Children are our superheroes08 January 2019
Children are our superheroes
We have all encountered our little children develop great fascinations around superheroes – girls and boys alike. We’ve had Batman, Superman, Spiderman, the Hulk, and not to forget Mighty Mouse -well that’s long gone but he was my little superhero back in the day. It’s simply part of their pretend play, where they show a natural knack of exploring endless possibilities. But there is good sense in this type of play from the child’s perspective; it empowers them in other ways; their actions show that they happen in the context of their social surrounding and of social norms – testing boundaries, an empowered sense of control...and learning how to navigate the ‘higher powers’ and authority of parents, teachers, and the big adults who just don’t let them be. Superheroes are powers admired by young children – characters they aspire to be like.
But a concern we may all have is the extent to which our children obsess or become fascinated by these superheroes – keeping in mind that there is a good reason for them to have this fascination, we can nurture it in healthy ways.
1. Sure it’s possible to be a superhero! Don’t tell your children otherwise.
Remember, your children have limitless imagination…certainly more than us adults. But you can instill some of those superhero characteristics in your own child by encouraging them to take initiative, to be able to create, imagine, achieve and conquer. Not only does this allow them to be more confident, but this is also what helps them become more conscientious of the world around them, people, peers and all.
2. Help them distinguish and make sense of the prosocial behaviors of their favourite heroes.
Children at times are unable to make that clear distinction between the positive and negative messages exhibited through these super heroic acts. Sometimes negative acts lead to positive ‘heroic’ acts of doing good that your child may not clearly see. Since during the early years this is somewhat more abstract, it is important to distinguish between the ‘good’ and ‘bad for ‘good purpose’. It is really about breaking down the imaginary from the reality of the issue being tackled. For example, for younger children it might be important to emphasize the value of defending a friend but at the same time, drawing attention to the use of aggression or violence; through this, you can support and facilitate your child’s ability to recognize both the good and bad behavior of their super-duper hero.
3. Who is your child’s favourite hero?
There are no rules to who and why our children decide on their favourite superhero. Think openly about all this. Remember, these heroes have certain qualities that your child may admire. Before I go on, don’t lose sight of why children seek admiration of a superhero. Through this, your child is building their own self…taking in one quality at a time and imitating them. Your role in all this is to be aware of the following: 1. Who is your child’s favourite superhero? What are some of the characteristics that they would like to imitate or have? And finally, why? So find out who your child is and who they aspire to look like in terms of super-heroic characteristics.
4. Pay attention to that subconscious…and make it positive!
The subconscious is a mighty powerful part of our consciousness that is typically behind the scenes – not fully conscious but it’s actively there. So in the process of your child building their own self, there is that voice inside that says “you’re a superhero” or “you can’t do it” – this voice is quite powerful and can really impact the child’s conscious mind as one who CAN or one who CAN’T do it. So make sure you do not downplay the importance of their need to feel like a superhero or feel connected to one. You do not want your child to evolve into an adult eventually who often feels belittled by their mere ideas, initiatives etc…just nurture their positive subconscious for a healthy conscious. When talking to them, use the necessary language to empower their sense of confidence.
Mums! You are superheroes to your children as well. Put your cape on and keep walking with your child. Do not ever underestimate your child’s incredible endless abilities. With a positive mindset, you will build a positive subconscious for your child…with (your child’s) positive subconscious, you will watch your child achieve and conquer!
It’s good to be a superhero!