Many people believe narcissists aren’t born that way. Psychologists aren’t exactly sure what causes children to become narcissists, but many think they become this way due to their environment. This article has an in-depth look into what causes kids to become narcissists.
First, let’s look at the definition of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).
This is a diagnosed mental health condition, not just a term to toss around lightly.
Narcissistic personality disorder — one of many types of personality disorders — is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention & admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.
Environmental factors that may cause children to become narcissistic:
- childhood abuse or neglect
- excessive parental pampering
- unrealistic expectations from parents
- cultural influences
Mental health professionals look for signs like arrogance, chronic attention-seeking, manipulation, entitlement, fascination for wealth and power, and hate for criticism.
Narcissistic personality disorder is hard to diagnose in children or teenagers. At younger ages, humans are always growing and changing. The personality traits of a narcissist usually worsen with age.
So just because a person feels the need to always be right or is selfish, those actions don’t mean they have a mental illness, necessarily.
Overall, a narcissistic child can change IF they get intervention at a young age. Changing an adult’s perspective is much harder.
Children grow and learn by those that guide them through life.
It’s great to praise their strange artwork for instance, but only if you do it to an extent. There’s a balance between neglecting your children and overpraising them.
Narcissists create an unfavorable environment for anyone in their path. Therefore, it’s essential to work with children to ensure their future is positive and healthy.
If you’re interested in learning more about what causes children to become narcissists, or counseling for a child or for yourself, contact Nancy Hilsenrath, LCSW, CASAC, SAP for info. about therapy near you.
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