When witnessing a parent with narcissistic tendencies attempt to parent, the dissociation between authentic parenting and the version the narcissist portrays becomes apparent.
Like most endeavors in a narcissist’s life, the behaviors in relation to context is “off”.
Narcissists can “love” their children. Narcissists can NOT love all of their children, or their child, equally and consistently. One or more child, in any given moment, will be the “golden child” while the other child(ren) will be relegated the role of scapegoat.
Narcissists can “discipline”. Narcissists can NOT discipline with appropriate context. Behaviors that should be reprimanded are instead encouraged or ignored. Behaviors that are part of a child being a child or being his or her own person are attacked and punished.
Narcissists can “relate” to their children. Narcissists can NOT relate to their children as if the children are separate individuals from the narcissists. The child serves as extended projection of the narcissist, and in the narcissist’s mind- no boundary may exist between them.
Narcissists can “take care of” their children. Narcissists can NOT take care of their children in a manner that meets the child’s authentic needs beyond the physical level. Once you move beyond shelter, food, clothing, school supplies, the narcissist has no ability to relate to, let alone take care of, the emotional, social needs of a child.
Narcissists can “play” with their children. Narcissists can NOT exist in the child’s true reality. Narcissists play-act all their roles in lives. When you “play-act” as a parent, you have not space to really be a parent.
Narcissists can “teach” their children. Narcissists can NOT teach their children to interact with the world beyond one’s self. For the narcissist, the sphere of life begins and ends at their personal borders. They have no ability to interact beyond these self-imposed, limited perimeters. Thus, they have no ability to teach their children to engage with the world effectively beyond self.
Narcissists can “help” their children. Narcissists can NOT help the child develop into his or her own true self- the goal of any parent. As narcissists can not see beyond “self”, they have no ability to help a child integrate their own sense of self. The narcissists simply controls the child for the narcissist’s self-serving needs.
Narcissistic parenting is reduced to a few key ides- the Narcissist play-acting in the role as parent in order to get his or her own needs fulfilled. Hardly the definition of a true parent.