Are you sure what we do is purely for the good of the child or it is all just for the sake of our own reputation, then we unknowingly become narcissistic parents? Let’s get to know the signs and their impact on children.
Have we ever felt that we are the only people who know the best, what is best for our children?
Do we want our children to continue to depend on us and feel that the independence they gain (even when they are adults) is a threat?
Read also: How to Train Children to Be Independent
Definition of Narcissistic Parenting
Narcissistic parenting is everything that parents do to their children just for the sake of their image or reputation as a parent. If the child is good, they feel they are the one that is meritorious. On the other hand, if the child is bad, they feel they failed as a parent and blame the child instead of blaming themselves as a parent. When children are successful or have grown up and become independent, then parents in the narcissistic parent category will feel competitive and tend to want their children to be under their shadow all the time.
Unfortunately, many parents are not aware that they are included in the narcissistic parent category.
Then, how to recognize the signs of whether we are included in the category of narcissistic parents?
– Children fulfill parents’ ego: Standards of success that we give to children are only to fulfill our ego or personal desires. Children’s desires and emotions are completely ignored.
Read also: Negative Style of Authoritarian Parenting
– Lower children’s self-confidence: Narcissistic parents feel threatened by their children’s talents and successes because this can disturb their parents’ ego. So, narcissistic parents will try to keep their children in a lower position than their parents so they don’t lose their superior attitude.
– Always feeling superior: Narcissistic parents usually have the wrong habit of forming their self-image by bragging about who they are and what they do. People around them also tend to be used to achieving their personal desires.
– Trying to create an image of themselves, but unfortunately, it is not of good quality and sometimes it is not real: Happy to show people how special they are, happy to seek praise and attention and show the strengths they have. The point is to show what they have and what others don’t have.
– Manipulative: Some examples of manipulation that narcissistic parents often do their children:
a. Making children feel guilty: “Mommy has done everything for you and you are not grateful at all.”
b. Blame: “It’s all your fault why mom and dad are not happy.”
c. Insult: “Your performance wasn’t optimal, it’s embarrassing.”
d. Comparing: “Why can’t you be as good as your cousin?”
e. Put pressure: “Be the best, then mama will be proud of you.”
f. Reward and punishment: “If you can’t get into the top junior high school, mom doesn’t want to pay for your monthly expenses anymore.”
g. Forcing: “If you can’t live up to mom and dad’s expectations, you won’t be our child.”
– Too tough, stiff and irritable: Usually this is related to the behavior of the children, even if the mistake is really trivial. This is done because they want to control the life of the children. They will be very angry when children do not obey the rules that they give.
Read also: 4 Signs Parents Are Too Strict with Children
– Lack of empathy: Tend to think about what they think is right and don’t care at all about the feelings and wishes of the children.
– Addiction: Parents hope that their children will take care of them for the rest of their lives. This dependency can be emotional, physical or financial. Even though it seems reasonable, narcissistic parents will make children make sacrifices that sometimes don’t make sense. On the other hand, they can also make their children continue to depend on them, as if their children are indeed unable to live independently.
– Jealous and possessive: Since narcissistic parents always hope that children will continue to live under their influence, when the children begin to show independence and maturity, they will get angry. They will have many things in their children’s lives, from educational choices, career choices, friends to partners. The presence of a partner will be considered the biggest threat to narcissistic parents.
– Ignoring: In some situations, narcissistic parents prefer to pursue their own pleasures, doing hobbies or activities that they like, rather than raising their children. Besides, they let the spouse or other person take care of the children.
So, what kind of impact will be felt by children raised by narcissistic parents?
- Children have a poor self-concept because they feel unloved and treated more as objects.
- Children never feel considered, heard or cared for.
- Children feel that their existence has never been acknowledged.
- Children feel more like ‘accessories’ or displays than as a whole person.
- Children feel that they are more appreciated for what they have done and not for what they are.
- Children cannot recognize emotions within themselves and grow into individuals who have low self-esteem.
- Children will learn that looks are much more important than how they feel.
- Children will be afraid to show their true personality and prefer imaging.
- Children will feel emotionally empty.
- Children have difficulty trusting other people.
- Children feel used and manipulated.
- Children will be stunted from growing and developing emotionally.
- Children feel more often criticized and judged when they are being themselves.
- Children will be frustrated looking for attention, love, approval from other people later.
- Children always feel not good enough.
- Children do not have a role model for healthy emotional relationships.
- Children will not understand reasonable boundaries in a relationship.
- Children are not able to reward themselves.
- Children will feel they are not worthy of being loved and appreciated.
Then, how can we minimize the effect of narcissistic parents on children?
Well, it is a bit difficult unless children understand that their parents have a narcissistic disorder. For children under the age of teenagers, there is not much that can be done by them, unless the people around them help so that they continue to have healthy growth and development. As for teenagers and above, maybe they already understand what’s going on, so they can have better self-defense. Whatever happens, generally the relationship between children and their parents is usually not good.
We can raise children in a narcissistic style, but on the other hand, we can also be victims of narcissistic parents in the past. To make this narcissistic parenting style not repeat to our children, realizing that this parenting style is wrong can be a good first step to fix everything.