Self-Centered Parenting And How It Affects Kids

Self centered parenting may not always be noticed as happening, but it can have long term damaging affects on children.

By Jessica Marie Baumgartner | Published

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self centered parenting

Self-care and “me time” are common modern-day movements. But what happens when a parent focuses more on themselves than the needs of their children? This leads to self-centered parenting which can cause long-lasting psychological issues for individuals raised by those who obsess over themselves

Self-centered parenting is pretty self-explanatory. It is a method by which mothers and/or fathers focus on themselves throughout all phases of child-rearing. Instead of working to tend and care for a vulnerable child, they generally care for themselves and only their desires and necessities. Children are pushed aside and even manipulated to care for what their parents want instead of being properly guided throughout their lives. 

Even if a child is properly fed, clothed, housed, and educated, self-centered parents often adversely affect them. Children of selfish parents are more likely to experience self-esteem issues. They do not receive the loving affirmation needed to like who they are. This also stems from the fact that manipulative parenting tactics lead adolescents to either do everything they can to please a parent who will not react with loving care, or become combative as they age — creating an unhealthy home environment and potential domestic conflicts. 

In essence, self-centered parenting teaches children to attempt to raise their parents. This role reversal is a common element that leads to serious emotional issues into adulthood. Kids who are forced to parent their parent struggle with the fact that their efforts do not generally lead to success. If they grow frustrated or combative they may even become bullies without knowing it. 

It also creates a variety of mental issues. Children stuck in a self-centered parenting environment will struggle with their emotional needs. They are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts. Some will go so far as to attempt to run away before they are prepared to care for themselves. 

This sets children up for future difficulties. Children are likely to grow up to date and even marry individuals who remind them of their parents. This creates an unhealthy cycle. If they worked endlessly to care for self-centered parents, they are more likely to end up caring for a self-centered partner and become neglected adults who are emotionally fragile. Children who grow up fighting a selfish parent are more likely to project that into their relationships and end up competing with their partner instead of working with them. This can lead to emotional disruptions like heated arguments and even physical fights. 

self centered parenting

While self-centered parenting is not uncommon, those who are displaying unhealthy selfish behavior can change their actions and work to better care for their children. It takes self-awareness and sometimes outside help from family members or psychologists. Working every day to ensure that children receive the love and care they need to thrive can help combat this behavior. Parents should not go from one extreme to the other, and worship their children in an effort to make up for past indiscretions, but balancing everyone’s needs and offering support for each other is how families succeed.