After the last post, I left you all highly terrified about how you were probably already ruining the children in your lives by giving them Narcissism. And then I made you wait an entire extra day for my list of ways to be a better human and parent. I'm very sorry about that. I was busy being a better human and parent than you could ever HOPE to be. LOL, JK, I was trying to clean the horrible mess that is my house, and trying to lose some of the 20 pounds I've gained over the past 18 months, and then I got super tired and gave up on life.
But just the same, a day late and a dollar short, I am here with your answers for creating healthy and amazing kids who won't need a safe space in college, and don't need a participation trophy to survive the soccer season. So sit back, relax and learn, with my 6 or 11 or 28 ways to avoid letting your kid become a narcissist.
1) Get all French Revolution on the Royalty.
This is the first step to fixing your children. For some reason, all children are convinced that they are all the rulers of some small medieval provinces. Remind them that they are not princesses. And I know, someone try and remind me that those websites keep suggesting all of us may have some kind of royal ancestry. But all I know about my family tree is that the last name kept changing every generation or two, which apparently means that my ancestors were simple country folk who were too illiterate to remember how to spell their own names. So I'm guessing that the Princess Cruise has sailed for us. Oh, and if the kids won't give up their royal status, remind them that this is America. Throw their Juicy Juice into the kiddie pool and run around screaming FREEDOM!! till they get over their hopes of hemophilia. That'll show 'em.
2) Give your children chores. Like, some really, truly demeaning chores.
This will go a long way in helping you with step 1. Because never has a princess shoveled dog feces off the back lawn. Of course, granted, Disney has given us Snow White and Cinderella, the wretched, singing, chore doing princesses, but I still say that unless nature shows up to help and then sews you a beautiful dress just in time for the big dance, you are still just a peasant.
3) Make sure they know where they stand.
Once, my kids sat around the table eating lunch, and trying to figure out which one of them was my favorite. After a few minutes, they decided just to ask me. "Mommy, who's your favorite kid?" I told them it was their cousin. They're jaws hit the floor. Don't get so cocky, kids. There's no rule saying I have to like you.
4) Let them know that they're not THAT attractive.
This is a truthism that I learned when I first had kids: "Parents all believe that their children are the most adorable children in all of the universe". Now I'd seen this in other parents. But I wondered if I might be more objective. Turns out, I was not. But also? I have really cute kids. And I let them know that they are cute. And I let them know that they are goofy looking. And we laugh about it, because attractiveness has no bearing on their value. We try not to take it to seriously.
5) Laugh at your children when they mess up. Laugh. A lot. Right in their frustrated little faces.
When my eldest was a toddler, maybe 14 months old, she fell when walking in front of a group of people. She stood up, but hid her face with her hands and refused to look up. Her 1 year old self was embarrassed. EMBARRASSED. I had no idea that was even possible for a 1 year old. In that moment, I saw her future, and it was just years of humiliation followed by even more years of therapy. So we teased her. A little at first, and more and more every year. Now, when she gets nervous in public, I openly mock her. And she thinks it's funny, and she laughs along with everyone else. And she relaxes, and gets over her anxiety. So yeah, laugh at your kids. Because no one needs the burden of thinking they have to be perfect. Don't put that on them.
6) Your kids will tell you they hate you. Say it back.
The only reason your kids even try this crazy tactic is because they automatically assume that you love them, and that their feelings will like, affect you or something. So when they try it, show them it doesn't phase you. You aren't here to be liked. You aren't here to be nice. And if reality television has taught me anything, you're definitely not here to make friends. Sometimes you have to take away things they love. Or make them do things they hate. Or avoid experiences that would be fun. Sometimes, you have to be the bad guy. Wear that badge with pride. Kids' affection is fickle anyway.
7) Don't believe everything they say.
Kids are natural born liars. I don't know what that's about. They are terrible at it at first, but even when they never get away with it, they keep trying and trying till you feel like you might lose your mind, and you can't tell what direction is up anymore. Whatever your main profession is, you are now also a part time sleuth. Don't trust a single word that comes out of their lying little mouths. And if you're going to trust your kids, they'd better have earned it. Meaning, they better be the kind of kids who willingly fess up when they've done something wrong. They better be the kind of kids who straight up ask for a spanking or time out because they know they've earned it. Because other than that, kids will lie. And a child can't handle the burden of being smarter than you. They are dumb, and they know it, and they need you to not be.
8) Beat your kids.
At games, I mean. Okay, that was a little bit of a tease, I apologize. I've said this before, but please let you kids fail at things. Don't do all their school projects for them. Let them do their own hair even when it looks like insane and horrifying. Let them make a lunch that has 2 swipes of peanut butter and one weird glob of jelly and a lot of dry bread. And PLEASE Don't let them win. DON'T LET THEM WIN. DON'T LET THEM WIN. DON'T LET THEM WIN. Yes, it makes them feel good for a moment, but at some point, life is going to come as a big shock when they realize they really weren't amazing at everything they ever tried. If they don't get to try and fail on their own, they never get the opportunity to learn. They never get to trust themselves. Losing is an important part of life, and it makes a real win taste that much sweeter.
Of course. Love your kids. OF COURSE, let them know that you do. Play with them. Enjoy them. Have a hundred million days of joy and wonder. But the kids aren't perfect little snowflakes, and it doesn't help them to be convinced they are. It's VERY STRESSFUL to have to be perfect. I should know, seeing as I am perfect. I can assure you it's been QUITE the burden to bear.
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