Imaginary Friends: Are They Normal?
For many parents, it can be a cause for alarm if their child suddenly starts talking to a someone who isn’t there. They wonder if their child is lonely, disturbed, or in some rare cases in Pakistan, even possessed. So let’s discuss the phenomenon of an imaginary friend a bit and determine whether or not this is normal, and what’s the best way to respond to this.
Why do kids have imaginary friends?
It is actually quite common for kids around the pre-school age to have imaginary friends. This could be an animal, a person, or any sort of creature they might have creatively imagined. More often than not, this happens not because your child is lonely. It is usually because they’re learning to understand the concept of different human perspectives. And having an imaginary friend helps them explore that. They know this is a pretend game just like they pretend to play doctor or teacher!
How should you respond?
Usually it’s a good idea to just play along with your child’s game. It’s best to interact with the friend through your child to aid development of their social skills and help them feel part of the game. if your child does something wrong and blames it on their imaginary friend, use that as an opportunity to reinforce rules. Tell your child to tell their imaginary friend that such behavior is wrong and will not be entertained.
Will my child grow out of it?
Like any other game, your child will eventually get bored of having an imaginary friend. They will move on to something new. Most children outgrow such games as they get older. And your child will too! So there is nothing to worry about.
I’m sure a lot of adults remember having an imaginary friend or two when they were kids. It’s perfectly normal and a healthy part of development.