Before you know how to raise healthy children when your partner is a narcissist, you need to understand how personality develops. One of the false beliefs about personality development that can prevent you from raising healthy children is; believing that personality is inherited.
You might have noticed how two children can have totally different personalities even though they have the same parents. In most cases even identical twins develop different personalities even though they have almost similar genes. If personality was inherited then all identical twins would have similar personality traits but that rarely happens.
So, how does personality develop?
Children are born with no information in their mind. As they grow, they form beliefs about the world around them, they develop different desires and drives, and those are the factors that determine their personality.
For example, the only children grow up in an environment where they are the centre of attention, as a result most only children become attention seekers in their adulthood. The attention seeking behaviour helps them maintain the favourable conditions that they grew up in.
Another example is of neglected children. When parents neglect a child, the children usually conclude that he is not good enough. The belief that he is not worthy of his/her parent’s attention usually destroys his/her self esteem and as a result most neglected children grow up with low self-esteem. See: Do narcissists love their children.
How to raise healthy children if your partner is a narcissist
Some parenting mistakes can bring big problems in the child’s personality later on in his/her life. As I said in some of my previous articles, narcissism can be a result of bad parenting. Incorrect parenting can result in making a child become a narcissist later on in his life.
Most often people are likely to parent their children the way they were parented. For example, if someone’s parents were overprotective they are likely to become over protective towards their children as well. This means that the narcissistic parent is likely to do the same parenting mistakes that his parents did that resulted in his narcissism.
You may be thinking that you need to limit children’s contact with the narcissist parent but that’s not healthy at all. Instead you should try to balance the parenting mistakes that the narcissist parent may be making.
This is how to raise emotionally healthy children:
- Avoid excessive pampering: praising children and excessive pampering can make them believe that they are unique, special, and superior to others. This can make them develop narcissism. When a child is excessively praised he usually tries to get that praise that he was used to even when he is an adult.
- Don’t be neglectful: surprisingly, the exact opposite of pampering can also make a child develop narcissism. As I said, when a child is neglected he usually concludes that he is totally worthless. This conclusion usually makes him develop inferiority as a result the child may develop narcissism in order to compensate for the inferiority feelings.
- Avoid violent fights in the presence of your children: most violent children and bullies are usually raised by parents who fight violently in front of them. Children who are raised in a home where parents constantly fight each other usually grow up believing that violence is the only way to solve problems.
- Teach them social interest: in my previous article “who is a psychopath”, I said that people who lack social interest usually developed the dark triad personality traits. A person who has higher social interest is less likely to become a narcissist, psychopath or antisocial. (See also: how to stop a narcissist from ruining your self-esteem).