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Narcissistic Child: Signs + How to Avoid Raising One

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Do you suspect that you are raising a narcissistic child? At that age, there is hope. As a parent, you have a lot of ways to regulate this trait and guide your child towards empathy. Children are at a teachable stage where they form new habits with ease.  

If you know of a narcissistic spouse, sibling, kin, or friend, chances are this person has had these traits since childhood.  A narcissistic child emotionally abuses or manipulates others innocently and gets away with it into adulthood. Unfortunately, this mental disorder grows tough to tame in adulthood. In addition, this now narcissistic parent may pass on this habit to their children.

This explains why most researchers and child psychologists avoid labeling any child as a narcissist. They argue that a child’s personality will continue developing until their mid-20s. Hence, a child who behaves entitled will not necessarily turn into an adult narcissist, and so forth.  

So, this guide will help you identify narcissistic children and give you tips on positive parenting. But before I get there, let me help you understand what we mean by a narcissistic child and the key character traits.

Who is a Narcissistic Child?

narcissistic children image

Narcissism is a personality disorder whereby the individual has a yearning for control. They manipulate others to achieve their selfish goals. In other words, this person always targets another person with emotional needs, to make them their victim. Consequently, the narcissist gets nourishment from the attention and respect they get from the victim.

Usually, most ties with a narcissist are superficial and lack any empathy. The narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) often comes with substance abuse, eating or bipolar troubles, and other psychiatric disorders that hinder its treatment.

Child neglect, trauma, or unnecessary appraisals (over-pampering) are some of the reasons that trigger narcissistic habits in kids. This child looks up to others to fulfill the emotional void they have.

For example, a child who feels not accepted as they are by the parents will have a constant need for warmth and approval. In turn, the child becomes self-centered, to the point of hurting other kids.

5 Signs/Symptoms of a Narcissistic Child

#1: Sense of Entitlement/Denying Dependence

All kids naturally look up to adults for admiration and dependence. They get age-appropriate attention and will acknowledge this care. More so, kids value correction and will be grateful for it.

However, narcissistic children deny that they are dependent on anyone. Rather, they have an entitled view to any nurturing they receive from the adults. And, they will neither return this attention nor accept correction.

#2: Constant Need for Attention

competitive children image

A narcissistic child feels stably loved. They feel that they get conditional love that only comes when they succeed. This scenario is quite common in competitive families where kids are rewarded for the highest achievements only.

For example, the child may get praise and notice only when they become top for their science fair contest. And, when the child scores an “A” in mathematics, the parent may ask for an “A+”. This constant pressure to perform leaves the child looking for attention and approval from the parents, siblings, and peers.

#3: Lack of Empathy

Since a narcissistic child has a constant need for attention, the child struggles to relate to others. This child never sees the other person’s point of view, hence, grapples with closeness. In turn, a narcissistic child has limited social interactions. This kid is the one who always feels out of place in a team or a crowd. The retreat may lead to anxiety and depression, triggering self-destructive habits.

#4: Breaking Boundaries

Does your child break the rules? See, if a narcissistic child knows that misbehaving will get them what they want, they will constantly break rules at home and school. Think of instances when kids get away with whining over nothing. Or, a parent who buys toys for a child throwing fits at Walmart just to make them stop screaming. The child simply discovered that mischief works.

#5: Impulsive Behavior

A narcissistic child acts without any thought or whim. For example, they are the first to interrupt you when talking, cut queues at school, blurt out things, and take random risks. This child has low self-control. More so, they may get on the defensive if they sense you treat them, not the behavior, as the problem.

narcissistic personality disorder children image

Tips and Recommendations to Avoid Raising Narcissists

#1: Teach Empathy and Compassion

Children can switch from being self-centered to becoming empathetic as per your guidance. Here, you can show empathy and compassion by creating the right conditions at home that sustain empathy.

For example, do random acts of kindness, thank your kids for doing their best, and let them know that it is okay to make a mistake while learning. Next, volunteer at a nearby homeless shelter; adopt a pet and read stories and books that teach about empathy and kindness.

#2: Encourage them to Pursue Their Passions

Most narcissistic children are born creative. They know what they want and will use those around them to get it. Use this drive to guide your child into pursuing their passions as early as possible. This approach helps the child stay busy instead of lonely away from the peers. Plus, they feel wanted and valued as a special member of the family.

#3: Nurture Responsible Behaviors

Finally, counter the impulsive behaviors in narcissistic children by encouraging responsibility. For example, let the child know that every action has a repercussion. It will make them think before engaging in unnecessary risks.

Likewise: –

  • Reward them for being patient
  • Walk the talk
  • Practice effective listening
  • Get down to the child’s level
  • Strive to keep your promises
  • Know which battles to pick with the child

In Conclusion

Children can outgrow their narcissistic tendencies. They do so with the help of parents and their peers, using course-correction strategies. If you fear that you are raising a narcissistic child, start by taking the personality test. Then, examine the child’s lifestyle to pick out any abuse, neglect, or over-pampering that could be triggering the behavior. Finally, counter it with passion, compassion, and responsibility.

Children learn fast. They adapt to the home environment you create. With the right guidance, you can turn any narcissistic child into an empathetic one.

Rachel is a mom of two boys, a wife, and a part-time chef. By trying and testing new parenting trends she takes her motherhood to the next level! She finds that she processes things better when she writes about them, which has unleashed her passion for sharing her thoughts on life and parenting through her articles for SOLANCHA Magazine.

Parenting

Teaching Empathy to Kids: 5 Simple Strategies

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teaching empathy to kids image

Is teaching empathy to kids apt? Or, is empathy inborn? Well, your child is at an early stage of their lives where they are open to new thoughts and habits. And, we all have a level of empathy in our lives. So, you can help your child bring out their empathetic side for their own benefit and the benefit of those around them.

Likewise, use this stage to counter any negative traits that may interfere with the child’s behavior and spiritual growth later on. But how do you teach empathy to your child? Today I will discuss with you 5 simple strategies that actually work.

But first let me define empathy.

Understanding Empathy

Empathy refers to the ability to understand and be compassionate to others. You know, walking in that person’s shoes to experience their pain and triumphs first hand. That way, we can easily make life decisions that are mindful of others.

How Does It Work?

Empathy works the same way our life skills do. You learn to do small acts of kindness from childhood. Eventually, these acts build up to make a positive impact in your adult life. For example, a child may grow knowing that pets and domestic animals feel pain too. Hence, they will learn to treat all animals with dignity.

Why Should Children Develop Empathy?

how to teach empathy to children image

Here is the thing. We live in a world where individualism, greed, and self-centeredness allude as part of one’s success. Most people believe that for them to succeed, they must hurt others in the process, whether directly or indirectly. In turn, any show of kindness or compassion to the suffering is often done as a bonus via social responsibility initiatives. If not, society categorizes you as weak. 

In contrast, if you mix kids from different parts of the world, they will find a way to have fun without showing any bias to one another. These children will accept each other and form a lasting friendship. In addition, they are understanding, show empathy, compassion, and tolerance. These kids will also recognize bullies and call them out.

Yet, as the child grows, they encounter the harsh world and learn to adapt to it through complacency. You know, all of a sudden, kids start picking their friends depending on what toys they have, which house they live at, or where their parents work. That’s why as a parent, you play a crucial role in harnessing the empathetic traits in kids. That way, they can lay a solid foundation that is unshakable into adulthood.

5 Simple Strategies for Teaching Empathy to Kids

#1: Invest Your Time in Teaching Empathy to Kids

Choose one day of the week and volunteer at your local senior residents’ home, homeless shelters, or charity drives. Here, let your child tag along to witness as you feed and clothe the homeless, clean the streets, or donate blood at the local blood bank. And, if you have a passion for working with kids, take up teaching classes and be a certified preschool teacher. Volunteering is an excellent way of walking the talk.

#2: Lead by Example

lead by example image

Kids are keen observers of what we do. They watch how we, their parents, interact with others, taking note of most of the words and emotions we use. More so, a child may not recall their school lesson, but they will copy the parents’ responses when faced with similar challenges.

For example, a child may not know how to prepare food. However, this child will show compassion to a beggar they meet, and give that person some coins. They learn this compassion by watching their parents.

Here are some ways you can demonstrate kindness to your kids:

  • Smile
  • Compliment kind habits
  • Do random acts of kindness
  • Read or share stories of how you showed or received compassion
  • Send random kind thoughts to kids
  • Acknowledge the children’s efforts in being empathetic

#3: Allow the Children to Experience Empathy

Now, opportunities for showing and receiving compassion are always spontaneous. A child who is on the receiving end can better appreciate what empathy does to others. Hence, create scenarios around the home or school where kids depend on the empathetic side of others to excel.

For example, you may ration the kids’ allowances, and give the older children the opportunity to share with their younger siblings. Or, when the child is hurt, use this time to show compassion by caring for them.

#4: Introduce Your Kids to Reading about Empathy and Kindness

children’s books on empathy image

Do you have kids in the toddlers to pre-teens ages? They can learn about empathy by reading about it. And, guess what, it doesn’t have to be boring. Today, there are lots of children’s books on empathy and kindness that include nursery rhymes and songs, word cards, word games, or even letter magnets.

These books focus on such topics as respect, gratitude, tolerance, acceptance, and understanding. Better still, you can use the exercises and role-plays in the books to create a print-rich surrounding to instill the values of being empathetic.

#5: Adopt a Pet

Finally, having some furry friends at home has lots of opportunities for teaching empathy to kids. Think of the times the dog needs to feed, clean, vaccinate, go for a walk, or train. Let your child participate in all these tasks to ensure the pet is well taken care of. And, when you need to travel, seek the help of another child in looking after the pet until you come back.

Likewise, a child who is allergic to fur may adopt an orphaned animal at the zoo. Here, the child commits to visiting it regularly to feed it. And, this child will practice saving by donating a part of their allowance towards the animal fund.

Conclusion

Are you already raising an empath child or do you need to teach them how to be empathetic? Either way, teaching empathy to kids creates a culture of kindness and compassion to humanity. It is a win-win strategy for all. Parents, older siblings, and extended family can also teach empathy to kids by living it.

Be on the lookout for opportunities to be kind, understanding, and compassionate to others. Use these chances as practice lessons. Expand your knowledge on empathy through reading. Let the child pick a book that appeals to them and try to be part of the children’s book club.

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Parenting

Gratitude Journal for Kids: The What, Why, and How to Guide

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Sometimes we are so worried about what our kids will become that we forget we have the power to mold them in our hands. Like we can sit back and let our children whine and complain about all the things they think they deserve or teach them to accept life as it is and work towards a better tomorrow. Today I will share with you how to harness the power of gratitude in their young minds irrespective of which age your kid is as long as they can speak and understand. A gratitude journal for kids will achieve just that and more.

What is Gratitude?

Gratus is the Latin word from where gratitude is borrowed. It means showing appreciation. Most religions and traditional spiritualists over the years have taught gratitude to multiple generations. And, in recent times, psychologists have also joined the bandwagon; preaching the importance of gratitude. What are you grateful for?

Do you know that you can impart the same practice to your young ones using a gratitude journal for kids?

You read that right.

So Why Gratitude Journaling?

Gratitude Journaling For Kids Benefits Image

Your child will enjoy the following benefits once you start practicing gratitude:

#1: Better relationships

Acknowledging help or support from friends can open up new opportunities. This is especially important for introverted kids or kids who are naturally aggressive. Once they start gratitude journaling, they open up to saying “thank you” even for small favors from their peers. In turn, they win more friends. Now, who doesn’t want their kid to be popular for all the good reasons? 

#2: Improved psychological health

In addition to winning more friends over, a gratitude journal for kids can help them reduce toxic emotions. These include frustrations that result in resentment, envy (because they think their peers are more blessed than they are) and regret among others.

You see, when they learn to count their blessings, they will focus on them more than focusing on what they don’t have. So, each time your son says, “mommy Tony has a digital bike”, open the gratitude journal on the day they were grateful for their old-school bike as a reminder.

#3: Better Performance in school

Research has proven that gratitude increases mental strength. In addition, when your kid has little to worry about, they sleep better. And good sleeping patterns have also been linked to higher IQs. So, it’s a win-win for you.

#4: More empathy and reduced aggression

There is this category of kids who are sadly referred to as “bullies”. A gratitude journal for kids will tone the aggression down by introducing them to empathy. Consequently, they behave in a prosocial manner even when those around them behave less kind. See such environments make them hostile but with gratitude journaling, they will look at the positive side instead of seeking revenge. And don’t we all want that for our kids?

So now that we agree, let me share with you how to start journaling with your children.

6 Ways to Introduce Gratitude Journaling for Kids

gratitude image

#1: Set the Example

Kids at ages 2-6 learn by watching adults. They tend to copy paste what mommy or daddy does. So before you go bonkers with a list of gratitude journaling instructions, show them your gratitude journal first. Other than setting an example, your gratitude journal will also teach you and impact the same benefits you wish to instill in your kids. Because, let’s be honest, you can’t convince your little one that a gratitude journal for kids will have a positive impact unless you experience it first, right?

#2: Invest In an Age Appropriate Gratitude Journal

You will find several gratitude journals; some free and others available online for easy download. The online options also come with customizable templates so you can design a journal that your kids can relate to. Just make it simple to follow and interesting to work with. While at it, include a few prompts.

Like:

“What made you happy today?

“What do you wish for tomorrow?”

Etc.

Such prompts make it easier for children to follow along on their own. 

#3: Drawings and Pictures

Ideas For Kids Journaling Image

Kids under 8 years are visual and creative with colors. If you have a camera, let them take photos randomly. However, there’s a catch: only when they are happy. At the end of the day, review these photos, print them and stick them in their journal with a sentence or two to remind them of these occasions.

The idea is to create a gratitude journal for kids that they can grow with. So three years from now, they will look at these photos in their lowest moments and smile.

In the absence of a camera, you can encourage them to draw pictures of what made them happy during the day. Was it their pet or a walk in the park? Then let them draw their pet or the park and add a description of the exact event? A few colors will bring these drawings to life.

#4: Creative Affirmations

Above 5 years of age, you can teach your child to manifest their life. Start with the basic things they understand. And when these affirmations come to pass, journal them together. See the mind is as powerful as our creativity. Teach your kids the law of attraction as early as now. 

#5: Sing Along Songs

Gratitude song image

YouTube is full of gratitude songs for kids. However, you don’t have to stop there. Create your own lyrics and sing along each day before you go to bed. The good thing about songs is they are easily replayed in the subconscious mind even in sleep. And the secret to effective gratitude journaling is repetition. See what I’m doing?

#6: Poetry and Short Stories

For kids above the age of 8 years, engage them in lengthy scripts. By this age, they are already writing academic compositions anyway, so why not channel that creativity in their gratitude journals?

In Conclusion

A gratitude journal for kids sets a strong foundation for a positive mindset. See we all need positivity to make it through each day. However, with gratitude, you’re not merely surviving the day but enjoying and looking forward to each moment in your life. Let your child experience the same from a tender age and they will effortlessly transit to adulthood as happy and responsible people.

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Parenting

Signs That You’re Raising an Empath Child with Tips to Handle Them

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empath child image

An empath child is very unique and special. However, initially, most parents don’t understand how to deal with them.  Therefore, this confuses the child even more. You see, the child is going through new emotions and strange things. They need time to understand, appreciate, and deal with all this. As a parent, the best gift you can give an empath chid is supporting them emotionally and assuring them that it’s normal for them to be different. As they grow older, teach them how to harness their empath abilities and make use of them.

How Do You Identify an Empath Child?

They Are Overly Emotional and Sensitive

Does your child cry when another kid is in pain? Do they react strongly to criticism? Empath children are highly sensitive to other people’s emotions. They also don’t like being corrected harshly.

However, you don’t have to raise a spoilt brat just because they possess empath qualities. Just try to understand why they do what they do and correct them with love. Sometimes you can ignore wrongdoing but make sure you have a candid talk about such behavior later on.

They Have Strong Connections with Nature and Animals

The choice approach works best with spirited children.

Naturally, empath kids don’t make friends with their age mates easily. They stand out as too mature for their age. However, they have a strong bond with animals. If your kid prefers to take a stroll in the neighborhood with their dog, let them be.

Occasionally, they will describe to you several aspects of nature after such strolls. For example, they want specific flowers growing in your garden. Or they will ask why particular trees appear like they are whistling. Empath children can be full of surprises. Wait till they tell you they talked to a tree!

They Don’t Blend Easily in Crowds

Inner Child Image

Does your little one scream aloud when you suggest going to the public park to play? Do they prefer to stay locked in their room instead? Don’t worry. She’s/he’s an empathic child. Generally, empaths find crowds to be suffocating. When in such places, their brains are working full time trying to process all the mixed energies in their surroundings.

Over time, an adult empath learns how to cope with such situations. But this is not always the case for a child. This sensation is a thousand times harder for a child because they are still discovering new things in their surroundings.

They Love “Me-Times”

Me-Times Image

As your empath child fights off the overwhelming energies of a crowd, they find it peaceful staying indoors. This tendency should not worry you. If your child loves spending time on his/her own, make his/her surrounding welcoming. 

Fill his/her room with interior decorations and the colors she loves. Encourage him/her to discover his/her creative side. Above all, let him/her know that it is okay to spend his/her time on his/her own.

They Can Be Control Freaks

Most parents of empath children always expect them to be moody and oversensitive. However, they never imagine them as control freaks. Well, they can be.

Think about it. Does your empath child like everything to be done in a particular order? Do they get agitated when you challenge their ideas? Or, do you notice your child counterchecking the door locks or washing their hands too many times? That is normal for empaths.

They Like to Develop a Routine

Often, an empath child knows the things that get him/her anxious. In turn, they develop an obsession for control to keep the anxiety triggers away. This way, they can easily cope with the anxiety build up.

If your child happens to be a control freak and anxious most of the times, try to look at situations in their perspective and sympathize with them. Develop simple routines that will reassure the child.

How to Master Your Emotions and Use Your Energy to Empower an Empath Child

empath children image

As long as you are not a narcissist, you are the best gift that your empath child has. However, you need to understand when to correct them, when to let it go, and when to teach them. Sadly, with an empath child, most of the time you as a parent are the one learning, not the other way round. If you can keep your emotions in check, it is simple to have a child-centered educational approach. Let me show you how.

Learn To Listen More

As your empath child discovers his/her likes and dislikes, always offer a listening ear. At this stage in their lives, the children will have many questions without proper answers. Some of these questions may look petty to you. However, never dismiss empath children when they approach you.

Instead, let them know that they can always run to you to express the way they feel. As a parent to an empath child, you need to be their cheerleader as they go through the motions of life.

Teach them to Use Affirmations

mother and daughter image

Do you enjoy starting your day with meditation? Why not do it with your little one? Teach your child to be grateful for the little things that happen in their life. Let them know that their sensitivity is a gift which they can use for the benefit of others and themselves. Let them learn to accept and love themselves through constant affirmations.

Finally, Enrol Them in the Right Education Programme

Empath children thrive best in child-based curriculums such as those offered in Montessori systems. The reason is that they like being in charge. If you enroll them in schools that push them around to do what the school dictates, that child might never realize their full potential.

They might also lead a very boring school life. Yes, most of us hated school anyway, but we were never really depressed by the curriculums offered, right?

The Bottom Line

I hope the above discussion has shed some light on how to handle your empath child. Nurture them from their tender ages and support them emotionally. And when you feel like giving up, remember that the empath child feels even more weight than you do. So hang in there! Once they understand their unique personalities, they will be easier to handle and mentor.

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