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My son always (from age 4 to elementary school) had this weird love for being dressed in a dress shirt and a clip-on tie. He wants to wear it very often, both to more dressy occasions (parties etc..) but ALSO randomly when playing at home - even when playing ball, not just playing at having a party.

He got the idea from the costume he once wore for a preschool show.

But that show wasn't his favorite and thus I don't think it's transferring good feelings from the show to the attire.

It does not seem to be imitation (the father never wears ties to work, nobody he knows wears ties in even party situations, no kid acquaintances/friends wear ties).

What possible cause could there be for this?

6

It's going to be really hard to pin down a single cause, unless he can tell you himself (I assume you asked him already).

Ties represent authority and responsibility, particularly when worn in media, whether it is on the news or in a children's show. He may have seen people wearing ties on TV and decided that that was pretty cool.

He may simply find them ridiculous looking (I know I do, especially when I'm the one wearing it!), and thus find it fun to wear.

It also may be as simple as perhaps he received a compliment or two when dressed for the preschool show, and liked it enough that he decided he likes ties.

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    The last point about receiving compliments was where I was thinking. When I was a kid, I liked "dressing up" for no apparent reason just because it drew attention and people tended to compliment me - I looked nice and it was fun to have people wonder why I was dressed up. – Doc Jun 6 '14 at 14:26
  • Hm. #1 is a good theory! It won't fit here (he doesn't ever watch any media where ties would represent that), but definitely a possible explanation! The #2 compliment thing sounds quite plausible, thanks! – user3143 Jun 6 '14 at 15:41
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    @DVK What, no Dr. Who?!? Bow ties are cool! Seriously, though, if he watches any amount of TV, you might be surprised how often that cultural stereotype may slip in. Even commercials and kid's cartoons. The father, dressed for work at the breakfast table. The boss behind the desk. The lawyer. – user420 Jun 6 '14 at 15:57
  • @Beofett - I never watched Dr. Who. I'll go hide in the corner now. – user3143 Jun 6 '14 at 15:58
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    @DVK /SPEECHLESS! – user420 Jun 6 '14 at 15:59
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Something I've noticed with my kids is that young children are repeaters. They watch the same episodes on Netflixs over and over again. They play the same games over again and the same toys over again.

They want to always wear their favorite PJs, and to always have their favorite teddy bear.

For them this repeating helps define the constants in their world. The consistency helps give them a sense of stability.

Your son has found something he likes and he wants to keep repeating it. Trying to understand why he likes it might be as difficult as an adult trying to understand Pokemon.

The common factor is children like to repeat things they enjoy, and they are capable of repeating them far beyond what an adult could tolerate. For example; I could not watch my favorite movies as many times as my daughter has watched Wall-e.

So what might seem like excess to you is feels perfectly normal to the child, and he does it simply because he likes it.

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