In psychology, what is infantile omnipotence?

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kipling2448 | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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“Infantile omnipotence” or, what Freud referred to as “infantile narcissism” and “infantile ego,” refers to the greatly exaggerated sense of self-importance that many very young children develop from the natural tendency to be “the center of their universe.”  Because, for most babies and toddlers, they are the center of attention and their every need addressed – and addressed promptly – as they get a little older they believe that they are all-powerful and that the rest of humanity exists to serve them.  While cute in infants or toddlers, however, infantile omnipotence can develop into narcissism if left unchecked.  That is why it is important for parents to try and condition their young children to view themselves as members of a team with responsibilities.  The more children are taught that they are responsible for certain age-appropriate tasks, the more they learn that they are expected to coexist with the rest of humanity on equal terms and carry their share of the load.  It admittedly becomes a fine line sometimes between allowing for and encouraging grand ambitions and keeping children grounded, but that is one of the reasons parenting is difficult, if always rewarding.  Parents want their children to feel loved and even special; they usually do not, however, want them to feel like the world owes them.

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