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Why Superhero Worship is Beneficial

Spider-Man. The Incredibles. Wonder Woman. A lot of kids love imitating these mighty superheroes, battling the bad guys and flexing their superpowers. You, however, may be less than thrilled about the idea -- the running, the jumping, the fighting. "But from a psychological standpoint, superhero worship can be beneficial," says Jeff Greenberg, Ph.D., a professor of social psychology at the University of Arizona. "Kids are pretty powerless and vulnerable, so pretending they're superheroes is one way for them to gain a sense of confidence and competence in a positive way." Think of it this way: We all want to feel like we're doing good in the world, but 6-year-olds don't necessarily understand how a doctor, scientist, or lawyer can have an important impact. The concepts of their work don't resonate very well yet. A superhero, however, can hold up a building and save hundreds of people! Now that a kid can understand. And rest assured, the whole superhero thing is a phase that will pass as your child gets older and begins to find other ways to nurture his confidence. "But for now," says Greenberg, "I say let him pretend. What parent doesn't want a creative, accomplished-feeling kid?" We couldn't agree more.

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