(I'm sorry for the repost. I tried to edit the original for paragraph spacing and all the text disappeared, without giving me the option of reediting. So here it goes again.)
My 2.5 year old daughter gets very chatty when it's time for bed, and last night, after being tucked in, she said "I see the man," which initially just sounded a little creepy. After I asked what man she was seeing she said "the man without shirt or pants," which I then found absolutely terrifying.
I asked her some open questions and she said the man was from the jungle, that she trapped him because he was running away, that he chased animals, that she saw him in my mother-in-law's neighborhood, and that one of her friends from daycare (who has never been at my mother-in-law's) saw him too. From her tone, the details, and the way she progressed the story I believe it was entirely made up. I asked her if this was a made-up story and she said yes, but when we went over examples of real vs made-up stories it was clear that she still doesn't really grasp those concepts.
I still told her daycare teacher and my mom about it and asked if anybody had been there or if they had seen Tarzan or any character in a loincloth, which I assume is where she got it from, and they denied it. I'll also ask my mother-in-law about it when I see her this evening, but there is no chance anything would've happened there.
So I'm calm and certain that she's never really been around a "man without shirt or pants," but this isn't the first time that she has made up stories, and some of those stories have been about real people, usually her daycare friends, usually about them misbehaving. I'm worried she's going to get someone in trouble someday, or that she'll eventually have to report something real that people won't take seriously. I'm just planning to continue stressing that she can tell us anything she wants and keep working on the difference between real and made-up stories.
Has anybody else been scared by their kids' made up stories? How do you teach your toddlers about truth, stories, and lies?
pomegranate / 3127 posts
Oh my, figuring out truth from made up stories is so hard with kids. It's really frustrating. And sometimes the weirdest stories do come from something they saw on TV. Or in a book.
My youngest told me a few weeks ago that her day care group went to the beach. I'm pretty sure they do not take two year olds to the beach, and they've really never done any field trips to my knowledge. My oldest came home from a second day in a new school claiming he didn't eat anything all day. He's four and a little shy sometimes, so I thought he was scared to ask the lunch lady for food. A few hours later, he randomly goes: "I didn't eat anything all day... except for the cereal... and the milk... and the fries... and the sandwich thingy..." oookay?
pomegranate / 3375 posts
My 3.5 year old told us she had a friend named Coco ... he was a man wearing an "old time baseball uniform". When she told us this, she was about 2.75 years old, and as far as I knew, had no previous exposure to baseball (and I didn't think she knew the word "uniform").
She said he was in her room at night, and since our house was over 100 years old, I found this super creepy.
I'm interested to see if you get anymore info from your LO!!
clementine / 911 posts
My two year old makes up stories about what happened at daycare. Some are obviously made up, like saying that my parents or Anna and Elsa from Frozen visited daycare and took naps with her. Some I'm not so sure, like when she says she or another kid in her class were biting. (We've never gotten a report about our daughter biting, but other kids have bitten her, although not very often.) She'll also report seeing things out the car window that are obviously not there. At this age, she doesn't really understand the difference between real and imaginary yet but seems to have a good imagination.
In your case, I'd probably assume she saw a picture of Tarzan or another character like that somewhere, and she has a very active imagination.
pea / 11 posts
@Mama Bird: Those plausible stories are the hardest. You'd go talk to lunch lady/teachers and look like a crazy person.
@littlejoy: Eek! Those stories creep me out so much! My daughter hasn't mentioned "the man" again and we've been careful not to mention it around her, because I don't want to reinforce that particular story.
@krispi: She'll often say she sees castles and dragons outside the car window, and sometimes the dragon gets inside and she asks us to roll down the window so it can fly away. The toddler stage is my favorite yet, I find them so fun.
clementine / 854 posts
For months, our daughter, 2 at the time, would talk about the "green men" every time we would take a specific detour on the way home from daycare. Any time we went that way, we'd try to scope out what she was talking about.
Eventually, we realized there was some construction going on and she was referring to the bright yellow vests the workers wore. Their vivid imaginations combined with a still growing vocabulary can caused quite a bit of confusion!
honeydew / 7504 posts
My son is 4.5. For at least the last 1.5 years, probably closer to 2 years, he's been telling us these elaborate stories about his bay house. He has this bay house (so, like a house by a bay, I guess) where he lives sometimes. He works at the museum near the bay house. There are dinosaurs at his museum. And The Avengers. He one time stopped a battle between Thor and Hulk. He has cool movies at his bay house (like Cars 4 and Toy Story 7). It is a very very consistent story and he just continues to build on it.
pomegranate / 3375 posts
@HintofMint: We do that too!! We can't really ask our LO questions about sketchy topics, because she will either freak out or not stop talking about it, ever!!! When she was going through a "monster is in my room" phase, people told us to use monster spray ... but that would confirm that monsters are "real" to her, so we just had to say they aren't real, and move on quickly.
cherry / 156 posts
@littlebug - Same here! My 4.5 year old has been talking about his "house in Mexico" for at least two years! What color it is, what trucks he has there, animals, etc. The details always change but the same basis is always there. It cracks me up. It also makes me wonder how many people in our very small town think we have a vacation home.
pear / 1718 posts
@caitlanc: @littlejoy: my younger brother had a similar, consistent story. It wasn't about a house, but rather his "other parents". Their name was Dan and Jane. He'd talk about them frequently, non-chalantly and the facts would always remain the same. Always weirded me out, but to be fair, Dan was the main character in his favorite book and Jane was my mom's friend. As a kid I thought it was so funny he was just okay with having these other parents (that he clearly never saw!!).