Gathering reliable information from CSS is a significant challenge, and here, both the method and the context should be considered. CSS often develop a strong ability to tell stories as a survival strategy, as a means to earn money, sell flowers, hide identity for safety among other concerns. They frequently life about their ages, family backgrounds, reasons for being on the streets, and their current situations. For these children, presenting themselves in certain ways is a crucial part of their survival skills, similar to those used by nomadic entertainers who manipulate their audiences because of professional needs.
One example is a boy who gave conflicting reasons for being in a state reformatory: to one person, he said it was due to his father’s abuse, and to another, he claimed it was because he was abandoned. The researchers also reported observing three siblings who changed their behaviour from playing happily to acting as if they were starving and abandoned when they saw a potential benefactor, despite their mother being nearby.
These children manipulate information for several reasons. It’s not just about survival; it’s also a way for them to respond to a society that often ignores or devalues them. By altering their stories, they exert some control over their environment and the perceptions of those around them.
Understanding the real context/s behind their life situations is difficult due to these layers of misinformation. Recognizing complexity and adaptability of these children is essential. Here the role of theories cannot be more important.