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By On May 16th, 2013

Who Has Lead Our Children To Narcissism

A worrying trait is being identified as the key descriptor of millennials.  John Stein recently talked about this in the Time Magazine article The New Generation: Why Millennials Will Save Us All, but he is far from the first academic to note the significant rise of narcissism and entitlement in millennials,  sometimes called Generation Yers, referring to those born between 1980 and 2000.

Stein himself references studies showing a large increase in narcissistic personality disorder in the general population over the past forty years and college student test results highlighting higher scores of narcissism over the past few decades. What could have lead to this? Why is vanity on the rise?

Stein traces the rise of narcissism to a pattern in parenting starting in the 1970’s that focused on building self-esteem in young people, which inadvertently fed ego and entitlement rather than deserved or hard-earned confidence. The Center For Christian Counseling and Relationship Development explains there became a habit of telling children they were special or that they could do or become anything they want.

When one-sided child rearing which emphasized self-esteem without realistic limitations or humility, it reacts and turns into resentment or great disappointment. Sometimes it can become delusion. Many will learn over time the hard truth that most of us aren’t special, but we are lovable and should accept our imperfections. Others will fall into despair when they face that reality, and others will be deluded by external validation without ever looking inside to find what makes them special.

We have all heard the phrase “the sun doesn’t revolve around you,” and it’s true for all of us. We are born self-centered, but it is the job of parents to show children how the world runs on people working together. Most of us may not be special on our own, but in hard work and cooperation with others we can become much more than our individual might.

Most importantly, every child needs to be shown that they are not special. We are all imperfect, and we are all sinful, but we all have our strengths and are worthy of love and the forgiveness of god. Humility is the cure to narcissism but it needs to be taught at a young age.

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