Young children – toddlers and preschoolers – are egotistic. They think first of themselves and their needs or wants before they think of someone else’s. It looks something like this: You’re dropping with exhaustion. All you can think of is your pillow, your comfortable bed and dropping off to sleep for the next ten days. Your child has something else in mind. They want you to get them a glass of water, the stuffed toy they dropped from their bed – or a third, fourth or fifth bedtime story. Being egotistic is quite different from being narcissistic.
What does “Egotistic” Mean?
An egotistic person is absorbed completely in their own self. When it comes to children, teens or adults, the egotist holds a bigger-than-life view of their own self-importance. The egotist believes they are better than others. Look for this teen or child to remind others – often – that they are smarter than others, have the best toys or wear the perfect outfits.
Middle schoolers and high schoolers demonstrate their big egos by hogging the limelight. “I got the big role in the school play”. “The orchestra teacher gave me the biggest violin solo”. “I grabbed the ball and made that last-minute touchdown and I saved the game!”
In other words, everything they do, everything that is given to them is because, in their own minds, they are “better” than everyone else in the whole school. These egotistic children are generally referred to as vain or conceited.
How An Egotistic Child Can Affect Others
An egotistic child can have a negative effect on other children, including yours. It’s hard being compared to someone else, especially if the one doing the comparing has all the coveted skills or characteristics. Global Post’s Everyday Life points out that spending very much time around an egotistic classmate can be “challenging”. Over time, your child, as well as others, will become more and more reluctant to spend time with the ego-ridden classmate because they begin to feel as though they aren’t as good, talented or smart as that person.
Your child can quickly spot the egotistic one – they boast about their skills and accomplishments; they brag and they are extremely proud. For children who have been taught to be more modest about their abilities, hearing this gets old, fast.
Helping Your Child Deal With an Egotistic Kid
As your child spends more and more time with an egotistic classmate, they are going to begin to doubt their own abilities. You can help them to deal with this classmate by reminding them they are just as good as their boastful peer. Begin by validating your child’s feelings. You don’t have to agree with everything they say. Listen and allow your child to express themselves until they get everything out. Let them know it’s okay to feel their feelings – but it’s not okay to try and get even.
Point out to your child that their egotistic classmate tries to make everyone feel inferior – but this doesn’t mean that your child or others aren’t just as capable. With your child, write down every one of their good qualities. Once you’ve done so, remind them that nobody is better than them.
It may help for your child to spend less time with their egotistic classmate. They should still treat that person with respect, but if they can’t be friends with them that’s perfectly fine. Spending time with other friends who respect your child makes it easier for them all to allow the words of their self-centered classmate go unnoticed.
If your child still likes their egotistic classmate, suggest that the two of them get together one-on-one. If the egotistic child spends time with just one person, they may not act so self-centered. Deep down, the egotistic child doesn’t feel very good about themselves – which is why they try to make themselves look better than others.
Your final step may be to talk to the egotistic child’s parents. It may be that they aren’t aware of what their child has been doing in the classroom. Once their parents know, they can have a gentle talk with their child and remind them that they are just the same as anyone in their classroom.
The egotistic teen has never grown out of their self-centered phase (when they were very young). The biggest cause of an egotistic teen’s behaviors is a lack of self esteem. Maybe they aren’t as good in algebra or English composition as others in their classes, according to Psychology Today.
With the proliferation of mass media, today’s teens are bombarded with images and blog posts that point out the accomplishments and doings of others. Many of our teens are self-critical, so when they see all of these posts and updates about others’ lives, they naturally begin to doubt their abilities or even their contributions to their community.
These teens need to remember that what they are seeing is the end result of possibly years of work and effort. All of this work took months, possibly years. During the entire process the person asked about what they needed to do, got permission, then, as they finished tasks, checked them off.
If your teen is displaying egotistic behavior, communicate your understanding of their hard work. Recognize their efforts every day or every week, not just when report cards are issued.
Let your teen know that you’ve struggled yourself. If, for instance, you had to take college math three times before you passed it, let them know that! It won’t make you feel very good, but it’ll communicate to your child that everyone struggles.
Finally, when you accomplish a big goal, be modest. Don’t practice false modesty or humility. Instead, recognize others who helped you and, when you talk about your accomplishment with your teen, talk about everything you had to do to reach your goal.
How to Spot an Egotistic Person
It’s not attractive to be pompous, smug or selfish. People don’t respond well to someone who is vain or self-centered. How to spot an egotistic person? They are:
- So self-absorbed they ponder why they made certain choices.
- Feeling attacked when questioned about their choices.
- Using the word “I” excessively. “I did this. I thought that.”
- Don’t care about the feelings or opinions of others.
- Don’t care about consequences.
- Love to explain their point of view.
- Spontaneous, regardless of others’ wishes.
- Ignorant of others’ points of view – intentionally.
- Come up with an explanation of why they did something after they have done it.
- Passionately hold their opinions.
Egotistic or Narcissistic?
Being egotistic refers to one’s focus on themselves, their skills and talents, and minimizing others’ contributions and feelings. In one sentence, the egotist believes that others should focus on them – the definition of grandiosity. If they are criticized, they grow angry or defensive, according to SFHelp.
Narcissism means that the person is in love with themselves – “I adore myself,” where the egotistical person communicates that they feel they are better than others.
Narcissism is a personality disorder that develops after the person has suffered psychological damage resulting from abuse, trauma or neglect.