It can be cute and it can be heartwarming. It can create memorable pictures from childhood, such as this photo of me as a little boy dressing up in my father’s business clothes.
But it’s dangerous, too, because a parent with narcissistic tendencies is going to jump at this pint-sized hero worship — and create serious psychological issues for the child and the family.
Since I started studying narcissistic personality disorder 10 years ago, I’ve learned that one of the most important jobs of any parent is teaching his children that each child is an individual with separate worth and personality, not an extension of the parent who must mirror and mimic whatever the parent happens to be.
My father never learned that — and his children paid the price in the decades to come. It’s not a mistake I’ll make with my own children.