Children come out with some things don’t they?
They will complain they are bored, say “It’s not fair!” and ask “Are we nearly there yet?”
They don’t stop asking “Why?”, they never want to go to bed and they are always hungry.
They will protest that adults never let them do anything, they say “I don’t like it” and they want, want, want.
Ask them to do something and their response is “In a minute”, “But you said..”, “Can you do it?” or “I hate you!”
But there is something that all children do without exception and it’s exactly the same thing that adults do – they lie.
Children and adults are pretty good at feigning ignorance (playing dumb) and feigning innocence when they have done something wrong. How many times have you heard, “I don’t know who’s done it?!” or “It wasn’t me. He started it!”?
If you are a teacher then you will be used to hearing children claiming they weren’t responsible for damaging, spilling or hurting something or someone. They’ll pretend to be totally unaware and in the dark or they will waste no time at all and point the finger at someone or something else.
Blaming someone else for their behaviour is a tactic children deploy because they experience success with it. They might not always fool others but sometimes pulling the wool over someone’s eyes really works.
In fact, children are pretty clever at this. They realise that they have power to manipulate the person confronting their behaviour into having doubts about the legitimacy of the issue they’re trying to bring to the other person’s attention.
Sometimes children won’t blame a real person but an imaginary friend. Who this imaginary friend is depends and Moriguchi and Todo (2017) found there are social‐cultural differences. Their research in Japan showed the prevalence of the invisible friend was relatively rare but the personified object was prevalent in Japanese children.
Take a look at the book I created all about a little girl called Maisy and her friend Dottie. It’s funny how she always seems to be the one that’s up to no good. Available from Millgate House Education and only £4.99
Imaginary companions are a healthy part of growing up and pretend play. A recent study of UK parents found that there are at least a million imaginary companions out there!
The one million imaginary friends in the UK are a diverse crowd. From humans, to animals and mythical beings of all shapes and sizes, the varied forms imaginary friends take show that imagination in today’s young children is alive and well.