Imaginary Friends: When the child prefers to play with imaginary friends

If your child has imaginary friends, don’t panic. In most cases, it even brings undreamt-of advantages. In the following article you will find out how you can deal with the situation with your child and his imaginary friend and what the background is.

This is how imaginary friends are made

While it used to be assumed that children with imaginary friends had problems, that they were ill or that something was wrong with them, pediatricians and psychologists now have the opposite opinion. But how and when do these invisible companions actually arise?

  • Imaginary friends are particularly common among only children .
  • They appear in a wide variety of situations. This particularly includes transitional situations, such as the birth of a new sibling or the processing of negative situations.
  • They appear between the ages of 3 and 5 and eventually go away on their own.
  • Imaginary friends are often the same age and gender as the child.
  • They are not necessarily human,  but can also be animals or fantasy figures.

That’s why kids have imaginary friends

While it may not be obvious to adults why a child has an imaginary friend, there are many reasons children talk to their invisible friend.

  • Children try to master stressful situations and control their feelings through their friends.
  • The imaginary friend often acts as the child’s protector and supporter.
  • Children also use their friend to formulate their own wishes. For example, if the child doesn’t want to go to bed or doesn’t like to eat vegetables, then the child will express this through their friend by saying that they don’t want that. 
  • The invisible friend is also used to express pain and sorrow that your child would otherwise not talk about.
  • Only in rare cases does the imaginary friend point to behavioral disorders or psychological problems in the child. This is the case, for example, when the child changes a lot and blames behaviors such as aggressiveness and bad behavior on the friend.
  • Children process a lot through play. So talking and playing with an imaginary friend can be seen as self-therapy and development.

Tips for parents in dealing with the imaginary friend

If you are still worried that your child’s invisible friend is not normal or you do not know how to deal with your child and their friend, here are some tips for you.

  • If your child has an imaginary friend, then there is nothing to worry about. It strengthens your child into adulthood, promotes mental health and shows that your child is extremely imaginative and creative.
  • Studies even show that children with an invisible companion have better social skills, are more creative and courageous and have a better sense of language.
  • Take your child seriously, talk to him about his friend and try to find out more about him.
  • Face your child’s invisible friend with serenity and acceptanceopposite to. Join in the child’s game and ask, for example, if the imaginary friend would like to eat something or play.
  • Treat the imaginary friend like a guest, but also make it clear to your child that the same family rules apply to the friend.

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