Too much love and care with minimal or no checks and corrections, leads children to an illusion that whatever they do is acceptable. Excessive pampering feeds their egos which gets blown out of proportion. On the other hand, lack of attention makes them seek it, or even turns them wild. How does one strike a balance? What makes good parenting? What results in raising smart, humble and good-hearted children who will become valuable citizens of the world?
It is important for each parent to take the reins in his or her hands when it comes to parenting. It is true that every child needs encouragement and motivation to become better individuals. And water better source of these other than the parents themselves. But, is there a limit to the kind of affection and attention that one should give to children? Loving one’s child is one thing, but letting the child have his/ her way, whether right or wrong, is a totally different thing. Children will be children. Peer pressure and unlimited exposure to media make their wants skyrocket. For that matter, mankind has moved on from needs to wants. It is not his basic needs that man is looking to fulfill. He wallows in his endless wants with no heed for fellow humans who haven’t even got their basic needs fulfilled. Then, is it not little surprise that our children go in the path that we lead them through?
As parents of today’s times, who have just one or two children, we are given to the temptation of keeping them happy always. So, we are always on our toes, waiting for a wish to fall out of our child’s lips, so that we can hurry with fulfilling it. We overvalue the child. By doing this we create a false belief in the child’s mind that whatever he/ she wishes for, shall be granted. This makes children more and more arrogant and proud, and he/ she lives in a false world where they love only themselves. They see their parents running from pillar to post, just to ensure that they have everything. This gives them a misplaced sense of importance. This is the core of narcissistic behavior. Narcissists are created thus! We have, without our realization, created children who are endlessly proud of themselves, selfish and self-centred. Such children refuse to listen to anyone. They feel they are right always and they also assume that others are inferior to them. They believe that theirs is the right to everything and all others are not thus privileged. These children grow up to be narcissist adults. Often such children are left groping with reality when life throws surprises at them. They are unable to cope with it and end up depressed. They are at a serious risk of becoming failures in life.
Dear parents, it is therefore important, to first analyse and make the child reason as to whether his wish is justified or not. There is a need for the child to understand and accept ‘No’ for an answer. They will then value the things that you do for them. They will deeply appreciate your efforts. They will also learn to be compassionate about fellow humans.
Another most important value that parents need to impart to their children is the value of sharing. Whether it is with siblings or friends or with less privileged people, teach your child the joy of giving. He or she will one day be very grateful to you for having given them the opportunity to enjoy the immense joy of giving.
It is imperative that the child learns about failure being an important part of growing up and, life itself. He or she must be taught to accept failure with dignity. Parents can motivate their children to try and try again and make them realize that the effort is what matters ultimately and that hard work pays.
Appreciating a child for his/her deed is important. But ensure that the child sees his/ her deed that has earned your appreciation and not the person. The child should know that it is not because the child is himself/ herself that you have appreciated, but because of what he/ she has done. That way, the child will learn the lesson on humility. He/ she will learn to appreciate the deeds of others. He/ she will learn the everyone is special. His/ her focus will be shifted from ‘self’ to ‘others’.
Then, you can be sure that you have been successful in saving your child from the tweezer-grip of narcissism. Yes, saving it will be, indeed!