It’s not easy to be a parent. There are so many things that you need to worry about – from making sure your child is healthy and safe, to teaching them the right values and how to behave in society. One of the biggest challenges that parents face is avoiding being a narcissistic parent. Narcissistic parents can be damaging to their children both emotionally and psychologically. In this blog post, we will discuss 9+ ways to avoid being a narcissistic parent. We will also talk about the signs and characteristics that you should look out for if you think your partner or friend may be a narcissist and the effects on kids with narcissistic parents.
What are narcissistic parents?
Narcissistic parents are those who put their own needs, desires, and ambitions above the needs of their children. They are often very demanding and controlling, expecting their children to live up to unrealistic expectations without considering the child’s individual needs or feelings. Narcissistic parents may also be unconsciously afraid of abandonment or rejection and will use their children to meet their own emotional needs.
What are the signs and characteristics of narcissistic parents?
Narcissistic parents can display any number of behaviors that negatively affect their children. Here are some common traits you should look out for:
– Having unrealistic expectations of their children and expecting them to always meet these standards even if they are not capable.
– Exhibiting a need for control and using fear, guilt, or manipulation to get it.
– Being overly critical and negative towards their children’s thoughts, feelings, and actions.
-Ignoring their children’s needs in favor of their own.
– Expecting special treatment from their children, such as expecting their children to take on more responsibilities than is reasonable for their age.
-Making their children feel guilty or unworthy by belittling them or making negative comments about them in front of others.
What are the effects of narcissistic parenting on children?
Children with narcissistic parents often suffer from low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. They may be overly sensitive to criticism or become perfectionists in an effort to please their parents. They are often unable to form healthy relationships with other people due to difficulty trusting and connecting with them. Additionally, narcissistic parents may cause feelings of guilt and shame over not meeting unrealistic expectations and can even damage their children’s healthy development of identity, leading to difficulty making decisions or having a sense of purpose in life.
9+ Ways to Avoid being a Narcissistic Parent
If you’re wondering, “How can I avoid being a narcissistic parent?“, here are 9+ ways to help you avoid being a toxic parent to your kids:
1) Be Realistic with your Expectations
Check your expectations and make sure they are realistic. Your child is an individual with their own thoughts, feelings, and capabilities – try to remember this when setting expectations.
2) Actually Listen to your Kids
Listen to your child and try to understand them as an individual, not just as a reflection of yourself. Respect their wishes and feelings, and take the time to talk to them.
Ask them questions to further explain their desires and build conversation to understand their thoughts and perspectives on a particular matter.
3) Create an Open Line of Communication with your Kids
Encourage open communication with your child so that they feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings with you. You can start creating this open line of communication by asking simple day to day questions after picking your kids up from daycare or from school. Ask them how their day was, what was their favorite thing about today, etc.
Overtime this will help your child know they can talk you about anything and they can trust you with their thoughts, feeling and actions!
Doing this daily, will allow you to build good communication habits.
4) Don’t be overly controlling
Don’t be overly controlling or demeaning towards your child. Allow them the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them. Yes these mistakes can be made as teachable moments but don’t make your kids feel like crap for getting something small wrong.
5) Respect Your Kid’s boundaries
Respect your child’s boundaries while also gently pushing them to expand their horizons. This will help them to become independent and self-sufficient in the future.
6) Live your Own Life not your Kids
Don’t try to live vicariously through your children – let them pursue their own interests and ambitions instead of imposing yours on them. A good example of this is, if your child says they want to be a singer when they grow up, don’t knock their dream and tell them no it doesn’t make enough money! When I was a child, jobs like hair dresser, fashion designers, and artists were look down on, and look now in 2022 where Hair dresser are making as much as nurses do in a month!
Help create opportunities and explore new avenues for your child, to show you support their crafts, hobbies, dreams.
An easy way to do this is buy looking up other successful individuals so they can build inspiration, signing up for lessons, coaching them, purchase or create books on the subject matter. etc.
7) Love your Kids Unconditionally
Show your child unconditional love, kindness, and respect. Take out the time to learn your kid’s love language, and make sure to love them in that language everyday!
8) Make and Spend Quality Time with Your Kids
Find ways to spend quality time with your child that don’t involve pushing them to meet unrealistic goals or expectations. Go to the beach, out in nature, to the park, to a local trampoline park or any where you know your kids will completely enjoy themselves at! Don’t just stand around either, join in the fun!
9) Take Care of Yourself
Make sure you are taking care of yourself first so that you can be the best parent possible for your children. Self care and self love is vital to being at your best Optimal self!
This also means, if you have emotional or mental trauma from your childhood, begin the process of healing. When there’s past trauma carried into motherhood, it can prevent us from showing up for our children, in a healthy manner.
10) Seek Professional Help
If you find that your behavior is still toxic even after attempting the above tips, then it’s time to seek professional help. A therapist or counselor can help you with issues, in hopes to create a healthier relationships with your children.
11) Talk to your kids not at them
Show your kids respect no matter their age.
There’s no age limit for respect and the way you talk to your kids can formulate bad communication habits. Yelling and screaming at your kids can cause them to shut down and see you as an aggressor who only wants their thoughts expressed and heard.
Related: Authoritative Style For Parenting & 5 Techniques To Begin Gentle Parenting
Last Thing You Need to Know about Narcissistic Parents
Taking the time to learn about narcissistic parenting and the signs, characteristics, and effects it can have on your children is an important step in avoiding becoming a narcissistic parent. By following these tips, you’ll be able to create a loving and nurturing environment for your child that will support their healthy self-development.
If you find yourself exhibiting narcissistic behavior, seek professional help to address and change your parenting style. With awareness and effort, you can create a healthy relationship with your child and become the parent they deserve.