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How to deal with your child when it is mimicking you

by ines.wurbs@icloud.com

These are very difficult situations. When parents are already stressed, children tend to get even more excited. Some children have found that mimicking mostly annoys their parents, but we don’t have much to do about it. Here are a few tips on what to do when your child is copying you and you’re at your limit.

Is it normal for a child to mimic? Is aping a part of the defiance phase?

During the defiance phase, this behavior can be seen. The defiant phase lasts from about the age of 2 to about the age of 5. Kids have gained a lot of experience before they start school. Many of the projects they undertake better and on their own are now managed by them. This also gives them greater freedom.

The desire for freedom is gradually decreasing. The control of one’s own feelings is usually adapted to the situation and is becoming better and better. This means that our children are no longer confronted with their limits as often, and when they are, they can handle them better.

Children discover where the limits of others lie during this time. They test that on us parents. Copying has several important functions. This is how our children usually acquire their skills.

However, they also discover in kindergarten that imitation can be a kind of game. They play a game. And like games, limits are often tested. Our children learn that imitation is fun and usually causes a reaction from others.

Right away, this will be tested on mom and dad. Since this game world is often very far away from us, we often aren’t sure how to respond to it. Many parents don’t do anything at first. They finally react after it really annoyed them.

What to do if my child provokes me

But what can we, as parents, do when our children are imitating us, or we feel provoked in some other way?

  • Firstly, let’s remain calm
  • Know your limits in good time.
  • Are you looking for a dialogue with our children?
  • Make sure to say “stop” clearly.
  • Express clearly what concerns you. “This is very exhausting for me, and it also makes me slightly angry.”
  • Make it clear what we expect from them. “I want you to stop imitating me.”
  • Suggest another opportunity for your child. Something that requires a lot of concentration from your child is ideal.
  • Spend time with your child doing an activity. So, it still has your focus.
  • You can ask your child how his/her day went after he/she has calmed down. They may have had a bad day.
  • You can discuss it with your child and show understanding. Also consider what your child can do to deal with his frustration, like sports or dancing.
  • If your child is very hyper, I suggest engaging in calming activities. To calm down, you could read, listen to soothing music, cuddle, or play with toys. Lullabies or meditation CDs for children are especially calming.

What to do if my child doesn’t stop copying me or other

If your child is not listening to you, it is likely that they are feeling upset in some way. That’s why it’s important to prepare your child for the situation before bringing them into it. Below are some approaches that could help:

  • Make sure to establish eye contact with your child.
  • Perhaps you could also make physical contact (for example, by placing a hand on their shoulder)
  • A clear “Stop”
  • Make sure to explain the issue to your child clearly and directly.
  • Loud music, television, and other sources of noise should be turned off.
  • Prepare a place that is cozy.
  • Ask your child to take a seat, and do the same yourself.
  • If it doesn’t come, do it by yourself first.
  • Start with an activity that your child enjoys and that is quiet, such as reading a book, drawing, setting up figures, or sorting.
  • Start with well-known routines.
  • When your child gets up, try to pick them up.
  • Give your child a ball to squeeze.
  • It is important to get your child out of the current situation in order to give it the chance to calm down. This can be a change of location or room.
  • You should make it clear to your child that they have crossed boundaries.

Our children are not doing this with malicious intent. The need for attention and not the need to be bad is what sometimes it is. This won’t directly help us, but I hope it helps you remain calm. Which does not mean that it is more forgiving but still calm.

In such situations, we usually don’t get very far with threats. The situation usually escalates when our children are very excited. That’s why I always recommend taking time to relax. It is, of course, easier said than done. But in most cases, it’s the fastest way to help our children and spare our own nerves.

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