By: Krystle Crossman
You always want to encourage your child to be the best that they can be. When they do something right or accomplish something amazing you want to make sure that you praise them. There is a fine line however because if you praise them too much or make them feel like they are better than everyone else you could turn your child into a spoiled or narcissistic child and teen. They will grow up thinking that every time they do something right they are going to get a big fanfare. They also begin to think that they are better than everyone else and their ego can get out of control.
Praise is something that you should definitely give your child as they do need positive reinforcement and encouragement so that they know that they are on the right track. But research shows that if you over-praise them or reward them every single time that they do something well you are leading them down the wrong path. If they get straight A’s there is nothing wrong with a little monetary compensation or taking them out for a day of fun. However every time that they bring home a test with an A on it a simple “good job” will suffice. Celebrate the milestones but be careful.
565 Dutch children between the ages of 7 and 12 were studied to see if they developed any narcissistic tendencies when they became teens depending on how their parents praised them. It was found that the children that had parents who made a big deal about every thing that they did developed a superiority complex when they were older. They felt that they were better than their peers but they got this idea because their parents told them that they were. The children who received a small amount of praise instead of a big celebration did not display these tendencies as often.
Executive director at Mass General Hospital, Dr. Gene Beresin is a little skeptical about the results and states that the kids in the U.S. are very different from the Dutch children that were studied. He also feels that narcissistic tendencies cannot effectively be judged until they were at least 18 years of age and that ages 7 through 12 was just to early to tell whether they are gaining a complex or not.