The results are quite clear: Parents who “overvalue” children during this developmental stage, telling them they are superior to others and entitled to special treatment, are more likely to produce narcissistic children — who can grow up to become narcissistic adults, unless something is done about it.
“But when children are treated by their parents with affection and appreciation, they may internalize the view that they are valuable individuals, a view that is at the core of self-esteem.”
indeed, children learn their narcissism from parents who teach them that they are more than special.
By the age of 7 or 8, he said, children develop the ability to describe whether they are happy with themselves and are very likely to compare themselves with others. “It’s an age when they may be especially sensitive to parental influence,” he added.
The researchers did note that they couldn’t quite come out and show cause and effect. “Of course, parental overvaluation is not the sole origin of narcissism,” they wrote. They added: “Like other personality traits, narcissism is moderately heritable and partly rooted in early-emerging temperamental traits. Some children, due to their temperamental traits, might be more likely than others to become narcissistic when exposed to parental overvaluation.”
“I’ve been studying aggression for about 30 years,” he said, “and I’ve seen that the most harmful belief that a person can have is that they’re superior to others. ‘Men are better than women, my race is better than your race, my religion is superior to your religion.’ When people believe they’re better than other people, they act accordingly.”
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