Is Your Child A Victim Of This Personality Disorder?

Here’s a look at an authoritarian (demanding) parenting style and the possible dangers of it creating a narcissistic child. We explore some of the common signs and symptoms of a Narcissistic Personality Disorder and the treatment options which are available. Swipe left to read all about it. 

Parents who encourage their children to compete with others, who are constantly either bragging about how their child is the best or how they need to work harder to achieve their goals put undue pressure on a child’s psyche. So what can this result in? 

This can easily result in a child feeling superior to others. These children tend to walk around with a sense of false pride and get emotionally hurt at the slightest disappointment.

There are also children who feel “no matter what I do, I will never be good enough for my parents” and they continue to live their lives feeling dejected and unwanted.

The purpose of this article is to look at an authoritarian (demanding) parenting style and the possible dangers of it creating a narcissistic child. We explore some of the common signs and symptoms of a Narcissistic Personality Disorder and the treatment options which are available. Scroll down to read all about it. 

What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder? 

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a disorder which is characterized by exaggerated feelings of self-importance, excessive need for social approval and admiration, and a lack of empathy for others. People with NPD spend time thinking about achieving power, fame and success. They may also obsess about their appearance, beauty and attractiveness. NPD people often take advantage of others around them for their personal gain.

When does it start?

The onset of pathological narcissism can start in infancy, early childhood or during adolescence. It is often an outcome of abuse and trauma which has been inflicted on the child by their parents, family members or by their peers.


What causes NPD in children?

Children in such families do not feel loved. Often the child’s wants and desires are overlooked by the parents. They are loved only if they achieve high standards placed by their parents. Their parents are only interested in how their children can make them look good in front of others.  These parents want to be able to brag to their friends, family members and their neighbours about how good their child is.

Such parents, in general, are short-tempered, irritable and have unrealistically high expectations from their children. Children who grow up in homes like these, receive recognition and love only when they achieve success academically and in sporting events. Many of these children tend to associate love and affection with success.

What happens to children in these cases? 

  • In this process, children spend most of their childhood in pleasing their parents and seeking their approval.
  • They become the child their parents want them to be and often suppress their true likes and dislikes.
  • They don’t learn to explore their talents or fully experience their childhood.
  • Such children spend their lives trying to prove to themselves, to their parents and to the world that they are not losers.
  • They set high and unrealistic targets for themselves. They keep criticizing themselves mentally and keep telling themselves that they need to do better. They become narcissistic adults themselves.

Too much parental idealization can lead to a distorted view of how the child sees themselves. Any flaw in their personality becomes unbearable for the child and the child finds it to be unacceptable and constantly strives for perfection. Some parents set high standards and when their children are not able to achieve the desired results they are then rejected by their parents and made to feel inadequate. They compel themselves to win at everything they do and nothing is ever good enough for them.

Children of parents who constantly belittle them, grow up resenting their parents. They become “angry adults” and often their anger is directed at others who remind them of their parents and of their traumatic childhood. This affects the formation and sustenance of long-term relationships.

Then there are some children who simply give up and accept defeat.  In their adolescent years, these children resort to addictive substances and to alcohol to cope with the feelings of worthlessness and shame they have been conditioned to feel as children. They stop trying to explore their talents and potentials as they firmly believe that they do not have any talents and are inferior to others. These young adults are prone to depression and at high risk of committing suicide.


Signs and symptoms of children with NPD:

  • Narcissistic children believe that they are exceptionally talented and have a higher intellect than others. They believe that the world revolves around them because of their uniqueness.
  • Narcissistic children will go to any extent to prove that they are right. They find it extremely difficult to accept defeat and to accept that they are wrong.
  • A narcissist child will easily lie to get themselves out of trouble.
  • They are quick to blame others for their shortcomings.
  • They thrive on grandiosity and to have power over others.
  • A narcissistic child believes rules don’t apply to them. They demand of being treated with exclusivity.
  • They crave for external recognition and for praise.
  • They become self-centered and insensitive to the needs of others. They tend to use people for their own gain and to achieve their goals. They do not have any intention of carrying on the friendship or relationship once their need has been fulfilled.
  • In social gatherings, they tend to brag about their achievements and feel happy by mocking others who are easy targets for them

Treatment options available for NPD:

After conducting a physical medical exam to rule out organic causes for the disorder, a medical practitioner is likely to refer the child to a mental health professional for a review. A mental health professional can ask the child to appear for certain written tests and then come to a conclusion of the disorder and a mental health treatment plan can be initiated. Psychotherapy is often the first choice recommended by mental health professionals for this condition.

How psychotherapy helps your child:

  • Corrects cognition distortions
  • Improves and strengthens their social interactions and their relationships with others
  • Increases their tolerance threshold and becomes more compassionate to self and to others
  • Effectively deals with criticism
  • Positively changes the way in which they view themselves and builds self esteem (Where needed)
  • Sets realistic goals
  • Teaches them the difference between conditional and unconditional love
  • Regulates and to understand their emotions and feelings

Medications available:

There are no specific medicines currently available to treat Narcissistic Personality Disorder. There are medicines available to treat symptoms of anxiety and depression which may be present in a child with NPD.

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