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Imaginary Friends: Harmful or Beneficial?

Imaginary Friends: Harmful or Beneficial?
Written by Publishing Team

Source: Jelleke Vanooteghem / Unsplash

You can’t help but smile when your 3 year old tells you his so-called friend’s name is Haha. “No kidding!” her mother laughs.

Because they don’t have siblings to play with, people often assume that only children love HahaThe creator of has more imaginary friends than children with siblings. This myth, started by psychologist G. Stanley Hall in 1896 and long debunked, continues to continue.

But recently, Japanese researchers Yusuke Moriguchi and Naoya Todo found that children with imaginary companions are more likely to be firstborns. My brother, for example, the firstborn in our family, had George. However, the discovery of the firstborn, as the only myth of the child, seems questionable in light of the responses to my recent request to learn more about imaginary friends.

Carolina of the Mountains, the imaginary friend of a 5-year-old, “came down from the mountains to play with my daughter in a neighbor’s cabin across the street,” her mother recalls. “Carolina of the Mountains also played with her and her dolls at home; they would have tea parties that lasted for hours with lots of chatter. This child, the youngest of 11, had a lot of real playmates in the house.

Laurie Ann, a mother of four, says three of her children had imaginary companions. A girl’s imaginary friend had green skin and purple hair and her name was Goosella; Goosella would swing for ages. “My daughter got people moving because she said they were sitting on Goosella.

“My eldest son had an imaginary friend, a fly, he called curiously Fido“, Adds Laurie Ann,”Fido was talking to him and we had to be careful not to step on it Fido. My other daughter had an imaginary dragon friend named Kiki. She asked us to prepare a plate for Kiki. She also pushed Kiki in a stroller. I think Kiki was in the colors of the rainbow.

A sign of growing imagination

False friends, regardless of the birth order of their “owner”, whether flies, dragons, or people, are diverse and can be confusing, even alarming, to parents … especially when they don’t understand why or when Fido Where Georges, ha ha Where Goosella arrival. They seem to come out of nowhere. From around 2 years old 1/2 up to 3 years old and up to about 7 or 8 years old, you may notice that an imaginary mate or two or more show up. “My Anita had one. It was the cutest thing. His name was Diggy and she had conversations with him when she was between 2 and 4 years old. Diggy started to bring more friends around. Has come Alain and Janie. “

For kids, pretending to be buddies is fun and provides hours of entertainment. Josh, now a teenager, reports he had 18 imaginary friends all called up Little Baby Josh and every four inches in height. “They were clones of me, followed me wherever I went and loved to dance. I was their leader.

According to Marjorie Taylor, a psychology professor at the University of Oregon who wrote the definitive conclusions on imaginary companions, about 65% of young children have them and their arrival often coincides with the development of children’s imaginations.

In a conversation with Nursery worldDr Karen Majors, an educational psychologist at the Institute of Education at University College London, is adamant: “It is time we do away with the feeling that these children are in the minority or have mental health issues. “She points out that” pretend games help them use their imaginations to explore things that are important to them or to feel better about something. All of this is good for their cognitive, emotional and social development. “

Imaginary companions serve many purposes

Much of the research over the past few decades has found that false friends help young children learn more about their surroundings, get along with others, and solve their problems. Invented friends can help a child cope with a life change such as a family move, the birth of a brother, a divorce, making new friends. Imaginary friends are useful for dealing with uncomfortable situations, as an outlet for feelings they don’t understand or cannot express, or as an excuse for poor or destructive behavior. Willa’s son had an imaginary companion he named Oakick. “Whenever my son didn’t want to do something or did something he wasn’t supposed to do, he blamed Oak !”

Johnny Harrison ‘s creator, Ted, neither firstborn nor only child and now in his fifties, says Johnny harrison was not much different from Oakick. “I used to blame it all on Johnny Harrison, a rag doll. When my mother screamed at me, it was always Johnny’s fault. I slept with him too. When I grew up he finally had to be buried. I don’t know where he went.

Children’s fake friends can be invisible and imaginative creations, based on real people or related to objects such as stuffed animals, toys or dolls like Johnny harrison. The elaborate explanations of phantasmal friends can be disarming to parents, but they are usually a sign of a growing and fertile imagination. Lily, at the time 4 years and older, imagined a whole family in makeup in Utah, reports her mother. “It was a family of five. I don’t remember their names, but honestly for a moment I wondered if she had reincarnated. If you had sat next to us in a restaurant, you would have thought that she had been adopted and that the people of Utah were her real family; we live in Chicago. She talked endlessly about what each person in her so-called family was doing. One of my husband’s coworkers once sent him a huge gift box with the return address “Your Family from Utah”. That’s how compelling my daughter was and how real and detailed she described them.

Lasting memories of so-called friends

Although you may be surprised, puzzled, or worried when your child asks you to slow down, wait. Phyllis to catch up, invite Twins during family vacations, or if you hear your son or daughter chatting or commanding a ‘sidekick’, having one or more imaginary friends will likely be part of family tradition – to rehash and delight for decades as Ted reminds us of his. time with Johnny harrison: “The funny thing is that my brother and sister raised him over the years and we always had a good laugh.”

In retrospect, most parents see the humor and harmless nature of their children’s imaginary companions. Her 4-year-old urged her mother Kirsten from the backseat every time they got in the car to buckle up Police officer, who for unknown reasons was old enough to get in the front seat. He did not insist on food for Police officer like my brother did for George, but he made sure Police officer sitting next to him at the table. Police officer accompanied her son to sleepovers with friends when he was a few years older.

Kirsten tried her hand at analysis Police officer: “Maybe my son was tired of having two older sisters running him and wanted a brother, called him Bobby and made him part of the family. His sisters remember when Police officer was starting to die. They would ask: “Where is Police officer? ‘ and his son said in a neutral tone: “Police officer is absent at the moment.

Sometimes siblings or friends share imaginary companions who survive to this day. Sisters Laura and Jackie had Miss Nancy when they are around 4 and 6 years old. As adults, their memories of Miss Nancy are lively. Laura remembers her as the third character during their recess: “Miss Nancy was a smart and sassy working woman who spent a lot of time on the phone ordering people. Miss Nancy was a powerful polyester seller, although I don’t think we know what polyester was other than what we gleaned from TV commercials. Sometimes we put Windex or something in a spray bottle thinking it’s polyester and wash the windows.

Miss Nancy was the anthesis of my mother who was a stay-at-home mom and quite sweet. In our imaginations, her husband, Mr. Nancy, always in trouble, a goofy silly guy and not at all like our dad. Maybe we were trying to work on something in our home life.

“I remember Miss Nancy make calls, make decisions; she was a badass. Maybe imaginary friends are who you want to be. I don’t know, but she’s still with us. She spoke with a distinct Midwestern accent, ”says Laura. “The funny thing is that my sister and I talk to each other this way every now and then and when our kids hear us they roll their eyes and say, ‘They’re talking to Miss Nancy again.'”

The extent of children’s creativity seems much more fascinating – and revealing – than their position on the spectrum of birth ranks. Dr Taylor, who has studied imaginary children’s friends for over 30 years, said: “I am constantly amused by what children come up with. ”

Imaginary friends in your house? Please share your stories or those of your children in the comments section.

Copyright @ 2020 by Susan Newman

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