5 Warning Signs You Have a Narcissistic Child

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When a person has a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), they have an excessively high sense of their value and crave admiration from others.

Although both adults and children can be impacted by this disorder, there are certain variances between the two.

Children usually focus on themselves until they learn more advanced social skills.

However, if a child is unable to develop emotional and relational awareness, it may indicate that they are developing narcissism or NPD.

As children with untreated NPD mature, they may experience various complications.

As a result, early intervention and support for narcissism provide the greatest opportunity for change.

One of the signs you have a narcissistic child is evident in how they relate with other children.

If you notice that they always try to put other children down, this could be a sign of narcissism.

Narcissistic children tend to find it difficult to make and maintain friendships.

This is also one of the common signs you have a narcissistic child because it is linked to their nature of trying to exert control or superiority over others.

Another factor is that they never settle into lasting friendships.

Additionally, like with narcissistic traits, children with this disorder tend to blame their parents or others for their wrongdoings.

This behavior is linked to them not taking responsibility for their actions.

Below are more details on signs you have a narcissistic child. 

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They Put Other Children Down

One of the most evident signs you have a narcissistic child is when they habitually put other children down.

Narcissistic children don't understand why it's inappropriate to criticize and be harsh to other kids in front of them.

In the child's perception, this criticism is accurate.

This type of behavior typically arises from a fundamental desire for dominance and an overwhelming hunger for recognition.

This behavior can appear in different forms, like belittling the achievements of others, using insulting language, or purposefully leaving others out of activities.

They try to boost their self-esteem and assert their belief of superiority by belittling others.

You might observe your child making belittling remarks such as, "Why would somebody want to spend time with them?" I am better than them.

When someone puts others down, it often shows that they have a deep desire for approval and think very highly of themselves. 

They Find It Hard to Make or Maintain Friends

Children who have NPD will find it hard to maintain healthy relationships, especially with their peers.

This can stem from their excessive self-focus and lack of empathy, which can make it challenging for them to engage in genuine connections with their peers.

In most cases, they prioritize their needs and desires over those of others, disregarding social norms and boundaries.

If you notice that your child consistently experiences difficulties in forming lasting friendships or engaging in cooperative play, this can be a sign.

In other instances, they may have little regard for others' feelings and may exploit relationships for personal gain or admiration.

This isolation can further reinforce their belief in their own exceptionalism and contribute to the growth of narcissistic traits.

Children usually try out different friendships until they find ones that work well for them.

However, children with NPD tend to never form long-lasting friendships because they lack empathy and the ability to take responsibility and often feel envious.

They Blame Parents or Adults for Their Wrongdoings

One of the other key signs you have a narcissistic child is the persistent habit of blaming parents or authority figures for their own mistakes and wrongdoings.

This behavior is a defense mechanism to shield their fragile self-esteem from criticism or accountability.

In most cases, they may adamantly refuse to accept responsibility; instead, they would shift the blame to others to maintain their illusion of perfection.

For example, imagine your child breaks an item and immediately accuses you or a sibling of placing it in their way.

This is their attempt to absolve themselves of any fault.

Such instances demonstrate them trying to avoid accountability, as they believe they are faultless and incapable of making mistakes.

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Pathologic Play

Every child needs to play to develop, and pathological play behaviors may be early indicators of the onset of NPD.

Children who are narcissistic frequently engage in pathologic play when their interactions with toys and games mirror their inflated perceptions of themselves.

Examples of these actions could include vengeful tendencies, failing to consider or acknowledge the needs of others, and persistent or extreme destructiveness.

In some other instances, they may adopt roles of dominance, control, or entitlement, demanding others' admiration and submission within the play scenario.

This type of behavior serves as a mirror to their own perception of self and their craving for power and recognition.

For instance, during playtime, you may notice your child consistently assuming the role of the superior or heroic character, dictating the actions and disregarding the contributions of others.

Their need to manipulate play to fit their self-centered narrative can hinder cooperative and imaginative play, which will limit their ability to foster healthy relationships and empathetic understanding.

Inability to Self-Validate

The inability of children to self-validate or derive a sense of self-worth from within is a startling indicator of narcissism.

They constantly seek admiration and recognition from others, relying heavily on external validation and approval to sustain their self-esteem.

A narcissistic child frequently has difficulty recognizing and expressing positive personality qualities, like "I am brave."

If they do not receive such affirmation, they could feel vulnerable and insecure.

For instance, you might notice that your child is constantly seeking praise and approval for their achievements, no matter how small.

As a result, their self-worth becomes intertwined with the opinions and adulation of others, leaving them vulnerable to emotional distress when they do not receive the desired recognition.

Conclusion

Recognizing the warning signs of narcissism in children is a crucial step in promoting healthy emotional development.

By acknowledging these signs early on, parents can seek appropriate support for narcissism and interventions to guide their children toward empathy, self-reflection, and healthier relationships.

Some warning signs you have a narcissistic child is evident if they put other children down, find it hard to make or maintain friends, blame parents or adults for their wrongdoings, pathological play, and inability to self-validate. 

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June 18th, 2024

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