Egocentric and Magical Thinking
What is egocentric thinking in young children?
Egocentric thinking is the normal tendency for a young child to see everything that happens as it relates to them. This is not selfishness. Young children are unable to understand different points of view. For example, a preschool child might sympathize with their parent and try to comfort them by offering a favorite toy or stuffed animal, reasoning that what helps the child feel better will also comfort the adult. Egocentric thinking also can cause a young child to feel responsible if something bad happens.
What is magical thinking in young children?
Magical thinking is a child's belief that what they wish for or expect can affect what really happens. For example, if a child wants very much for something to happen, and it does, the child believes they caused it to happen. If your child is mad at a friend and wants them to leave, and the friend then gets sick and goes to the hospital, your child may think the illness is your child's fault.
Current as of: August 3, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Louis Pellegrino MD - Developmental Pediatrics