In School & Play: How Can You Ensure Your Kids’ Healthy Development?

I don’t have children, but I’m a science person, a lover, a lifelong learner, and an observer. I had to develop my critical thinking skills to the highest levels after having almost killed myself following a horrible malignant narcissist’s abuse so that I could easily spot manipulators even the most brilliant of them who could even be internationally recognized as “helpers”.

Please educate yourself around the art of manipulation

Unfortunately, many of those puppet-masters belong to the educational system directly or indirectly through driving “empowering” programs and are impacting the sanity of your kids. Let me give you an example:

I once listened to a podcast discussing some common challenges observed at schools, and how to guide teachers in both understanding and managing them. One of the two guests was talking about a safe place for kids, and then about formal authority! Making use of this kind of authority or encouraging it is a Win-Lose paradigm and one of the most common patterns between narcissistic personalities.

A rule to always keep in mind in such a context is: even when it comes to the most intelligent manipulators, they talk about what they believe deep inside despite doing their best to hide their ugly truth through their different strategies.

The person was promoting ‘safety’ and then ‘talking’ fear. Do you really think people follow others because they are afraid of them? This is exactly the root cause of so many mental and psychological health problems! People are rather following who they trust. Can we trust with fear? Hell no!

We trust trustworthy people: those who are principle-centered and modelling their talk; those who make consistent deposits to elevate the ‘Emotional Bank Account’ as Stephen Covey liked to call it; those who are able of building healthy relationships fueled by ‘love’ instead of fear. Those servant leaders are genuinely inspiring people around them, but definitely not through formal authority. Rather through compassion and their moral authority!

The major problem which could occur is that– without being able to pay attention to before it is too late– many manipulators could be sadly confused with kind-hearted leaders. How come? They are masters at ‘psychological mirroring’.

When someone mirrors us, they are doing a range of things. They may mimic us, emulate us, be interested in us, share our interest, point out our strengths, gently point out our weaknesses, and simply reflect us back. Healthy mirroring involves a person who sees us accurately, and who allows us to see them as well. It is safe; it is reciprocal; it is honest; it is kind. Having this sort of holistic mirroring leaves us feeling safe. Narcissistic mirroring is a whole other game. The process is less about seeing you in some meaningful way than it is about data gathering.

~Dr. Ramani Durvasula

What is that supposed to mean? Those narcissists can not only mirror real servant leaders and practice their outlook but also give anybody they are interacting with the impression of being seen and listened to through their ‘false’ empathy. More to the point, if we did not learn to question anything including our own thoughts, chances are high to be fooled by manipulative individuals.

This applies to adults; needless to talk about kids who are still building their identity and craving others to get them! When kids open up to manipulators, it makes them victim to future gaslighting and invalidation. This is called ‘psychological abuse’, and it takes a toll on your kids’ sanity.

To come back to the podcast, the person gave an example about an emergency happening in an airplane to support her idea about the students’ need for a ‘strong’ teacher who does not have to be their friend; rather their savior in critical situations through the formal authority. This is specifically the narcissists’ limiting belief you need to spot!

Interestingly, servant leaders are the most resilient individuals in the room. Consequently, they are always taking the right and quickest resolution in dangerous situations. And people would follow them in any decision they take even when it sounds nonsense. Why? Because they know how much their leaders care!

Moral of the story: to all the parents in the world, I am aware of how much work you are already putting in protecting your kids from any physical harm. I know you are doing your best – sometimes even at your expense – to grant them access to the most prestigious schools in terms of academic results. What I am suggesting here is that protecting their mental and psychological health is equally important – if not more! Thus, I am gently inviting you to educate yourself around narcissism and manipulation in general and to make sure you check with your kid (s) what happens during their day in detail.


Myriam Ben Salem
Myriam Ben Salem
I am deeply passionate about everything life has to offer. Writing has been my very favorite means to educate my audience, captivate their attention, talk to their emotions, and make them relate and take action. I have been honored by working as a columnist for BIZCATALYST 360°, an Award-Winning life, culture, and biz new media digest, serving as the global hub for enhanced performance and well-being, during 2020. Also, I am a contributing author in Mayhem to Miracles: True Stories of Courage, Triumph, and Peace. I am so in love with writing that I have a peaceful smile drawn on my face whenever I start visualizing the books I will be writing for whoever will be tempted to discover an inclusive philosophy breaking with all the stigmas! I was born in Tunisia, a small country in North Africa. I did pretty much everything earlier than the average: walking, talking, singing, dancing. Promoted throughout my entire education, I was also the leader of every end-of-year party. At some point, after working several years for multinational companies as an engineer, team leader, project coordinator, and product owner while always being a top performer, I figured out I was feeling miserable despite the 'perfect external image'. That marked the starting point of an existential crisis followed by an episode that triggered my re-birth and the beginning of the most rewarding adventure of my whole existence: re-writing my subconscious program and reconnecting with my true self. I was saved at the last moment through an out-of-body experience making me see all the lies, realize this gigantic Universe was not revolving around me. Most importantly, I was able to visualize I was here to leave a legacy like all of you, no matter how big or small! The butterfly took time to emerge though. Today, I identify myself as a Universal Citizen. Like-minded and light-hearted people are what I call home. I am deeply passionate about everything life has to offer, and was granted the edutainer qualifier: a combination between education and entertainment! I educate on the importance of healing unsuspected traumas, seeing our limiting beliefs and biases with honest lenses, finding one's purpose and a principled mission that goes beyond the self, and unleashing the hidden potential so that to leave our legacy for the generations unborn. I have been using a panoply of means that could vary from explicit ones such as mentorship, speaking, and writing, a skill that emerged naturally during my self-actualization process to implicit mediums like storytelling, how I daily show up in the world and model servant leadership! Writing is my very favorite and most preferred tool deployed for my mission. The topics I explore are in the nexus of stoic philosophy, psychology, neuroplasticity, epigenetics, and pretty much any topic involving human behavior. Common denominator? The quality of the subconscious program. You may have a look at some of my works published on my website; Set Yourself Free.

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  1. Myriam I am completely aligned with taking an active part in our children’s lives. I was told when I was casually talking to my high school students one day, that, “you are a strict parent,” because (I) monitored what my kids watched on t.v. and wouldn’t let them watch or buy certain movies.

    When my now adult son, was a teenager, bought (with his own money) video games containing violence and bad teaching, I took the games and threw them in the garbage.

    I told him I didn’t want that garbage in my house and that it affected him negatively. Today he is a parent, and I think he knows I did it out of love for him.

    Great article Myriam.

    • Wohohooooooo wasn’t aware you were a grandma 🤩🤩🤩

      I trust you did and are still doing your best with your kids my beloved friend!

      Thank you so much for never stopping supporting the right causes! I appreciate you so much 🤗💙🤗