Is my teen a narcissist? The term “narcissist” is usually used to describe someone who is vain, as opposed to someone who has a narcissistic personality disorder—which is a diagnosable mental health condition.
People with narcissistic personality disorder have difficulty functioning. They struggle to maintain healthy relationships and their education and employment are affected. Dealing with a teen that is exhibiting narcissist behavior can be extremely challenging.
Maybe your teenager says, “I need a new car!” when in fact they have a perfectly running used one your relative has given them. Or maybe they believe they shouldn’t have to clean their bedroom because the cleaning person can. No matter how they express it, dealing with a narcissistic teen can be difficult.
If your teenager is a bit self-absorbed, you’re not alone. Rest assured that their insistence that they’re the center of the universe doesn’t necessarily reflect upon your parenting skills. For the time, your teen believes the world owes them and they are completely self-consumed in the —- me, me, me generation.
The good news is, in time and maturity, most (the majority – if not all) do eventually grow out of this phase.
5 Common signs your teen has narcissist traits:
1. Inflated Ego.
Being egocentric is part of normal teenage development. It helps adolescents separate from their families and form their own unique identities.
Your teen truly feels they are better than others and it usually has nothing to do with their personal achievements. In some cases they have this attitude from their lifestyle factors — possibly the house they live in, where you live (locality), clothes they own ( fancy brands), car you or your teen drives, etc. They start believing in an exaggerated version of self. It’s taking the word entitlement to the next level.
2. Selfish about how others feel.
Although your teen may always be looking to be stroked and praise, they fail to recognize when others are struggling, hurting or even celebrating their own achievements. Your teen is only focused on themselves and doesn’t care about anything that isn’t related to them. Overall selfish attitude.
3. Difficultly maintaining friendships.
Changing peer groups or friends frequently could be due to a teen with a narcissistic attitude. When your teen treats others as inferior but expects admiration and praise, it could wreak havoc in any relationship.
4. They know it all!
Narcissism traits in a teenager leads them to believe they know it all, and will refuse to learn anything new or listen to anyone — especially from parents. They have a distorted sense of intelligence and intellect.
5. Braggadocious and always wanting praise.
Teens that exhibit narcissist behavior have a tendency to boast about themselves excessively, for example, they may tell their friends that no one can play soccer as well as they can in the county. They also expect to be praised and honored — even if they haven’t done anything special or out of the ordinary. It’s all always all about them.
How to treat narcissistic teenage behavior:
Being narcissistic is not a health issue and you can help your teen develop a healthy outlook.
- Local therapy is the place to start. Choosing an adolescent therapist that can help them deal with emotions such as depression, shame, guilt, inadequacy, insecurity, anger and other negative emotions.
- Talk therapy (above) can help your teenager talk through their behavior so they can better understand why they are acting this way and hopefully change their outlook.
- Counseling also brings change to your teen as they begin to see how their behavior is affecting their life and changing it will help them build stronger relationships with friends.
- Empathy is key in changing your teen’s behavior. Both the therapist and the parent need to start instilling empathy while teaching the teen to act differently. They will soon realize how their narcissistic behavior was hurting others. Read UnSelfie: Why Empathic Kids Succeed In An-All-About Me World.
Many teens trend towards narcissism but eventually grow out of it. As a parent, you will have to make sure that you provide constant support and the right guidance for your teen to avoid any behavioral problems.
If you’ve exhausted your local resources, local therapy isn’t working for you and you feel like you’re at your wit’s end — contact us to learn the benefits of residential treatment for teens that are struggling.
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