My 3-year-old son imitates his friend of the same age, copying all her gestures and actions. — Why does he mimic her in this way and how can we put a stop to it?
Caroline Khanafer, psychologist. Imitation and identification enable your child to build his personality and find his bearings outside the home. At 3, he’s learning to forge relationships; he’s also expected to be a little more independent. Sometimes, in order to move forward, it’s simpler to do the same as somebody else, to gain confidence, before discovering things for oneself. Imitating someone also makes him wonder about what he himself wants to do (What do I like doing?) and encourages his desire to be part of a group. But when not being with his friend, or being refused the same toy as her, upsets him, then a parent should step in and tell the child: “There are also things that you like doing and you can share them with your playmate or show her your favourite games.”