The golden child syndrome is a real phenomenon, and it can have a significant impact on the family dynamic.
There are situations in which parents are unable to produce an atmosphere in which their children may flourish, grow from their mistakes, and have sufficient self-assurance in the decisions they make. This may frequently result in a multitude of problems, some of the most common of which are poor self-esteem, anxiety, and depression.
Although it is unhelpful to be informed that you are not good enough, being told the reverse may not always be an improvement. The concept that a kid is the “chosen one” in their family to be flawless at all times and to never make a mistake is referred to as the “golden child syndrome.” This is one of the most detrimental things that may happen to a child’s mental health throughout their development.
We will talk about what it is, how to identify it, and what effects it can have on the family dynamic. If you have a golden child in your life, or if you think you might be one yourself, then this article is for you!
So, What Exactly Is The Golden Child Syndrome?
You probably already are aware, at this point in time, that the manner in which you were brought up may have a considerable impact, both positively and negatively, on how you interact with the wider world. And when you were younger, you frequently sought the acceptance and attention of your parents so that you might have a sense of security.
A golden child is frequently the result of being raised in a “faulty” family dynamic in which the child is expected to be very good at everything, never make mistakes, and feel highly obligated to meet the aspirations of their parents. In this scenario, the child is referred to as “golden” because they meet all of these expectations.
To be explicit, a golden kid is considered accountable for the family’s success. They are valued and cherished by their parents, which inspires them, in some sense, to do even better in whatever it is that they are engaged in. A golden kid is someone who serves as a model for others to emulate.
Even the golden kid’s siblings are judged against them in order to maintain a constant level of pressure on their performance; this is done to guarantee that the golden child and his or her siblings do not fall short in terms of their exemplary conduct and achievements.
Someone with golden child syndrome is generally raised by narcissistic parents that are authoritarian and exhibit a strong need for control over their children’s lives. These youngsters are unlikely to feel comfortable enough to express their own thoughts or go against the rules that are enforced in the family since their parents are so authoritarian in their parenting style.
Their sole objective in life is to satisfy their parents’ wants and gain prosperity, recognition, and celebrity for their family from outsiders. Parents consider them an asset to the family and always make them look superior in front of others. The parents instill discipline and action in their child and coerce him or her to comply with the parent’s wishes. Even if they do not want to, the youngster will comply with the requests made by their parents because they feel obligated to do so.
Traits Of A Narcissistic Parent
In most cases, narcissistic parents have an overly possessive and exclusive relationship with their children, and they feel threatened if their children take steps toward more independence. This leads to a pattern of narcissistic attachment, in which the parent believes that the child’s main purpose in life is to cater to the parent’s desires and gratify the parent’s requirements.
Threats and emotional abuse are common tactics used by narcissistic parents who seek power and control over their offspring. The psychological development of children is negatively impacted by narcissistic parenting, which in turn has an effect on the children’s ability to reason as well as their emotional, ethical, and social actions and attitudes.
When it comes to shaping and influencing a kid to meet the parent’s expectations, it is common practice to disrespect the child’s own boundaries in the process.
What Are The Characteristics Of Golden Child Syndrome?
Fear Of Failure
Because these youngsters strive for perfection all the time, beginning at such a young age, there may be a fear of falling short of those expectations. Golden children will experience a great deal of self-directed frustration if they are unable to live up to the impossible standards they have set for themselves.
Often Required To Grow Up Faster
Golden children are typically the ones who wind up being forced to take on more responsibilities at an early age in life. This can involve acquiring a job sooner than their siblings and deciding to pitch in with the household chores and financial obligations associated with maintaining the family home. They could also avoid things that they believe to be infantile and instead pursue interests that are more productive.
Golden children are often parentified and are responsible for helping to raise other children. The vast majority of the time, their parents behave as though they are legally entitled to these behaviors, and the kid is conditioned not to disagree.
An Overpowering Desire To Be Liked By Everyone
The intense desire to please one’s parents and/or other people in positions of power is one of the primary indicators of golden child syndrome. They go to great lengths in order to placate their parents and meet all of their requirements in this regard. Because they believe that this is the only way for them to earn their parents’ affection, they frequently comply with the unreasonable demands made by their parents.
They Engage In Constructive Pastimes
The golden child is not interested in watching or playing video games or watching television shows. They like devoting their time and energy to activities that are both really exciting and productive since this affords them the opportunity to develop personally.
They find that hobbies such as reading books, becoming involved in sports, playing an instrument, painting, or engaging in creative activities are better expenditures of their time.
They Are Very Sociable
This kid is the loudest of the bunch and the one who commands the most attention. At a home party, everyone is looking at them and talking about them. Everyone else in their group of friends, including the younger youngsters, looks up to him or her.
They frequently possess strong communication abilities and the ability to persuade others, despite the fact that they lack credibility in their own statements. They also have a natural talent for sports and games that may be played outside.
Disordered Boundaries And No Sense Of Self
There are many golden children who may not have any aspirations of their own since the dreams that they are required to live up to may have been passed down from their parents. The adults in the child’s life consistently cross any healthy boundaries that should be in place by making the child’s life revolve around their own emotions and wishes, which is a violation of any healthy barrier that should be in place.
Is It Possible That Golden Child Syndrome Can Develop Narcissistic Tendencies?
It is contingent on the child’s level of determination, but in some cases, the answer is yes. The golden child is being groomed to become a carbon copy of his or her parents in every way. They are provided and exposed to the worldview of the damaged parents, and while they are receiving all or most of the attention, they absorb emotional harm along with it. They are also given and shown the worldview of the damaged parents.
What Is A Scapegoat Child?
Narcissistic parents view their children as extensions of themselves, and the scapegoat child represents everything in their lives that the narcissistic parents find unappealing. A scapegoat kid is a child who is chosen by a narcissistic family to carry the burden of everything that the narcissistic parents don’t like about themselves. This child is given the title of “scapegoat child.”
Having a child who may serve as a scapegoat is not just a method for exercising control but also for using scapegoating as a tactic, which is frequently disguised as necessary punishment.
It is typical practice to make this observation by drawing a contrast to the family’s favorite kid, saying something along the lines of “If you were like your sister, you wouldn’t have done this or you would’ve done that.” This further encourages the golden kid to find ways to win over their parents’ favor.
However, there are many who believe that it is preferable to have been the scapegoat rather than the golden child since it results in slightly less psychological harm, despite the fact that it is still not a walk in the park to go through the experience.
The scapegoat often emerges from the experience with their own identity and a sense of reality that allows them to connect with others, but the golden child has a difficult time discovering who they are as a person. Although the effects of trauma are entirely internal and vary from person to person.
Can You Overcome Golden Child Syndrome?
The term “golden child syndrome” may give the impression that its sufferers are doomed to lead disordered lives, although this is not necessarily the case. The term “golden child syndrome” may have a negative connotation, but this is not always the case. You can get over being the golden child if you practice some self-care and put in some purposeful effort, just like you can get over most other things.
You need to come to terms with your golden child syndrome in order to begin the healing process. Recognize the proud and honorable qualities that reside in the most obscure parts of your being. You need to make peace with the narcissist in you in order to heal from the inside out.
Therapy may be an essential component in the process of overcoming golden child syndrome. Because the golden child is raised in such a distorted and poisonous world, they require a secure and safe environment in which to process and heal through the trauma they have suffered during their childhood.
You should also give some thought to establishing limits and boundaries in your life. When it comes to boundaries, being the golden kid may be really challenging. They either devote an insufficient amount of energy to the more positive aspects of life or they overcommit themselves to the more destructive aspects. Therapy can be helpful in developing the skill of learning to say no, which is a skill that can be cultivated.
In conclusion, it is essential to learn how to control feelings of shame and cultivate self-compassion. The emotion of shame is at the root of compulsive people-pleasing and perfectionism.
It is thought that if one works more or takes on additional responsibilities, the humiliation would go. On the other hand, this seldom ever occurs. It’s the same idea as an addict satisfying a need by taking more of the substance. More people-pleasing or perfectionism relieves shame for a moment, but it just leads to more shame when the output is perceived as not being good enough, which then leads to more perfectionism and people-pleasing.
This cycle continues until the shame is eliminated. The ultimate objective of rehabilitation may be to acquire the skills necessary to break this pattern and to intervene by placing a higher value on one’s own time, feelings, and self-care.
When a family has a healthy structure, the parents have a healthy sense of self-confidence and offer their children a positive and nurturing atmosphere to foster their growth in all aspects of their being. These parents are able to strike a balance between the competing demands of exerting authority over their children and encouraging independence in them.
It is important to note that just though you exhibit some of the traits associated with golden children does not always indicate that you are one of them. It does not necessarily indicate that your parents were awful narcissists who were quite harsh on you. It also does not always imply that you will always have a difficult time in your adult life.
If you are worried about it, though, it could be worthwhile to examine it in further detail with a trained expert. While you are doing this, it is important to keep in mind that your personality is not fixed and that your prior traumatic experiences do not define who you are. Even if you did not intentionally inflict these wounds on yourself, you are going to have to take care of them by yourself. Be kind to yourself as you work through this process of healing.