Questions and Concerns about Imaginary Friends

4 min read
Questions and Concerns about Imaginary Friends

Does your child have an imaginary friend? If so, there is nothing to worry about. An imaginary friend is an important part of your child’s life and thus should be an important part of your life as well. Even so, you most likely still have some questions about this new fixture in your child’s life. Below are some FAQ’s about imaginary friends to help ease your mind.

What is an imaginary friend?

An imaginary friend is a make believe person in your child’s life. He could have one best friend that doesn’t exist or he could have a whole group of different imaginary friends that follow him around, eat dinner with him, go to sleep with him or come and go throughout the day. An imaginary friend could stem from a television show or a book or it could come out of your child’s imagination.

When does an imaginary friend develop?

Children as young as 2 and a half can develop imaginary friends and they last for around three years or less. However, imaginary friends are more common in three and four year olds.

Questions and Concerns about Imaginary Friends | Stay At Home MumWhy does your child need an imaginary friend?

Just because your child has an imaginary friend doesn’t mean that he is having troubles at making real friends or that he feels disconnected from reality. Research has actually indicated that children with imaginary friends are actually more social and less shy. An imaginary friend is the perfect play mate for a child because he will do exactly what your child says. He will listen and support your child; he will play whatever game your child wants to play and he will be bossed around without a whimper.

How do I handle an imaginary friend?

It is important that you respect your child’s friend. Listen to what his friend likes and dislikes as this can give you a better understanding of your own child. If your child’s friend is afraid of going to school, then it is more than likely that your child is too. If his friend is coming to dinner, then set an extra place. Over time get your child involved in doing things for his friend, such as setting the table and making the bed for his friend.

Making your child responsible for his imaginary friend is a good way to teach your child about responsibility. Many children will use their imaginary friend to take the blame so that they do not get in trouble. For example, if your child has drawn all over the walls and has blamed his friend, then tell him that he needs to help his friend clean it up.

When Should I Be Concerned?

Children grow out of stages at different rates and your child may still have his imaginary friend when he is six, seven or even eight years old. As long as your child is socializing with other children and seems generally happy then there is nothing to be concerned about. However, if your child is reverting to his friend and prefers to live in the imaginary world he has created, then encourage him to step outside this comfortable place and into reality.

Try to remember what it was like when you were four years old and learning about the world around you. It’s a very confusing time for all children and having someone to rely on, to trust in and to talk to when you are feeling confused and lost can definitely help. Just because your child has an imaginary friend doesn’t mean he feels he cannot relate to you or to other people it simply means he is exploring his world in a creative and independent way.



About Author

Kate Carlile

Kate brings sexy back to the office as our Administration Manager and all-round most loveliest lady in the world. She is super Mum to four and the SAH...Read MoreM office would literally fall apart without her. Her dream is to colour the world purple whilst travelling around it in a lavender Winnebago! Read Less

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