What I write is strictly my opinion so…
Let’s jump right into it. What is narcissistic parenting? In my own definition, a narcissistic parent is one who encourages their child to do something for their own personal motive over the benefit of their child. For example, let’s say your child doesn’t care for learning to play the piano but you have your child play and master the piano so during parties or gatherings you can mention that your child plays piano. This can help your child cognitively, sure… why not? But is it for you or do you want your image to be elevated via your child? Think about it…
Thinking about it, this concept is typically common in Asian households. But I do want to point out the distinct difference between Asian-Indian parents versus other Asian parents. You can agree or disagree, but average Asian children are fully aware their parent is using them to perhaps attain validity or acknowledgment, but honestly the child also wishes to pursue the same end goal their parent/s have instilled.
What I have noticed in Asian-Indian households, is that the child is often forced and grows to regret what they are having to do. Trust me, I have numerous conversations with others about their own experiences about this.
It may seem like I am biased, but during my school years I have heard this countless times. Asian-Indian households sought out to force their children to be great by shunning them for their failures. Have you heard this? Average Asian households just instill the rules, and the children follow with little to no regret.
Is it the style of parenting? Maybe. There are many possibilities, and not all forms are true but when there is a trend there is a problem.
Growing up, my brother had a good Indian friend that lived in our neighborhood. They often hung out during weekends and did homework together. At the time that we were one of the few Indian families in the neighborhood, and my mother befriended my brother’s friend’s mother very quickly.
For privacy, I will call her Auntie R. Auntie R was sweet, and I hung out with her daughter while my brother hung out with her son. We got along great, and then slowly we stopped becoming close. We were suddenly not invited to events, and seemingly shunned from local Indian functions.
As a child I never understood why. I just thought we were just not the going out type. But as an adult I realized that we were not a typical Indian family, and we didn’t fit in. Auntie R’s friends all consisted of family gossipers, as well as gloating about their children.
It all became a contest – who’s child was doing better than the other, who’s child was doing more extracurricular activities, who’s child was invited to the most parties. My mother didn’t like the vibes and took herself out of the equation. The men or the uncles were no better. According to my dad, he didn’t enjoy the uncles comparing their wives and children.
Narcissistic parenting isn’t going to make your child any better at life than being a supportive parent. They are having to be competitive with their own classmates for the sake of their parents bragging about them. If they don’t do enough, they are seen with disdain and punished.
Auntie R’s son is extremely smart. From what I remember, he was a sweet kid, and highly ambitious. He balanced out fun time, and hard work very well. Growing up, however, he was constantly punished for such small things to the point it affected his health.
High stress levels lead to severe health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, etc. His mother had punished him for not doing homework by leaving the house to run errands and not leaving any food for her son.
She said he had to learn the consequences of not being responsible and said he could only eat after finishing his homework.
As a middle schooler, alone at home and hungry, he resorted to eating snacks and indulging in whatever he could until his mother could properly feed him. He was forced to play tennis, and one day he got extremely sick. He developed diabetes.
You would think Auntie R would’ve taken a different approach or started changing her parenting style to help her son more. Her new brag was “my son still plays tennis even though he has diabetes.”
All this to say, your child’s health should always be the number one priority. Health as in, mental, physical, emotional, all forms. Your life is not a reflection of your child. Your life should not be lived through your child. You as a parent have a responsibility to nurture and feed into your child to help them grow into healthy adults- not atmosphere expecting pressure and perfection. Additionally, don’t insist they do what you want in order for you to brag.
Your child is not a plaything. Your child is not an accessory. Teach them the right skills and morals to be responsible adults and show them your support. A child is so impressionable, and they will always want to make you proud. Let them know that they do make you proud, not because they scored a perfect score on their SATS, made a 100 on a math test, because they won a spelling bee but because of WHO THEY ARE as a person! I promise that will make a world of a difference.