Narcissists aren't born – they're made, says development psychologist Alison Gopnik. She takes issue with the popular notion that children need to unlearn brashness and learn civility, when neuroscience shows that it tends to work in the reverse.
Parents of a newborn baby no doubt look at the bundle in their arms and flash-forward to what their child might grow up to become. Will he or she be an economic genius like Warren Buffet? Or maybe an artistic visionary like David Bowie? What about their heart and mind – will they be happy and funny and kind? And then, somewhere on a lower rung of thought, there are all the fears you don’t let fully materialize: like will he or she grow up to hurt and spite others? What are the chances that they will take after that one sour, twisted relative in the family tree? Psychopaths and narcissists have parents too, some subterranean part of a parent's mind may worry.
Developmental psychologist Alison Gopnik has done more than just 'think of the children', she wrote a book – and it rules favorably for free play and the end of scholastic parenting.
You can structure a child’s day so they’re learning and being nourished by lessons that will skill them up for life, but the moment you take a breather and clock off might just be the moment your child learns the most.