How to Know if Your Teen Is a Narcissist
Have you ever noticed your teen being egocentric, inattentive towards others and selfish? These features are more or less characteristic to the majority of adolescents. However, they may also signify that your teen is a narcissist.
What is narcissism?
Narcissism itself is a personality trait of an inflated sense of self. It is not the finest character feature, but generally it doesn’t pose any threat to daily activities or health. However, in some cases when narcissistic traits start causing problems to the possessor and other people, it becomes a clinical disorder.
Narcissistic personality disorder is an abnormal behavior that comes out in exaggerated feeling of self-importance, constant and excessive demand for admiration and disregarding other people’s feelings and needs.
The term “narcissism” originates from Greek mythology and refers to the name of a young man Narcissus who was famous for his outstanding beauty. Being too conceited, he disdained everyone who loved him and was cursed to fall in love with his reflection on the lake surface, not realizing that it was just an image. Narcissus was mesmerized by his own beauty, lost the will to live and kept staring at his reflection until he died.
According to a 2010 Cohort Effects study, narcissism in teens isn’t a widespread phenomenon. Each new generation has its own egocentric as well as selfless individuals. TeenHelp.com research claims that 1% of all teenagers have a narcissistic disorder and around 50% to 70% among them are male.
Behavior of narcissistic children
Here are some of the most common traits of a narcissistic adolescent. The more of these characteristics you can apply to your child, the likelier it is that he/she is a narcissist.
- A narcissist is bad at listening. They end every conversation expressing their own opinion or telling about events from their life. They are not interested in listening to other people’s problems and do not take others’ feelings into consideration.
- Narcissists exaggerate their own skills and talents even if they are not prominent in some particular field and yet require constant validation from others.
- Also, they spend much time fantasizing about their future successes and general recognition of their talents.
- They also believe their appearance to be outstanding and spend much time smartening themselves up.
- They often think that people around envy their striking personality.
- Having an inflated sense of self-importance, a narcissist becomes arrogant and expects some kind of special attitude to self from everyone else.
- They rest assured that no rules apply to them.
- In any situation, a narcissist thinks that he or she is the only one to be right.
- They are extremely touchy about criticism, may be quick to anger and blame a person who criticized them for this furious reaction.
- To achieve their goals, narcissists may often take advantage of people around them.
How narcissism develops in teenagers
The disorder may be caused by both genetics and surrounding factors. Therefore an inadequate care by parents and a child’s inner circle, their constant suggesting how unique the kid is may become the ground for the transformation of some healthy feeling of self-esteem into egocentrism and self-admiration.
Other surrounding factors that may influence the development of narcissism are: a lack of critics; over-praise; having a narcissistic parent or a close relative; childhood abuse; sensitive nature; the secret feeling of underestimation of self and own imperfection; hidden depression and shame; receiving not enough love and care from parents in early childhood.
According to an interesting research conducted by Jean Twenge, an associate professor of psychology at San Diego State University, social networks influence the development of narcissism in young people. 57% of college students admit that they or their peers use social networking sites “for self-promotion, narcissism, and attention-seeking.”
Considering that every year the age of children being active on popular social network sites becomes younger, we may consider the Internet as a serious factor that influences personality traits in modern teens.
Treatment and help for the narcissistic children
A narcissistic teen may often appear to be not the most pleasant company to spend time with; they are not good friends and are hard to deal with. However, parents love their children no matter what and should know how to handle a narcissistic kid.
The treatment of a narcissist can be difficult because the mentality of a teenager is already fragile. Moreover, in most of the cases, a teen does not understand and doesn’t want to admit that they have a narcissistic disorder. An arrogant and disdainful attitude to people around them is already a norm for a narcissist.
The best thing to start the treatment with is to explain the origins of narcissism and how it manifests itself to a teen. Thus, the child may realize why his or her behavior is wrong. In many cases, adolescents don’t receive treatment favorably because it contradicts with their perception of self and others. Depending on a situation, family therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy or group therapy are the options to choose from.
In any case, love of the parents and dear ones, their understanding and readiness to help are the most helpful for the child who is trying to overcome narcissism.