Tags: too | much | praise | children | narcissist

Too Much Praise for Children Makes Them Little Narcissists?

By    |   Tuesday, 10 Mar 2015 06:35 AM

Praising children too much and making them feel they are extra special may set them on a course to narcissism, a new Dutch study found.

The study, done at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, assessed Dutch children between the ages of 7 and 12 and asked parents how they gave praise while asking children about feelings of superiority, reported ABC News.

“Parents should be warm and loving, but not give their child blanket praise,” Brad Bushman, a communication and psychology professor at Ohio State University and a study co-author, told ABC. “We should not boost self-esteem and hope our children will behave well. Instead, we should praise our children after they do well.”

Narcissistic personality disorder is defined by The Mayo Clinic as “a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others.”

Bushman clarified the difference between self-esteem and narcissism in an OSU press release. “ People with high self-esteem think they’re as good as others, whereas narcissists think they’re better than others,” he said.

Over-praising children and telling them they’re “more special than other children” or they “deserve something extra in life” led those children to score higher on measurements for narcissism, the OSU release said.

“Overvaluation predicted narcissism, not self-esteem, whereas warmth predicted self-esteem, not narcissism,” Bushman said.

Dr. Gene Beresin, executive director of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds, told ABC News he had concerns about the study results, which were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.

“I don’t see how you can label kids this young as narcissistic when it’s generally recognized that such personality traits aren’t fully formed until late adolescence, like around age 18,” Beresin said. He also said parents are just one influence on children and that teachers, peers and others will influence behavior.

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Praising children too much and making them feel they are extra-special may set them on a course to narcissism, a new Dutch study found.
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2015-35-10
Tuesday, 10 Mar 2015 06:35 AM
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