The Psychopaths in Charge must have given the media their marching orders regarding parenting instruction and narcissism. My news feed was filled today with multiple articles from several different news outlets about how narcissism is caused by bad parenting. Where is the definitive evidence? Well folks, there is none. Despite the fact that there is no evidence to support that “over-valuing” children causes narcissism, the media, based on one study, insists it has the answer and the parenting instruction you need. Here is a small sample of the massive amount of articles that came out between March 9th and 10th 2015:
Raising Narcissist Kids
How Not To Raise kids who are not Narcissists
How Not To Raise a Narcissist
How Parents Create Narcisstic Children
Praise Turns Kids Into Narcissistic Jerks Study Finds
Do Parents Nurture Narcissists by Pouring on Praise?
There are several dangerous and toxic aspects to these news pieces. Narcissism falls on the psychopathology scale and is not curable. Narcissists, like psychopaths do not change. They feel superior and therefore no need to change. Narcissism like psychopathology is not caused by any particular parenting style. Some narcissists had very nurturing parents and some did not. One study does not change this fact. There is still a lot of mystery about the causes of psychopathology and narcissism but the vast majority of study has revealed that narcissists and psychopaths are narcissists and psychopaths regardless of their childhoods and how they were raised. Any study that claims to definitively know the cause is hyping their study considerably.
Most importantly, we live in a sick society where children are largely and most obviously under-valued. We have a long, long way to go before encounter any danger of over-valuing children. In fact, I would argue that it would be beneficial to value children more, as much as possible even. In our sick society, children are starving for places where they feel valued, accepted and safe. If we listen to the bad advice of the media, our homes will not even be places where our children can feel and know they are valued. Confidence in children is not and has never been the issue or problem with children. Children know our society is sick and are looking for ways to cope with that reality and express their inner-knowing of this reality. If we label any sign of confidence as narcissism, we run the risk of damaging our children’s emerging sense of self. Please do not listen to this bad parenting advice. Go hug your kids and tell them how beautiful, smart and creative they are.