from Mackenzie Dawson at the New York Post:
This week, a study came out confirming that narcissists are largely bred, not born. The study, conducted by the University of Amsterdam and Ohio State University, found that "narcissism in children is cultivated by parental overvaluation: parents believing their child to be more special and more entitled than others."
This is great news, because it means there are steps we can take to prevent unleashing more little egotists on the world.
And this is bad news, because these steps are actually pretty common-sense; the study cited parental warmth, not praise, as a counterbalance to the trend. It's also kind of depressing that we've even come to a point where narcissism--the increase of which contributes to societal problems such as aggression and violence, according to the research-- has become so widespread that an entire study was conducted in the first place. (Then again, selfie sticks are now sold in drugstores for $24.95, so the mystery ends there.)
Here are nine ways to make sure your child doesn't become a narcissist.
Say no. A recent school of thought seems to treat "no" as a kind of ultimate buzzkill, a tamping down on childish creativity and artistic self-expression. This is nuts. It's fine to tell your children no, especially when they're trying to set something on fire.
Teach them basic manners. A lack of manners is the ultimate form of narcissism.
Teach them how to manage frustration. Much has been written about good old-fashioned grit, a person’s ability to confront failure and learn from it. Studies have found it to be one of the best indicators of later happiness in adults.
Pull a Louie. There was a fantastic episode of "Louie" a few seasons back where his daughter is enraged because her sister got something that she didn’t.
"Listen," he says. “You’re never gonna get the same things as other people. It's never gonna be equal. It's not gonna happen ever in your life, so you must learn that now, OK? The only time you should look in your neighbor's bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don't look in your neighbor's bowl to see if you have . . . as much as them."
Be kind. To other people, not just your child. This one might seem painfully obvious, but it’s worth remembering that your kids don't just notice how you treat them-- they notice how you interact with the world.
Travel with them. Take trips with your kids, whether it's to another country, another state or even a town nearby that’s completely different from the one you live in. It doesn't have to be expensive. A change of scenery will be enough to reinforce to your kids that not everyone lives the way they do
Love and approval are different. Loving your kids unconditionally is one thing, but that love doesn’t need to translate into constant, unconditional, 24/7 approval and praise of everything they do.
Read to them. A recent study found that reading fiction helps people improve their empathy, because it encourages them to place themselves in others' lives and understand their actions.
Run errands with them. Not all of life can be fascinating, interesting and wonderful, and no lesson reinforces that better than bringing your kids along on some errands. While the recent parenting emphasis on "quality time" is fine, boredom is its own powerful life lesson.
The entire article can be read here.