Posts Tagged ‘ self-esteem ’

Are You Raising Narcissistic Kids?

Monday, March 9th, 2015

Girl looking at self in mirrorParents are wired to love their children unconditionally and to believe they’re extra special (and who can blame them!), but according to research, “overvaluing” your child may hurt them in the long run.

A new study shows that children whose parents think they are “more special than other children” or “deserve something extra in life,” display more narcissistic characteristics and behaviors.

Researchers collected data from 565 children (ages 7 to 11) and their parents in order to find out how narcissism develops. Over the course of a year and a half, participants completed four surveys that measured children’s levels of self-esteem and narcissism, as well as parents’ emotional warmth and their tendency to overvalue their children’s abilities.

The difference between high self-esteem and narcissism was clearly evident. Children who had high self-esteem reported being happy with themselves without believing they were better than others. Narcissists believed their worth was higher than others, which can contribute to aggression and violence later in life.

Parental warmth was also associated with higher self-esteem, while overvaluation was linked with higher levels of narcissism. According to the study, which appears in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “parental overvaluation was connected to narcissism even after the researchers took into account the narcissism levels of the parents.” Put another way: narcissistic parents don’t always have narcissistic children; instead, excessive praise and compliments are strong influencing factors.

This study expands on earlier research that aimed to show the degree to which some parents overvalue their children. Parents who overestimated their children’s worth claimed they had an abundance of knowledge, even about topics that didn’t actually exist. But overvaluation is not the only factor that causes narcissism; individual traits and genetics are also important to consider.

Since beginning research on this topic, Brad Bushman, co-author of the study and professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University, has altered his own parenting style to avoid treating his three children like they are extra special. “Children believe it when their parents tell them that they are more special than others. That may not be good for them or for society,” Bushman says.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

What's Your Parenting Style?
What's Your Parenting Style?
What's Your Parenting Style?

Image: Girl looking in mirror via Shutterstock

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Body Image Issues Begin as Early as Age 5

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

girl looking in mirrorIt’s well known that many Americans, especially women, dislike their bodies. Much of the blame for this problem is placed on the media for airbrushing models and celebrities into unrealistic, typically unattainable beauties — and on society for glorifying these retouched versions of people.

We usually assume that the battle with negative self-image begins when adolescents hit puberty, but a new report from Common Sense Media suggests that these issues are beginning even earlier than that. Although the report is not comprehensive, information was compiled from numerous body image studies to determine what influences a child’s attitudes and behaviors, and at what age.

Researchers discovered that children begin to express concerns about their bodies as young as age 5. And at this young age, parents usually play a role in influencing their kids — as Common Sense Media notes, “you are your child’s first teacher,” meaning that kids can still pick up on subtle but negative body image message you give (even if you’re not harshly criticizing your body).

Even though body image research is often focused on girls, boys are influenced, too. According to the report, one-third of boys (and more than half of girls) between the ages of 6 and 8 believe an ideal body is thinner than their current body size. And 1 in 4 kids have already tried dieting by age 7. And get this—while a Barbie-like physique is knowingly unattainable, the measurements of male action figures surpass the measurements of even the largest bodybuilders!

To counteract the negative body image, Common Sense suggests that you talk openly about appreciating your body, steer clear of commenting on others’ appearances, and participate in healthy habits for your well-being (and not just to look better in the dress you’re wearing soon!).

“A lot of the negative body image comes from internal views of oneself, and when you can really shift that conversation from how someone looks to how someone feels, then kids can really start to think about what their choices are, and how they have control over how they feel, and that brings positive self-esteem and self-awareness,” says Seeta Pai, vice president of research for Common Sense Media and author of the report.

Also: Read these tips on how to talk to your kids about body image.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

How to Eat Healthy: Raising Nutrition-Smart Kids
How to Eat Healthy: Raising Nutrition-Smart Kids
How to Eat Healthy: Raising Nutrition-Smart Kids

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Anti-Bullying Curriculum Shows Results at Elementary, Middle Schools

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

An anti-bullying curriculum that was tested at three elementary and middle schools in Illinois has shown promising results, including reported improvements in key areas including respect, positive communication and social behaviors, awareness and understanding of bullying, school climate, and self-esteem.  More from ScienceDaily.com:

“It’s just as important to teach empathy to students as it is to teach them science,” says Jennifer E. Beebe, assistant professor of counseling and human services at Canisius College. “We can increase consciousness of positive behaviors by incorporating those ideals into the educational system. Many students may not learn them otherwise.”

Beebe completed a study which involved disrespect, bullying behaviors and physical aggression with 300 elementary and middle school students in three schools in Illinois. The behaviors were negatively impacting students’ academic achievement and school attendance. In many cases, these behaviors crossed over into the cyber world. Beebe’s research was sponsored by a grant from The Canisius College School of Education and Human Services.

Students learned several tenets from martial arts during a 12-week long mentoring program which was integrated into students’ regular classroom lessons for approximately one hour. “Students were taught such concepts as loyalty, obedience and respect.” Beebe adds.

What’s your parenting style? Take our quiz to find out!

Back to School: Dealing With Meanness and Bullying
Back to School: Dealing With Meanness and Bullying
Back to School: Dealing With Meanness and Bullying

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Nearly 1/3 of Moms ‘Hate Their Bodies,’ Survey Finds

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

A survey of more than 3,000 mothers conducted by The Today Show has revealed that 31 percent of moms use the word “hate” in describing their body image.  The survey was conducted online, and is not a scientific finding, but it is an interesting window into how mothers see themselves and their bodies.  More from Today.com:

Almost two-thirds of women say they worry their partner doesn’t like their body, according to our online, unscientific poll. Two-thirds of moms also say images of Hollywood moms looking super-fit after having a baby make them feel worse about themselves.

“We live in a culture of judgment, and a culture that really expects women to be perfect and have perfect bodies no matter what else you have going on in your life,” says Michelle Noehren, creator of the CT Working Moms blog and the mom of a toddler who bared her not-so-perfect tummy in a moms’ photoshoot that went viral last year. As the heaviest member of the group, she got grateful responses from many women – but she also bore the brunt of nasty criticism.

Some days, she’s her own worst critic.

“I think to myself, ‘I still can’t fit into any of the clothes that I had before pregnancy’,” she said. “Sometimes I just wish I could put those pants on and wear them to work and feel comfortable again. My husband tells me I’m beautiful all the time, but sometimes I worry that I’m not as attractive to him as I used to be.”

Image: Woman looking in mirror, via Shutterstock

 

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Hallmark UK Apologizes After Offensive Card Discovered

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

A greeting card discovered by an American writer traveling in the United Kingdom had mothers–particularly mothers of girls–up in arms, prompting Hallmark to issue an apology. The card read, according to The Huffington Post, “You’re 13 today! If you had a rich boyfriend he’d give you diamonds and rubies. Well, maybe next year you will – when you’ve bigger boobies!”

After a Twitter photo and comment about the card generated massive social media buzz, Hallmark UK issued a statement that read:

This card was produced by Creative Publishing prior to Hallmark Cards acquiring the company in 1998. We are as surprised and horrified as anyone else to have discovered that there are still copies in circulation. The card has not been produced for over 15 years and would never pass our own strict guidelines of taste and appropriateness. We would like to assure all our customers that we will do everything in our power to track down remaining copies.

Image: Surprised woman holding greeting card, via Shutterstock

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