When your child’s other parent may have issues or show traits of being a narcissist, there are two things that can happen. One, you feel the need to protect your child, and rightly so. The second is that you can project the narcissistic parent’s trait onto the child without meaning too.
Of course, we don’t want our children to emulate the behaviors of a narcissist. We don’t want to see our beautiful babies grow up to be entitled, selfish people who see other people as resources to be used, who manipulate and can “do integrity” rather than actually be or have integrity.
…what we call narcissistic traits are part of the growing up stages of children, especially as they enter their teen years.
But children, by nature, can be quite selfish — that’s not a moralistic judgement. It’s normal. And what we call narcissistic traits are part of the growing up stages of children, especially as they enter their teen years. This can throw a concerned parent into a tizzy.
In a sense, you are fighting for your child’s life. Make no mistake about it. When one parent models hurtful behavior, when science is out on how much personality disorders are the result of environmental influence and how much is genetics, if your child’s behavior shadows the narcissistic parent’s behavior in any way, you can panic.
While a narcissist may be arrested at a certain stage of development in childhood, your child is in childhood.
But it’s unfair to burden a child with a personality disorder or project their narcissistic parent onto him or her. A child has a right to have those traits as a child. While a narcissist may be arrested at a certain stage of development in childhood, your child is in childhood.
It’s your job as a parent to set boundaries, to show by example, to make appropriate consequences for inappropriate behavior.
You can make too many allowances for a child who has an abusive other-parent. You can overcompensate and that’s not good. But neither is being too hard on them in your attempt to circumvent the bad influence from the other parent or to squash whatever “narcissist gene” you may fear was passed on.
Let every moment stand on its own. Continue to see the good in your child — they deserve that from you — even as you hold them accountable for when they act badly. Don’t label your child, not in word or in your head. Be firm, be loving, and let your child be a child. Let them make mistakes. Let a teenager have their angst, but let them pay for the consequences of their actions. Don’t let them disrespect you, but understand it does go with the territory, at least for a while. Don’t take it personally and don’t make it a medical condition.
Your child needs to be seen for who they are in your eyes.
Raising a child is probably one of the hardest thing anyone can do. It’s doubly hard when the other parent is a driving negative force.
Don’t let that parent’s treatment of you or that child influence how you see that child. Narcissists see a projection of themselves on their children. Your child needs to be seen for who they are in your eyes.
Stay strong and stay true,