angry child

Narcissism is a personality trait that defines a person as selfish, arrogant, and vanity. Sadly, narcissism is on the rise in our self-obsessed culture. YouTube, music, social media, and more have shifted society to being self-focused instead of communal and compassionate. Parenting is a tough job as it is, but the complexity of navigating the media’s influence on children’s lives is an added challenge.

However, there is hope; parents still have the chance to mold their children’s lives by teaching them to live with empathy and moving away from the self-focused way of life. Most parents have to break away from the helicopter parent role to assist their children with seeing how they fit in the world more healthily and allowing them to experience the weight of their consequences. Parents must also resist the urge to praise them for not well-done work.

Above all else, Christian parents should pray over their children’s minds and hearts daily. Model and teach them Jesus’ message that calls us to care for each other. God is faithful and will help you parent the upcoming generation in a counter-cultural way. Here are some tips on how to avoid raising a narcissistic child.

Enforce chores in your home.

The home is the first place we’re taught to live in a community God calls us to serve. Families are where children learn to be workers, husbands, wives, parents, and more. At times, as a mother, it could be easier to get the work done yourself instead of enlisting and enforcing your children to help out. However, the teachable moment is more valuable than efficiency. A mother isn’t the only one responsible for caring for children and the home.

Each person who lives with you has to serve their family unit. For children, it can be as simple as having them put their shoes in their rightful place, letting the dog out, or emptying the dishwasher. As your children get older, their responsibilities should increase. They can help with cooking, babysitting, dishes, laundry, and yard work. Understanding that our lives take effort and stewardship is something parents should teach children from an early age.

Help your children foster meaningful relationships.

Everyone runs a million miles a minute, so finding space for your children to make meaningful, genuine relationships can be challenging. These kinds of friends eat dinner at your house and come on vacation with your family, so you spend years investing in these relationships. These relationships need investment, loyalty, and empathy. Urging your children to stay close to a friend through the ups and downs of life helps them practice unconditional compassion and love.

Serve others as a family.

Giving without expecting anything in return is a compelling lesson for your children, so practice making community service as a part of your family’s rhythm. You could start by volunteering as a family at your local church or get involved in non-profits in your community. This practice is emotionally rewarding for your family and teaches your children that serving others has fundamental value.

Set boundaries in your home.

Telling your children “no” isn’t fun, but it’s one of the healthiest things you can do for your kids. Life is filled with boundaries, like obeying traffic laws, learning a sport’s rules, listening to teachers, and so on. Don’t diverge from other adults to be the ones who must do the hard work of showing your children that respecting boundaries is essential to life. When your children refuse to obey your limits, let them face the consequences, a vital aspect in growing respectful humans.

Read together.

Reading builds understanding and empathy in your home. Stories show us other experiences, types of people and worlds. Read aloud to your children to expand their minds and cultivate compassion for people who face lives that have different challenges than their own.

Monitor what influences them.

Parents must be persistently involved in their children’s social lives. If you let your children use technology, you should watch how they use it. It would be best if you listened when they discussed their teachers, friends, and more. As parents, it’s your duty to protect your children from dangerous ideas and people. In prayer, ask God to safeguard their hearts and minds in this complex world.

Discuss equality.

Children aren’t naturally aware of the complexities that mold our world. When they ask about a homeless person, talk to them about how the world battles under the weight of mental illness, inequality, and more. Let your child know they are privileged to have a home with loving parents. Help them see how they’re called to leverage their blessings on behalf of people who don’t have the same opportunities or face issues like systematic racism.

Let your children know you love them.

Telling your children you love them is the simplest way to help positively shape their lives. Express your love for them, but don’t overpraise them for things they haven’t accomplished. Tell them that they’re loved for who they are and valuable. The confidence and comfort from growing up in a loving, safe environment help children build strong self-esteem. The idea is not to tell them they’re unique or overly special but that God loves them for who He created them to be, and they are loved because they’re your child. Unconditional love is a source of strength that your child can depend on for their lifetime.

We aren’t meant to live life for ourselves but to love our neighbor as Christ loves them. Our narcissistic culture sells the lie that being self-focused is more rewarding. As God’s children, we understand that it’s better to give than receive, and God is glorified in our weakness. Serving others in love is the mission of our lives, so we should be intentional about sharing truths with the upcoming generation. Culture tells our children that self-love is the way to a happy life, but that’s not the case. Giving to others and serving the community is the true key to life.

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