Home > Health Library > Egocentric and Magical Thinking
Egocentric thinking is the normal tendency for a young child to see
everything that happens as it relates to him- or herself. This is not
selfishness. Young children are unable to understand different points of view.
For example, a preschool child might sympathize with his or her father and try
to comfort him 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
Magical thinking is a child's belief that what he or she wishes or
expects can affect what really happens. For example, if a child wants very much
for something to happen, and it does, the child believes he or she caused it to
happen. If your daughter is mad at her brother and wants him to leave, and he
then gets sick and goes to the hospital, your daughter may think her brother's
illness is her fault.
February 22, 2013
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
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