Some people have a false sense of empowerment and entitlement, and they act as though they deserve to be treated like royalty. This may sound like a typically arrogant teen, but in fact, these can be signs of an individual with narcissistic personality disorder. So how can parents deal with an ego-inflated teen? Here are four tips that can help you address your teen’s behavior.
Express Your Expectations
If your teen’s behavior is out of control, reshape your expectations for them. Tell them that they need to start behaving differently by acting more considerately of others and that you won’t be lax with them. Be firm when delivering this message and make sure your teen understands your intentions—you’re not punishing them, only that you want them to treat people with respect.
Stand Your Ground
It can be easy to give in to our kids when they put up a fight or act out when they want something. But this is just enabling their bad behavior and self-righteousness. Stand your ground and let them know that “no” means “no.” When they see that you’re being serious, they’ll start to reconsider their actions.
Stop the Praise
Narcissistic people feed off of admiration and adoration from others—this is what fuels their fire. It’s one thing to congratulate your teen when they’ve earned a good grade or performed well at a recital, but constant praise is not healthy and only inflates their already too-big ego.
Validate Their Value
Showing appreciation of your child’s value is different than unnecessarily praising them. What this means is that you let your teen know that you love them unconditionally, that they are truly appreciated for who they are on the inside, not this narcissistic persona they’ve created. Over time, they may feel less compelled to act out when they know you’re paying attention.
It’s important to recognize the difference between narcissism and mere selfishness. If you find that your teen’s behavior worsens, a mental health professional can provide counseling to treat your teen.
Feature Image: Nicole Mason