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I believe I can help you with your concern.
I can understand your concern about your son always expecting this level of praise
Usually this would not be considered delusional, but actually narcissistic in most cases. Although your son is very young and sometimes at his age children can have this "high sense of self-worth" that mimics many narcissistic traits, but is not because he is too young
Most children that go through this phase, will eventually grow out of it and adapt/adjust, but some do not unfortunately and they actually develop a personality disorder called Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).
it's not just the expectation of praise that's troubling. he gets very upset when he expects to be recognized for an effort that he didn't actually give. Today, he cried because he wasn't given a seat as 1st violinist in his orchestra. Realistically, I thought he might be considered, but really hadn't put too much effort into it and had been fairly sloppy... may have been other kids who would have been more deserving. He really couldn't see it that way. This is a typical scenario for him.
Is there something my spouse and I can do to help him?
May I ask for how long has he exhibited this type of behavior?
Seems like maybe 3+ years. Not sure exactly. It's just becoming more of a problem for our family because it makes it difficult to have him accomplish anything needed -- Say he needs to work on something, like math facts. He'll say he knows them well. If you quiz him, they'll be gaps. Then he'll say, "Well, I know them better than everyone else in the class." We'll say that's not the point. You really need to know them. It'll be a fight.
Do you have any recommendations?
Does he also have an issue with sharing at all?
Sometimes, particularly in group settings.
Do you mean sharing, as in sharing items or sharing stories? I meant with items.
I meant items too actually, you were right
sorry for the confusion
So you can do a few things to help him, but after 3 years this behavior does seem to be ingrained pretty well in him and your behavioral techniques may not be effective. So you can try seeing a child psychologist for him, which should help. But I will also show you some techniques that can work too.
So the best type of therapy for him would be called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT has a premise that your symptoms are caused by negative thoughts, so if we change your thought process to be more positive and objective as well, then your symptoms will lessen.
So the negative thoughts are his narcissistic thoughts about himself, and where he is not thinking objectively.
So this link may help you, it contains a technique I use with patients called a thought record. It will help him keep track of any negative thoughts he has. He puts the negative thought on paper, the emotion accompanying, the evidence to support it, and the evidence against it. Then I want him to come up with an alternative thought for the situation (more objective and plausible). This will help him change his way of thinking to be able to think more objective and not automatically go to a negative type of thinking.
OK. Thanks. How do you go about finding a child psychologist? Do all of them practice CBT? He doesn't think negatively AT ALL about what he does, or more appropriately does not do. He only thinks negative thoughts about what others think of his lack of effort.
I will check out the pdf.
He has a VERY hard time coming up with alternatives for why people don't recognize his effort as being great. It is NEVER because of something he has done or not done.
In addition, many children with these types of narcissistic tendencies at such a young age also have low self-esteem, so the narcissism is actually an overcompensation. This worksheet helps by replacing negative self-critical beliefs with positive beliefs.
Thank you. I will try both with him. Will I be able to access this transcript later? I'm so tired now. This is a great service. Your advice will help me sleep!
I can also help you find a child psychologist in your area if you like.
I know it will be difficult changing his thought process, this is why therapy is a gradual approach and there is not quick fix, but if he keeps working on it over and over the objective thought process will become ingrained in his mind.
OK. Thanks. Our zip is 10533, Irvington, NY.
Also individuals with narcissistic traits have a poor coping mechanism, so this worksheet will help you develop a better coping strategy to manage your symptoms better.
Okay give me a few minutes to compile a list for you
Also this link has some good strategies for you as a parent that you can implement to help change his behavior.
Wow. You are a treasure-trove. Thanks!
Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX to "hang up" now. I'm rating you an excellent. Really appreciate the help!
Thank you for the compliment.
Here is the list of the therapists in your area for your son
They all use CBT, specialize in his age range, and have a background treating narcissism.
Is there anything else I can assist you with. And also yes the chat will be saved in JA account, so you can always come back to it and the links
You are really amazing! Would have thought you would had to get back to me to give me that list. Thanks again!
No problem, I am glad I caught you before you hung up. Is there anything else you need?
No, I'm really in a much better place than when I started. Had no idea how to help my son and was feeling quite overwhelmed. Now, I'm hopeful. Thanks.
Anytime, I am always happy to help. I wish you and your son all the best. My goal is to provide you with excellent service, so if you ever have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at anytime.
Thanks. I will.
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