Parenting Styles

Two Parenting Styles that Feed Narcissism

Too Authoritative

Most of us have encountered the parent, mother or father, who sounds more like a drill sergeant than a parent. Yelling at their child to do this or that. No room for deviation, for humanness. 

I witnessed this in my own home when my husband, the father of my children, treated our firstborn son with verbal aggression and authoritativeness. He would make our son stand rigid and completely still while being lectured and chewed out. If our son even twitched, the verbal beating grew in both intensity and length. I literally watched life being snuffed out of our energetic and happy child. His head would drop as he received his beating. His spirit broken.

As a teacher of young children, I have seen this countless times. One year, I was on a summer camp with our students. We had been away all week and had a great time. Two of these students were a 6 year old boy and his 10 year old sister. When the mom arrived to pick them up, she didn't greet her children with hugs and happiness like the other moms. Rather, she instantly started in with gripes and verbal slaughter. "Where's your suitcase? Why isn't your sleeping bag rolled up?" Her words were sharp and painful. I watched her kids go from happy and playful to fearful and panicked.

Why can some parents not see what we see from the outside? I spoke with my husband many times. He seemed completely incapable of realizing the damage he was doing. I even spoke with the mom of these two young children. She seemed open to my words, but nothing ever changed. Eventually, her daughter ended up in trouble, stealing and bullying other children.

Too Indulgent

The other end of the spectrum isn't much better. These are the parents who see no faults ever in their child. Their kid can do no wrong. Their child is special and absolutely amazing. They deserve the best in life. They should never be unhappy, bored, punished, or even reprimanded.

In my days of teaching martial arts, I saw this type of parenting many times. One year, I had two brothers, ages 8 and 10. They never practiced anything we showed them and seemed to show no interest at all. Yet they wanted to get their Black Belts. With their minimal efforts, they had managed to make it to green belt. But here they stayed. They would go no further until they took some initiative in their training and put in some real effort. I had told them and their parents this multiple times. Then one day, I was floored by what happened. We had a testing approaching, and the boys had not been invited to test. She stood at my desk and said these words, "I know my boys don't practice. But can't they test anyway?"

What?? You actually are asking me to reward your kids for laziness and lack of motivation? Shouldn't you, as a mom, want that to be reprimanded? 

When parents do all the work for their kids, fight all their battles, and "fix" everything for them, they are teaching their kids that they are entitled to everything just because. They don't have to work for it. They simply deserve special treatment. This is the wrong message to give our kids and leads to horrible future behavior.