How Do Narcissists Treat Their Kids? - Horribly, As You Can Imagine

Last updated by Katie M.

Growing up with narcissistic parents is certainly no easy feat, because, let's face it, people with this disorder are unsympathetic, selfish, manipulative, egotistical, and dishonest, yes, that's right, these traits aren't exactly those showcased by the parents of the year. Realistically, these folks simply don't have the basic qualities required to become good parents, which is why, when they choose to have a family, things often spin out of control, and the narcissistic abuse undoubtedly crushes children's mental health.

How Do Narcissists Treat Their Kids? - Horribly, As You Can Imagine

A narcissist's inherent traits mean that they will inevitably treat their kids horribly, and no matter how hard they try to change their ways and put their children first, they'll never be able to overcome the darkness lingering in them. They say that narcissism breeds only two things, and they are further narcissism and unhappiness, and for me, this statement seems perfectly accurate.

How does a narcissist act towards their children?

10 Things they are guilty of doing, or not doing...

1) Narcissistic parents will never comfort their kids

There are no two ways about it, narcissists lack empathy for anyone but themselves, and can't even muster any up for their children. Now, most parents automatically feel awash of anxiety and sympathy for their kids whenever they hurt themselves or cry, but not these guys. Instead of comforting them and trying to make them feel better, these toxic parents will simply just ignore them, or in some cases yell at them until they wipe their tears away. Here, tough love definitely prevails.

2) They favor one child

With these people, they'll always treat their children differently and instill a notion of competition between them. Narcissistic mothers and fathers will always have one golden child who they will shower with love, gifts, and affection, whilst the others will be hung out to dry. Hmm, sounds a little bit like love bombing to me! After all, these abusive personalities will always want someone on their side, even if it means buying their affection.

3) They criticize their children

The truth is, these folks have truly wicked tongues, which often damage their children's mental health. In fact, their tendency to emotionally abuse their family members frequently means that they put their kids down about pretty much everything. They'll put them down about their appearance, their weight, their grades, their choice of partner, and even their career path. Basically, they'll find fault in absolutely anything, without especially realizing how much it will impact them in the long term.

4) They won't allow them to sign up for activities

Children of narcissists will never be given the opportunity to sign up for sports or theater classes, for example, and that's because their parents never want to sacrifice their own time for someone else's happiness. These selfish beings never want to commit to doing anything because they'd rather focus on themselves. Now, in the rare cases where they do allow their kids to sign up for activities, they'll become hugely flaky...

>>> Read; Is my mom a narcissist?

5) They are super strict

Punishments will be taken to the next level with these people and at points, sadly, they will border on child abuse. In reality, the child of a narcissistic parent will be exposed to drastic measures because these devious souls believe that a bit of roughness and tumble will keep them in check and prevent them from rebelling.

6) They lay the affection on thick

As anyone who has been raised by a narcissistic parent can testify, this parent/child relationship is very up and down, which explains why, at times, these emotional and physical abusers become seriously lovey-dovey. At certain points, they'll try to convince themselves that they are in fact good parents and will therefore completely change their behavior.

7) They make every decision for them

Those with narcissistic personality disorders can be huge busybodies, meaning they'll somehow force their way into the center of every milestone decision-making process, even when it doesn't exactly concern them. In reality, these personalities are control freaks and believe that they legitimately have the right to have an input in their children's lives, no matter how old they are, or how poorly they treated them during their childhood.

8) They pretend to feel guilt

Now, whilst we all know that narcissists never actually feel guilty or remorseful for their actions, that doesn't prevent them from acting as if they are torn up by them. In fact, these master manipulators will go to any length possible to get people, and in particular their victims, to feel sorry for them. Lying is second nature to them, which is why they spin tall tales pretty much everywhere they go.

9) They never support them

Narcissists love interfering in other people's business, however, if and when people don't take on board their advice, or essentially, do as they please, then they'll make it known that they no longer support them. Plus, they'll do everything in their power to ensure they fail too, just so that they can say those four magic words; 'I told you so'.

10) They blow hot and cold

This example is particularly true for older kids. Whilst these manipulative demons will at points hassle their kids to spend time with them, at others, they'll brutally cut all means of communication and leave their kids in the dark as to why. In short, they'll never be a stable, constant presence in anyone's life, because they simply don't care enough...

>>> Learn how to deal with a narcissistic mother-in-law

Does a narcissist love their child?

This is a very complex question and largely depends on the severity of the personality disorder. People with a less severe dose of the condition can eventually learn to love their children and may even project their selfish behavior and overinflated ego onto them, making them believe that they are superior to everyone else. They will evidently need time to adapt to having someone else in their lives, but that's not to say that they are incapable of adjusting, especially when they realize that they can mold their child into their idea of perfection. (Yikes!) 

As for the raging narcissists out there, who fully embrace their diabolic traits, they'll have a harder time loving their children. In fact, they are completely and utterly void of empathy and simply aren't cut out for loving their offspring. No matter how much time passes, they will never be able to consider their children as being as important as themselves and will consider them as hindrances to their vindictive ways. In short, children of narcissistic parents will never fully receive the love and care that they so deserve.

Will a narcissist hurt their children?

The narcissistic parent doesn't see their offspring as such, but as an object to be used, particularly against the other parent in the event of conflict. The child will be subjected to this toxicity and take it for granted. This can affect their self-confidence, making them fragile and susceptible to influence. Their ability to judge will be profoundly impaired, as will their autonomy and free will.

The narcissistic parent will take credit for their child's successes, even though they have done everything in their power to ensure their child's failure. With a sick need for admiration, they'll be jealous of their child, even competing with him or her. They will find it hard to see their child blossom as they inevitably grows older. The narcissistic parent will interfere in their child's relationships to maintain absolute control, and will love to create frustrations by making tempting proposals which they will then refuse. Ultimately, they will not hesitate to harm their children if it serves their interests.

Do narcissists care about their kids?

Narcissistic people may have different attitudes towards their children, depending on their degree of narcissism, their motivations and their ability to develop healthy emotional bonds. Here are some possible scenarios:

  • Using children as an extension of oneself: These folks may see their children as an extension of themselves, and use them to reinforce their own image and social status. They may seek to project their own aspirations and successes onto their children, pushing them to achieve goals that match their own desires rather than those of the child.

  • Lack of empathy and genuine caring: These personalities may have difficulty feeling and expressing genuine empathy for their children. They may be focused on their own needs and desires, paying only limited attention to their children's emotional needs. They may also struggle to provide emotional support and a stable affective presence.

  • Competition with children: These people may see their children as potential competitors, and feel jealous or envious if the children receive attention or achievements that could make them stand out. They may react competitively by downplaying children's achievements or putting them in competition with themselves.

  • Use of manipulation and control: Narcissistic people may use their children as a means of manipulation and control, using them to satisfy their emotional needs, to gain admiration and attention, or to maintain a hold on them. They may exert excessive influence over children's life choices, seeking to direct them according to their own wishes.

Can a narcissist be a good father?

Narcissistic parents take great care of themselves, so the needs and feelings of their children are neglected. In short, narcissists just aren’t cut out to be good fathers, or mothers for that matter. Moreover, the latter are largely ignored or even openly devalued. What is left are confused children who, at some point, often convince themselves that they are the problem. This phenomenon is also called "invalidation": the narcissistic father ignores or devalues the child's needs and feelings. Then, those involved can hardly learn to understand them as completely natural and justified, which can have a massive impact on later romantic relationships.

In families with toxic parents, children are often centerpieces for narcissistic parents - or at least they should be. They like to demand maximum performance from their children, for example at school, but also in sports and other areas. Ideally, they serve to increase their own self-esteem. Of course, their children should be as docile and obedient as possible and submit completely to their orders.

>>> Read up on the 10 signs you are dating a narcissist

How do narcissists treat their grown children?

Much like they do with young children, narcissists also treat their grown up kids like infants. In fact, they often belittle them and try to muscle their way into their lives in an attempt to take control. Whenever their grown children have any decisions to make, narcissistic parents will try to bulldoze through their own opinions and take on the subject. The truth is that these overbearing parents struggle to accept the idea that their kids are now full adults and can conduct their lives as they please. This explains why they are often guilty of trying to break down their confidence, so they become reliant on them. Letting their children fly the nest is a complex challenge for any over interfering parent, but it is made even tough when narcissistic tendencies are at large. In short, these parents have a hard time viewing their children as grown-ups who are capable of making their own decisions and following their own paths.

How do narcissists treat their siblings?

A narcissist feels only for themselves and can love only themselves. A narcissist is very attached to their childhood, and everything that was part of that childhood is important to them, like their friends and, of course, their brothers and sisters. So, when it comes to their siblings, they love them because they're their past, their life, and their memories, but they don't love them for what they have to offer. When a narcissist learns that one of their siblings is suffering from an illness, has had an accident, or is experiencing a serious problem, they have no reaction, feel no sadness or anger, don't try to help, and remain totally insensitive...

Editor's opinion - The scars will be brutal...

A parent suffering from such a pathology will negatively impact the psychological foundations of their child. The narcissistic parent does not consider their offspring as such, but instead as objects to be used, especially against the other parent in case of conflict. The child will suffer from this toxicity and will integrate it as being natural. This can affect their self-confidence, making them fragile and unstable. Their ability to judge will be profoundly altered, as will their autonomy and free will.

🤗 Understand yourself, accept yourself, be happy... Let’s do it here and now!


Be sure to check out these articles too;

Article presented by Katie M.

Discover the world through my eyes.

Hi, Katie. Your article says it was last updated 11 days in the future. Hopefully you can sort out your website calendar. Good read though

Our most popular 'psychology' articles:

Split Personality

Are you familiar with dissociative personality disorder? You may well think of schizophrenia, yet the two conditions are different. What is dissociative personality disorder? We’ll explain all.

What Are The Weaknesses Of A Narcissist?

Each one of us has our own weaknesses that hold us back in life; be it at work or in relationships. However, on a more positive note, most of us have the will to work on them and transform them. That being said, once narcissists are brought into the picture, the idea that they want to work on their weaknesses doesn’t exactly seem feasible. For a deeper understanding of these narcissists and more insights into the workings of their minds, discover their weak spots and which pointers they struggle with on a daily basis, yet aren't willing to admit or work on.

Can A Narcissist Become Obsessed With Someone?

Now, narcissists are known for demonstrating a worrying lack of empathy along with deviously manipulative traits, oh, and before I forget to mention it, HUGE egos too. Yes, that’s right, they love spending hours looking in the mirror and being told how fabulous they are. To put it in other words, people with this personality disorder are firmly in love with themselves, to the point of being totally obsessed with their so-called perfection, but the question is, can they put their self-admiration aside enough to become preoccupied with someone else?

Are Narcissists Insecure?

There is no denying that narcissistic personalities display some deeply worrying and disturbing traits, but what if these devious traits were just a means of protection? What if they were in fact a complete facade, fabricated to keep people away, in the hope of hiding their deepest darkest insecurities? After all, everyone has weak spots, even the most confident and put together of people, so why wouldn’t a narcissist deal with the same niggling doubts as everyone else? It's time we got to the bottom of this and discovered why these folks are so insecure.

How Does A Narcissist React When They Can’t Control You?

You probably know by now that narcissists only ever look for one thing and one thing only; and that’s control! Whether in their personal or professional life, folks with this personality disorder need to be in the driving seat and the one calling the shots, otherwise all hell breaks loose. Although their cunning and manipulative nature means they are often hard to escape, it is still possible to turn the tables on them and take the upper hand. Yet, you’ll need a thick skin to do so because when they feel their power slipping away, they become even more dangerous and abusive; here’s how they react when that happens.

What Does A Narcissist Hate?

Narcissists are experts in the field of duping and manipulating their victims, yes, that’s right they are true chameleons, which explains why many of them often go undetected. Their behavior is definitely dangerous and means we definitely need to figure out what makes them tick and, in this particular case, what they hate. Understanding what these entitled personalities dislike is one of the keys to best exposing them and freeing their victims from their grip. Now, we all get angry for one reason or another, but people with this personality disorder have different triggers related to the things they despise.

How To Heal From The Pain Of Being Rejected

Whether it’s the breakdown of a relationship, a family dispute, or even being fired dismissal... We have all experienced the feeling of being rejected, excluded, or left out. Whilst some people manage to bounce back quite quickly, others suffer from it in a persistent way. As for me, I understood how to move on, because I was able to recognize my rejection wound. So, how can we overcome the fear of rejection and move on from it?


“He’s lying through his teeth!” You’re confronted with a mythomaniac in your close circle. You had no doubts about what they were saying and after conducting your own little investigation, you’re stunned! They’ve been leading you on since the beginning… They invented a life for themselves. But why? How do you recognize a liar, and how can you protect yourself? We’ll tell you everything.

Why We Feel So Socially Exhausted After Lockdown

“Are you coming to the party on Saturday?” After months of restrictions and several lockdowns, I must admit that I wasn’t expecting to hear this question. So I did a series of things, I had drinks with my girlfriends, I went to parties, lunches, etc. And without realizing it, I felt exhausted. Why do I feel like I've been running on empty since the end of lockdown?

More insights into our personalities:

6 Differences Between Being Self-Centered And Being A Narcissist

When it comes to mental health disorders, the parameters of each condition often seem blurry, and this explains why many of us have trouble identifying them. Plus, certain disorders frequently encompass similar symptoms and traits, making recognizing and therefore understanding them even more complicated. Let’s take being selfish and having a narcissistic personality disorder, for example. Because they overlap on such a huge scale, upon first glance, they do in fact seem indistinguishable to many of us. That being said, when you dig a little deeper, the differences do become more and more apparent.

6 Reasons Why Narcissists Never Apologize - They Hate Saying Sorry

I’ll be the first to admit that my stubbornness means I’m not exactly the most willing person when it comes to uttering the words ‘I’m sorry’, but I always push through my pride; although unfortunately, the same can’t be said for narcissists... Indeed, people who suffer from this personality disorder will simply never hold their hands up and accept responsibility for their actions, despite how deeply they’ve hurt your feelings. You know the idiom getting blood from a stone, right? Well, when it comes to apologies from these toxic personalities, nothing is more appropriate, and here are 6 reasons why!

Ergophobia: When The Fear Of Work Eats Away At You…

I know the real fear of work. I suffered from it for a long time, but I’m happy to say that today I’m cured. It’s an illness that can make others smile, as you can easily be seen as lazy. However, it’s not the case for people suffering from ergophobia, the fear of work. Where does this fear come from? How can it be treated? All will be explained.

I Have Fits Of Anger

Anyone who’s never felt anger can close this article! We’ve all felt this virulent emotion at one time or another 😡. It’s neither bad nor good, but it has the right to exist. It’s healthy to feel angry when you’re betrayed or a victim of an injustice. However, when anger attacks are recurrent, it’s good to learn how to control them. When anger hurts others or ourselves, it becomes a problem.

I’m Scared Of Failure

“I won’t manage it”, “I can’t do it”… I often say this because I doubt my abilities tremendously. Being so negative allows me to calm my fear of failure a bit. By doing nothing, I don’t run the risk of failing. I prefer to do nothing and remain in a state of waiting, for fear of not succeeding. So I procrastinate, thinking about the fact that I didn’t take the plunge out of anxiety. How can I overcome this fear to really start doing things?

Why I Hate Conflict And What I Need To Do To Face It

As soon as I feel tension build up with someone close to me, I take flight. I don’t like conflict, even if I don’t agree with the other person, I run from it. As a result, I keep it all inside of me, which can generate a lot of annoyance. Rather than this eating away at us from the inside, we need to learn to overcome this fear of conflict to make our voice heard. Why do we run away from conflict? How can we overcome this fear? Here are some explanations.

What Are The Signs That You Are Unhappy?

I sometimes feel bad, I don’t have the energy anymore… When we encounter financial, family, or other difficulties, as well as serious events such as bereavement, we accumulate psychological wounds. We can be resilient and move on, but we can also be overwhelmed by a growing sense of unease. There’s no shame in feeling bad psychologically, it happens to us all. However, spotting the signs of unhappiness enables us to be alert and to take care of our mental health.

8 Reasons Why Millennials Feel So Lost

If you ever find yourself watching the news or reading traditional journalism outlets, you’ll no doubt have picked up on the bad rep that millennials get. That’s right, we millennials (those of us who were born between 1981 – 1996) are often criticized for being ‘woke’, overly sensitive, entitled, and lazy. Now, isn’t that a bunch of adjectives you’d instantly like to forget! As you can probably tell, I don’t agree with the evaluation regarding our age group and am here to explain why we feel so lost and disconnected.

Why Do We Like Being Scared?

Making up ghost stories, talking about horrible legends, wanting to talk about spirits… I think we all did it when we were children. Even as adults, if we like watching horror films or documentaries about serial killers, it’s because we love scaring ourselves! 😱 However, the question we may ask ourselves is why we like being scared? There are neuropsychological and sociological reasons behind this attraction. All will be explained!

How To Get Rid Of Your Horrid Complexes

Legs too fat, lips too small, scars or even shyness, whether it’s physical or psychological, complexes often have the bad taste of spoiling our lives and making us unhappy. But we won’t let them do that to us! We’re worth more than that, right?

Wengood's favorite tunes 🎵

How to detect a narcissist

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." 

- Oscar Wilde