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My six year-old son has gotten in the habit of copying his little sister. It feels like he is taking her behavior as cues to what is acceptable, but the act of copying itself (and usually amplification) pushes it over the line.

For example, yesterday my daughter was singing quietly in the car, and my son started singing the same song, but much louder, much faster, and with some stated "corrections." First of all, that's upsetting to my daughter to have her song hijacked. It's also quite annoying to everyone else in earshot, including being distracting to the driver.

He doesn't seem to understand why it was okay for his sister to sing, but not for him to copycat. Any ideas for helping him understand?

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I am sooo tempted to copy and paste your question as an answer... :) –  Beofett Jul 18 '13 at 17:04
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3 Answers

This is completely normally behavior at his age. I would explain that it using the golden rule. He wouldn't want her to interrupt him and start singing his song even louder than him, so he shouldn't do it to her.

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He's pretending not to understand. As a 6 yr old, he is absolutely capable of knowing exactly what he's doing.

Solution: Be Frank.

Dude, stop.

But she was singing why can't I sing?

Because she was singing it first and when you copy her it annoys everyone. Please stop copying your syster. It makes her holler and I don't want to hear it.

Emphasis intended.

You could then illustrate the point by copying him, perhaps even turn it into a snide mimic. He may laugh at first but within seconds it'll begin to be frustrating to him.

See? You don't like it, I don't like it, she doesn't like it. Please stop.

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I would say he is wanting the attention of his parents because maybe little sister is getting attention/ has gotten attention previously for singing, etc. any attention, even negative attention is coveted by children. My nephew did things like this because his little sister was being given lots of attention and he wanted a part of the action too, even though he didn't know how to go about it. Hope this helps. CM

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