Parents who shower their child with too much praise, making them feel superior to others, may be cultivating a narcissist, researchers suggest. Psychologists from the Netherlands studied more than 500 children for several years and found kids who had been “overvalued” by their parents were more likely to suffer from narcissism.
While parents may think telling their child they are more special than others will increase their self-esteem, the group found no evidence of this. Instead they discovered it was warmth and affection from parents that boosted a child’s self-esteem.
People with narcissism feel superior to others and believe they deserve special treatment. Some research has pointed to an increase of this attitude in Western culture, while other scientists have struggled to establish a trend.
How narcissism evolves in some people and not others has perplexed psychologists for some time. University of Amsterdam psychologist Eddie Brummelman and his team asked 565 children to complete detailed questionnaires that assessed them for narcissistic traits, asking participants whether they agreed with statements such as “kids like me deserve something extra”.