Is Modern Parenting Creating Narcissists?

What if modern parenting's focus on vulnerability and trauma is creating people who only think about themselves?

I highly recommend this article by Mark Manson on Narcissism. Reading through it, I see so many personality traits that I’ve identified as other disorders. But perhaps, under this model, they are actually narcissism.

He has a great self-assessment in there that’s gold on its own.

I see similarities to what I’ve been talking about with fragile young people who feel as if, and are constantly told, that they’re always prosecuted in some way. Always victimized. Always put down. Always opposed. And that this is somehow personal against them.

Here’s a crazy idea. What if, under this model, we’re actually creating small-n narcissists who think the world revolves around them? What if we’re creating a cyclical loop of people who:

  1. Only think about themselves and the problems they’re enduring.

  2. Because they only think about themselves, they can’t gain the perspective that EVERYONE is ALWAYS being pushed down by life…on a regular basis.

So basically, they see social media and it shows people not facing difficulties. And then they face difficulties. So they assume it’s all a conspiracy against them.

I think modern parenting (whatever that is) is guilty here because rather than tell them to brush it off because it’s happening to everyone, they instead indulge their every complaint. They talk about how it makes them feel. They validate that they should be feeling that way.

I feel like the immigrant style of parenting, or perhaps a Stoicism-based style of parenting, would instead say that they need to get out more because everyone’s life sucks if you choose to see it that way.

There’s always a reason to be offended, sad, or beaten-down. Everyone is jostling to get ahead, to keep you behind, to silence you, to lessen you, and to put themselves above you.

That’s life, and that’s what we deal with. And how we feel simply comes down to what we do with this information.

If we chose to count the slights and offenses, and feel each one like an attack on our identity, we will be brittle and sad. And if we chose to see those as a free gym membership, then we get stronger from it. Hell we can even be thankful for those lessons and reps.

Anyway, back to the point, it could be that this fragility-based parenting is basically creating an army of narcissists who see everything only as it relates to them.

And to be clear, I don’t really blame the parents (or the kids). They’re part of a zeitgeist. This is the fashion in parenting right now, and they’re following this trend because it’s supposed to be medicine.

But I’m becoming increasingly worried it’s actually poison.