Thursday, November 12, 2009

Narcissism

The worship of "Me" has been a constant in J's life thus far. From the daycare center to elementary school to after-school care, teachers and caregivers make sure kids are not lacking in self-worth. The way they go about it is to tell them they are special and can be everything and anything they want to be. Being realistic is not part of the deal because in this perfect world there are no limits, hard work is optional and can be substituted entirely by great attitude and chutzpah.

Praise is as lavish and it is constant and often for things that don't seem genuinely deserving of it. Teaching humility is something the parent must do at home to counter the effects of constant "positive reinforcement" going on outside and it is a lesson that needs to be repeated very often. In
this Newsweek article Raina Kelley writes about the "Narcissism Epidemic" and there is no better way to describe this phenomenon.

The message that I took away from this article is
"Treating the whole world as if it works for you doesn't suggest you're special, it means you're an ass." Any time the self-adulation gets out of hand, this is exactly what the kid needs to hear. Humility is to narcissism is as bitter is to sweet. The child will most likely reject it at first but as Kelley points out : Such values may seem quaint, maybe even self-defeating, to those of us who think we're special, but trust me: it gets easier with practice.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think constant positive enforcement pushes you to achieve which otherwise would have been difficult. So overall it is good if you have talent to match it.