Every parent will tell you that raising kids is not the easiest job in the world. And as they enter the teen age, things get even more challenging. When looking for their place in this life and figuring out who they are, kids may behave in different ways. If you see their character and behavior change, have no worries. But if the behavior is bordering with excessive narcissism, take some steps to correct it.
What is narcissism?
Basically, narcissism is a state of mind when a person thinks great about himself and/or his appearance. Self-centered teens often talk a lot about their looks, or talents, or capabilities. There is the gap between what teen thinks of himself (meaning – what he believes he deserves) and what he is ready to do to achieve his dreams. It often causes significant troubles – both to parents and teens.
Signs of narcissistic teen:
- The teen is exaggerating his abilities. Some kids may brag about their talents or the amount of gifts they get.
- They sincerely believe they are better than others. Most of the time this certainty has nothing to do with their personal achievements. Some even get stuck up because of cool car parents bought them.
- They don’t give a thought to other’s feelings. Kids seeking for praise and only caring of their own needs and desires have little sympathy.
- They believe they already know everything. It does not matter if you are older and have more life experience. To them, you are still retarded as they know better.
How do you cope with the narcissistic teen?
If you notice worrisome behaviors, here are some tips for dealing with the narcissistic teen.
- Ignore the self-talk. Are you trying to criticize or correct all the time kid starts bragging about something? This is tiring and non-constructive. Pay no attention and teen may change this trend for good.
- At the same time, pay more attention to your teen. Weird but true – most parents would try to ignore the kid who has such high view of himself. But in reality, you should do the complete opposite. Often the kid’s disturbing behavior is his twisted call for attention. Without reacting to narcissistic comments (see the previous section), make sure your kids always knows how valuable he is to you and how you appreciate him.
- Keep an eye on his social media. If you notice that teen is rude to others, be sure to have a serious talk with him. Explain what should and should not be said to other people and help him having healthy and sensitive communication with peers.
- Show that the appearance is not everything. Be sure to always emphasize on the fact that having branded closes or good car has nothing to do with one’s inner world. Teach your kid that the appearance is not as important to others.
- If your son is used to go around in his own car, let him go by bus for a week. Is your daughter all about makeup and fancy clothes? Remove her makeup, make her wear simple home clothes and take a trip to the local store. Ask your kids about their impressions afterward – you might be surprised by the results of such experiment.
Do you need medical treatment for the narcissistic teen?
Technically – no. Being narcissistic does not mean having mental health issues. But you can still take your kid to a therapist. He will help to deal with teenage ‘pains’ like anger, shame or guilt that contribute to the kid’s state.
On the other hand, if your kid is suffering from anxiety or depression, professional help will reduce the level of stress and thus, change his views and behaviors for the better.
The Bottom Line
Have you ever noticed narcissistic behavior and the signs mentioned above? Now you have the solution to this problem. Be a wiser parent and help your kid overcome this stage rather than confront your teen-narcissist. He will thank you later.