After watching two reports on NBC Nightly News and Fox News about the number of teenagers being described as narcissists, I thought it might be useful to talk about this as a new phenomenon that is causing problems with our children and the adults they grow into. Listen to just about any parent talk about their children and you will hear a constant theme  -- they want to give their kids everything they themselves did not have when they grew up. In the same conversation that same parent wrings his hands in despair and frustration wondering why his kids lack a good work ethic and why they think everything should be handed to them on a silver platter – oh, excuse me, make that a platinum American Express card.

Our kids are obsessed with celebrities, Facebook, Twitter and other all-about-me social media opportunities. We ask our kids what they want to eat, when they want to eat it, how they want it cooked. We put them in every sport, club, event and activity possible. We teach them to think first of litigation when wronged. Blaming others for everything.

We spend less time with them and more time making money to give them everything we didn’t have.

Most importantly, we don’t allow our kids to fail. 
We wire our kids to think that the world revolves around them.

Think back to the TV show, Little House on the Prairie. Ma and Pa made sure those kids knew they were loved and protected but they also made sure they took responsibility for their actions, worked hard by participating in household and outdoor chores, and ate what was placed before them.

I also think about my visits to Africa where I observed very young children sit still for hours waiting for parents. No crying, no fits. On a recent trip to Australia, I recalled a documentary about immigrant Africans whose families were falling apart after arriving in Australia. The fathers complained that in Africa, children know that the parents are in charge and the family works like a well-oiled machine. Since emigrating to Australia, the roles had reversed, throwing the entire family out of whack. Parents felt helpless and children felt powerful…budding little narcissists.

If you want to avoid raising a budding little narcissist, do the opposite of the list above.

About the Author

meganMegan Hunter is founder and CEO of Unhooked Books and Life Unhooked, a speaking, training and consulting company that provides a fresh perspective and approach to help companies and individuals identify and overcome the damaging behaviors of HCD’s – whether they are employees, customers, vendors, board members, or anyone in your life. Most importantly we help you ‘unhook’ from these peoples’ behaviors so that you can make the right, next decisions – cleanly and clearly. She is also the co-founder of the High Conflict Institute launched in 2007 with Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq., an internationally renowned expert in High Conflict Personalities. She has been the recipient of several awards including the President’s Award by the Arizona Family Support Council (2005), the Friend of Psychology Award by the Arizona Psychology Association (2006) and the Outstanding Contribution Award by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (2010). She is a volunteer in several organizations including a member of Tanzania Project and Vice President of Personality Disorder Awareness Network (PDAN). She holds a BA degree in business from Chadron State College and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. To contact Megan about speaking engagements or to gather more information, email