Are you raising a narcissist?

Do you know the 9 symptoms associated with narcissistic personality disorder? 

Psychiatrists caution against assigning personality disorders to people until at least age eighteen. 

I understand the wisdom in caution, but it can’t hurt to watch for tendencies toward behaviors associated with such disorders.

This is especially true regarding symptoms associated with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). But before looking too closely at children, parents must examine their own tendencies toward narcissistic behaviors.

I am convinced that some parents model narcissistic attitudes and behaviors without knowing it. 

The parent, for example, who always insists on being right or knowing more than others should not be surprised if his or her children display the same behaviors.

Other parents actually raise children to be narcissistic by failing to correct behaviors associated with the nine symptoms of narcissism.

So I am inviting parents to take inventory. A narcissistic life is personally destructive and particularly disruptive to a good society.

9 symptoms 

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is assigned to someone who meets five or more of the following symptoms:

  1. A grandiose sense of self-importance (expects to be recognized as superior; is angered when not recognized)
  2. Preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  3. Believes that he or she is special and unique (can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people or institutions).
  4. Requires excessive admiration (craves attention)
  5. A very strong sense of entitlement, (strong expectations of favorable and special treatment; demands compliance with his or her expectations)
  6. Exploitative of others, (takes advantage of or uses others to achieve his or her own ends — will even exploit people who should be appreciated)
  7. Lacks empathy, (unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others where it conflicts with his or her agenda)
  8. Is often envious of others (resentful toward the achievements of others who outshine him or her; and believes that others are envious of him or her)
  9. Regularly shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes (must be the most important person who knows more and is better than others; desires to be the center of attention)

Parents should correct tendencies toward these behaviors and avoid doing things that encourage narcissistic ways of thinking.

Parents who overly indulge their children by jumping at every request actually encourage narcissism.

Some of these parents wrongly think this is how one should be a good parent. They fail to appreciate how the world their children must live in won’t revolve around them or jump for them.

This kind of overindulgent parenting will only set children up for self-destructive expectations and broken relationships.

God calls parents to firmly correct selfish behaviors and attitudes in their children. This is an act of true love for your children and for society.

7 clarifications

  1. Honest words of encouragement and compliment are important for our children. Our children also need to know that we are confident in them.
  2. Help your children see themselves as valuable beings made in God’s image.
  3. Encourage your children in their gifts and strengths but always in context of humble appreciation toward the Giver of our gifts.
  4. Challenge your children to use their gifts and abilities to help others.
  5. Be careful not to wrongly judge self-confident people as narcissistic. Narcism is not so much about confidence in public roles, but whether one holds distorted versions of reality regarding themselves. Quiet or seemingly shy people can also be narcissistic (hypochondriacs are classic examples).
  6. When people are self-absorbed or self-assertive in ways that involve arrogance and condescending attitudes toward others, the flag of narcissism is flying high.
  7. Don’t be like the parents who overindulged a child’s sense of personal beauty or talent in a way that distorts reality. This approach will lead to self-deception, narcissism and social dysfunction. It’s also a sure path to marital misery!

Questions worth asking

  • Are you encouraging narcissistic symptoms in your parenting?
  • Are you (as a parent) modeling narcissistic behaviors?
  • Do you always have to be right or to know more than others? 

We should not overreact in detecting symptoms in our children. Our common fallen nature has a gravitational pull toward narcissistic behaviors. But we must confront narcissistic attitudes and behaviors in our own lives and in our children. 

See also:  Humility – not an emotion

Steve Cornell

This entry was posted in Athletics, Behavior, Change, Character, Conceit, Counseling, Depravity, Difficult people, Discernment, Family life, Gospel, Gospel-centered, Human depravity, Human dignity, Humility, Jerks, Narcissism, Narrative, Origin of Sin, Parenting, Parenting teens, Self esteem, Self love, Self-deception, Selfishness, Social Networking, Social Networks, Spiritual Detox, Spiritual growth, Spiritual inventory, Spiritual transformation and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Are you raising a narcissist?

  1. godsdragon says:

    Dear Pastor Cornell. Thank you for sharing this article. Not too long ago, I learned that a Narcissistic Personality Disorder is the root cause of domestic abuse… How enlightening it is to know and spot these tendencies early in life so they can be dealt with appropriately.
    God bless you.

  2. Pingback: No longer a parent of teens! | WisdomForLife

  3. Pingback: A generation of deluded narcissists | WisdomForLife

  4. Katie Gatsis Triggs says:

    It makes sense that the child learns these traits being passed down to them through observing their parents’ example. However, the double edged sword of every “psychological condition” is that it is a tagphrase pasted on a behavior in a way requesting to be validated by external (or politically motivated approval or disapproval). When God is the heart of the matter, and religion as is such the case, then the heart of the individual somehow gets lost in this viewing as we aim to grade the intentions of its’ bearer as good to a fault or bad to the bone. How vain really that anyone should take the place of God in this judgement of the human heart. Any instructive benefit of these psychological/ spiritual/ social tools ought to be seen, rather, as mere TOOLS; ways in which we can either, as a team or introspectively guage our behaviour in order to lift ourselves up, empower others and benefit the community as a whole with knowledge. Otherwise the purpose of having these descriptors (which should provide comfort, understanding and empathy….and not condescension, mistrust and avoidance) would not be of any worthwhile cause or significance. Laugh and try to move on with your head up.

  5. Reblogged this on WisdomForLife and commented:

    Here’s one especially for parents.

  6. I am bookmarking this article of yours because I want a very good friend to read this later. I think she shows more than 5 of the symptoms

  7. Ann K says:

    Awesome job, Pastor Cornell. I did not know that pastors had time for online stuff. What a thoughtful and excellent way to reach out. I remember learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder in my psychology class. You were very right about this type of personality causing domestic problems. I know a few families who have gone in for counseling. Some are ready for a change only with severe intervention. Please continue the good work and God bless you.

  8. kjcrayton65 says:

    I agree with a lot of what you state in your article, but I do not agree that “overindulgent parenting” is the source of the problem. There has been a recent article that veers toward that same line of thought, but please be aware that God alone knows the source, and without Him, we run the risk of creating spiritual monsters in the likes of narcissists, disobedient, ungrateful, unholy…2 Timothy 3:2. I lived with someone who had the strongest NPD symptoms imaginable…I do not believe he had overindulgent parents…I believe he was abused. We can all come up with a possible cause, but all that is important is that we raise the gifts that God has given us, for Him alone, leading by godly example, dependent upon the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom and discernment.

  9. unofficialnarcissist says:

    I wrote about raising a narcissist as well. It is heavy on the narcissist though…see what you think: http://theindigorabbit.blogspot.com/2015/03/raising-narcissist.html

  10. Andrea says:

    While this article is filled with sound parenting advice, it misses the mark concerning NPD. My father has NPD. When my sister got married he demanded to be allowed to bring a date we had never met. My sister said she was not comfortable with this. He did not attend the wedding, instead sending all his children letters stating that he was going to sue us for slander. We, unanimously decided to have no further contact with him. I began to research why he would behave this way and discovered NPD. All the symptoms are there- sense of entitlement, we were only useful if he could show us off to others, and narcissistic rage. My father was the 8th of 9 children in a very strict Catholic household. Children were expected to submit to their parents wishes and were meant to be seen not heard. None of his siblings have NPD. On the other hand, my husband’s nephew is an only child whose parents are kind and decent but superficial keep up with the Jones’s type. He is 13 now and yes he is a sheltered introvert but does not display signs of NPD. What this article describes is egocentrism which should not be confused with narcissism.

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