A recent study published on-line in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (on-line March 9, 2015) shows that narcissism is higher in children whose parents overvalue them and their achievements. Children are taught that they are better than others and are more special than others. They believe that they are superior and are entitled to special privileges.
One outcome of this seems to be more aggression, triggered when children do not get what they believe they are entitled to. The longitudinal study included 565 children aged seven to 11 years old. It also included 415 of the mothers and 290 of the fathers. Contrary to what some might believe, parental warmth predicted healthy self-esteem, not narcissism.
Narcissists have the qualities that include a strong sense of self-importance, a belief that they are better than others, a sense of entitlement and a lack of empathy for others. When parents praise their children for everything, treat them as though they are better than others and do not teach them to put themselves in others’ shoes, they put their children at risk for developing narcissistic tendencies or even narcissistic personality disorder. They set them up for poorer relationships with others and increased levels of aggression.
According to an on-line article by Pauline Anderson for Medscape Medical News, research shows that narcissism is higher in Western societies and it tends to decrease with age. Boys tend to have it at a somewhat higher rate than girls.
As a parent, providing care, kindness and empathy for your child will NOT create narcissism. Teaching your child that he or she is worthy of the same respect as others will help you NOT be a parent of a narcissist. Teaching your children that the same expectations apply to them as to others will help you to NOT be a parent of a narcissist. Teaching your children that the rules do NOT apply to them because they are more special than everyone else will increase the likelihood that they will have unhealthy relationships and increased anger as adults.