A new Dutch study has found that too much praising by the parents can actually do more harm to their kids than doing good as this could make them believe they are “special snowflake”, risking them turn into a narcissistic jerk.
The people who are narcissist are of the belief that they are special and better than everyone else. They live for personal success and always expect exceptional treatment for themselves, according to the study authors.
According to the scientists, narcissist individuals experience failure in their life as they’re unpleasant to be around and even turn violent sometimes.
For the new study, the researchers analysed 565 Dutch children between the age group seven and 12 for their narcissist tendencies, like self-satisfaction and feelings of superiority. The parents of the participating children were also questioned by the investigators about how, when and how often they had praised their kids and other feedback.
The children whose parents used to consistently praise them by saying they were superior to other kids, were found scoring higher on parameters for narcissism than those tiny tots who were offered a more realistic view about themselves, the researchers found.
The most important reason behind this is that over-praising children can make them believe they are special and superior people who well deserve special treatment every time.
Explaining the tendency, study author and communication and psychology professor Brad Bushman, from Ohio State University, said, “Parents should be warm and loving, but not give their child blanket praise. We should not boost self-esteem and hope our children will behave well. Instead, we should praise our children after they do well.”
Dr. Gene Beresin, the executive director of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds, expressed his skepticism about some part of the conclusions of the study.
According to Beresin, it’s not necessary that the children in US are the same as Dutch’s. However, the most concerning thing is the age of the children in the study.
“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, such as around age 18,” Beresin asserted.
The study was published in the current issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.