Children who are told they are special by their parents are more likely to become narcissists, according to a study Monday that aimed to uncover the origins of extreme selfishness. The research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed US journal, is based on 565 children in the Netherlands who were surveyed over the course of a year and a half, along with their parents. Children whose parents described them as "more special than other children" and as kids who "deserve something extra in life" were more likely to score higher on tests of narcissism than peers who were not lauded in this way. "Children believe it when their parents tell them that they are more special than others," said study co-author Brad Bushman, professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University. "That may not be good for them or for society." Parental warmth and encouragement may be a better strategy than inflating the ego, the study found.
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