it doesn't mean they can't change. With your parenting, they can become more empathetic.