138. Too much praise: Overvaluing kids acts as catalyst for narcissism – study

“Parents who hammer into their kids the message that they are “more special than all the others” do them a great disservice. Rather than boosting children’s self-esteem, overvaluing raises levels of narcissism, a study has showed.

While the dangers of narcissism are well known, its origins are not, the scientists said. The first prospective study to see how narcissism develops over time aimed to track down the origins of narcissism.

Researchers surveyed parents and their kids four times over one-and-a-half years to see whether they could say which factors led children to have bloated opinions of themselves. The study involved 565 children in the Netherlands, aged between 7 to 12 years of age when the study began, and their parents.

Parental overvaluation of children was measured with a scale that asked parents how much they agreed with statements such as: “My child is a great example for other children to follow.”

Both children and parents also reported how much emotional warmth their parents showed, indicating how much they agreed with statements like “I let my child know I love him/her” (or “My father/mother lets me know he/she loves me”).”



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