Why Do Children Love Superheroes?
Even as adults, we often find the world to be a scary place. For children…it can be daunting. By believing there is someone with the power to protect and rescue them in times of need; children are able to cope. They imagine superheroes, who can appear at a moment’s notice; providing them with a sense of security and hope.
In reality, however, children live in an adult world. They are expected to follow rules set for them by adults. There is no doubt that they are little and vulnerable, both physically and emotionally; and that they need guidance, and protection from that which is not yet familiar. Unfortunately, there are few decision making opportunities in which they are invited to participate. This deprives them of the sense that they have control over their own lives, and limits their opportunity to practice decision making.
When children pretend to be superheroes, they have the chance to experience what it “feels like” to have some control over the world around them. As a superhero, a child can conquer the “bad” guys, feel powerful, and experience what it is like to be viewed as the “good guy.” Pretending to be a superhero allows a child to overcome obstacles, and create his or her own identity, regardless of how he or she might be labeled by others.
When children role play, they imagine being capable of protecting others, as well as themselves. Through pretend play, they begin to internalize what it feels like to be “powerful,” and as a result, ultimately become empowered with the confidence needed to take risks, and face the unknown. Confidence: Can You Really ‘Fake it ’til you make it’?
Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning. – Fred Rogers