Man Stuff: How Not to Raise a Deluded Narcissist

Published on February 20, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 9.12.39 AMKeith Ablow- As I recently wrote, forces of technology and media are conspiring to deprive children, teenagers and young adults of their genuine feelings, intentions and empathy — essentially, making them trade in reality for logging into a Facebook fantasy of having hundreds or thousands of friends, launching a flurry of narcissistic Tweets about their comings and goings, playing at being pro athletes on Xbox and watching “reality TV” shows about people just like them, who are faking being real.

This prepares a whole generation to join our Entitlement Nation, where untold millions don’t believe in their genuine abilities anymore, and don’t even know how to go about finding them, because there is no GPS system that will map out a path to self-esteem and no app that tests your courage.

How can you avoid raising a citizen of Entitlement Nation, one of the deluded narcissists expecting to take home another “participation trophy” just for showing up to most of the tournament?

Resisting the drugs intoxicating our children is, of course, part of the formula.  Limiting their exposure to iPhones (which have nothing to do with the core “I” that matters, by the way), computer games, reality TV, Facebook and Twitter is no different than trying to limit their exposure to street drugs.  Because marijuana and Facebook have a lot in common: they both get users high by conveying them away from their real concerns — including who they really are as people.

One way to limit exposure is to insist on technology-free windows during the day — even if that starts with breakfast and dinnertime. But another way is to simply start verbalizing your beliefs that these forces are no friends of empowerment.

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