Is my son’s behaviour abnormal?
Q: My three years old son continuously copies his best friend's activities. If his friend falls during playing, he knowingly falls; if his friend coughs, he does the same. He repeats exactly the same activity, same words and same posture when he is with him. I am afraid that people around us will take my child as abnormal. We are very frustrated and don't know what to do. Please guide. He also obeys his friend obediently like a good follower. He also plays with other boys and some time he copies something, but not everything but copies his best friend exactly.
A:Children have a natural tendency to imitate others, especially others who are seen as more powerful and successful than them. A certain amount of modelling of peers is helpful in socialisation of the child.
In your child's case, there seems to be a marked effort to imitate one of his friends. Instead of bothering about what others will say, you need to understand why it is causing you concern. Do try to see objectively whether you are constantly criticising him or belittling him about the imitation or about his own behaviour. If you are doing so, you are lowering his self-esteem and confidence, which may cause further problems.
Children usually go through phases, and your son will most probably stop this imitation soon. You should definitely explain to him that it is not desirable. At the same time, try to boost his own morale by encouraging his original behaviour. Praise him when he does things on his own. Hopefully he will gradually stop imitating the friend.