You think you're building your child's self-esteem, but are you really creating a narcissist? A recent study from The Ohio State University found that giving children too much praise can be a bad thing. And all that praise may not even help them develop strong self-esteem at all. Instead overpraising your children could turn them into teens and adults who believe they are better than everyone else and are entitled to privileges. Co-author of the study Brad Bushman told Forbes:
People with high self-esteem think they're as good as others, whereas narcissists think they're better than others. Children believe it when their parents tell them that they are more special than others. That may not be good for them or for society.
According to study author Eddie Brummelman, narcissistic children are at risk for:
Lashing out aggressively when they don't receive the admiration that they constantly expect
Having no friends because people don't like narcissists
For some, narcissism is genetic, but how a child prone to narcissim is raised also plays a big part in his attitude. It's vital for parents to reevaluate how you praise your children to see if you are in danger of raising narcissists.
Do you praise your child's tiniest achievements?
Do you tell your child she is the best at everything she does?
Do you tell your child that he deserves awards and rewards that he actually doesn't?
Instead of telling your child, "You're special" or "You're the best," try saying, "You worked really hard on that" or "I love watching you play." These statements will allow your child to feel good about what she's done or how she's acted without making her feel like she's better than her classmates or teammates at everything.
And the best thing to say instead of overpraising is simply, "I love you."