Basking in Reflected Glory -Ashley Chambers

There are behavioral aspects of the self that are executed in a manner to defend, preserve, and enhance our positive self view. One of these behavioral strategies is basking in reflected glory. This behavioral strategy relates to how we identify and associate ourselves with relevant groups. People tend to leech on to groups that are doing successfully (and thus claiming some success for themselves) and tend to distance themselves from failing groups (to avoid attachment to that failure.

My personal encounter with this subject is largely my experience in my family growing up. Each of my siblings exemplify high achievement in different areas, partially to gain attention from our parents. My mother and father had a tendency to utilize the ‘basking in reflected glory’ strategy with their children–highlighting, focusing, and bragging about achievements and ignoring if failing or even just not succeeding. They would highly associate themselves with a child if she was particularly succeeding at the time (focusing in on how their parenting led to that success). But, in moments of failure or below average performance, they would distance themselves from that sibling and voice their dislike for her ‘independence’ or ‘stubbornness’. I am sure all parents do this to some degree, but there was a particularly strong presence of this behavioral strategy in my home growing up.

My parents association/distancing strategies with succeeding/failing children is a clear illustration of the ‘basking in reflected glory’ concept. Their defensive strategy preserved their positive views of both themselves alone and their roles as parents. Thus they enhanced and defended their self concepts. By separating oneself from failure of a child, a parent can attribute blame to that child. But when the child succeeds, they will be more likely to leech onto that success and partially attribute it to themselves.

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