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Imaginary friends - should I be worried?

(31 Posts)
satine Mon 06-Feb-06 13:46:34

My ds (3.5) talks a lot about his imaginary friend, down to such details as where he lives and how old he is. It comes up more and more now. Now I know I shouldn't be basing my parenting on what I see in US comedy shows but last night on Desparate Housewives, Lynette was told that her son's imaginary friend might have appeared as a coping mechanism or reaction to some upsetting event. Help! Is my poor son reacting to his dad being away for 6 months (although he's been back for 2 months now) or the fact that I shout too much?

Rhubarb Mon 06-Feb-06 13:50:27

I shout a lot too, so maybe we have something in common there! My dd has had an assortment of imaginary friends called Pinky and Maisy and Polar Bear, etc. Over the months various nasty things have happened to these friends, Pinky got burnt to ashes in a fire whilst dd was out shopping, she came back to find a little pile of ashes and so had to go back out to buy a new Pinky. Maisy has fallen down the stairs and broken nearly all her bones, they've been locked in prison, etc etc. Right now she has a friend called Jan at school who is English (we live in France) but we can't meet her parents because they have both died. This friend sounded very plausible until I spoke to the Head and discovered that no such child existed!

So if yours has problems, spare a thought for mine!

Beetroot Mon 06-Feb-06 13:52:23

My dd had rtwo imaginary friends at this age who followed us every where in their own car..it is sweet and creative. Enjoy

Rhubarb Mon 06-Feb-06 13:54:31

Dd's have terrible car crashes!!!

satine Mon 06-Feb-06 13:58:19

Wow, Rhubarb, I dread to think what might have become of imaginary enemies. Mind you, having seen the picture of your dd in the Calpol competition I hope you won't be offended if I say that it's not entirely surprising....

Rhubarb Mon 06-Feb-06 13:59:21

She's a real cutie isn't she!

satine Mon 06-Feb-06 14:01:16

Thanks, though, it's nice to get a bit of reassurance!
Odd, though - Max often follows us in his own car. Is this a common theme, I wonder?

Rhubarb Mon 06-Feb-06 14:04:43

If there's no room in your car then they have to get their own I suppose!

I think imaginary friends are all part and parcel of childhood. They are letting rip with their imaginations and very often things will happen to their friends which is just them discovering emotions and starting to deal with complex issues like death and injury. I don't encourage dd but I certainly don't discourage her either. I just hope she never says to me "mummy, I see dead people!"

satine Mon 06-Feb-06 14:09:55

Have you ever come across this book?
It's always been one of my favourites. Sounds a bit like a list of your dd's friends!!
I've always liked hearing my ds talk about his friend and have always thought it showed he is using his imagination and exploring different situations and emotions. But I hadn't heard anyone suggest that it might be down to coping with stress before, so it just stayed with me.

LadyPenelope Mon 06-Feb-06 14:26:37

My dd had a whole imaginary family ... sister, brother and baby ... they were around for over a year and used to come on holidays with us, and went places in separate cars too (lucky really as we don't have a people carrier!). Anyway, I know it sounds like a cliche but they totally disappeared literally overnight once her baby brother arrived. In her case, she was definitely playing out what it would feel like to be part of a bigger family. I still find it quite amazing that they disappeared over night ... it's not like ds did much for the first few months! And actually I kind of miss my imaginary children!!

Piffle Mon 06-Feb-06 14:40:32

my ds had two friends Hum and Rom, they were with us everywhere, and yes we had to get back on a bus once as Rom got stuck in the door and ds was in hysterics...
He outgrew them, he is perfectly normal adjusted child

Rhubarb Mon 06-Feb-06 14:42:34

Satine, I'm sooo gonna buy that book!

dd used to walk with her arms outstretched, Pinky on the one hand and Maisy on the other!

Hattie2 Mon 06-Feb-06 14:48:53

Dd has 2 imaginary friends - Dubby and Bobby Dark (yes, he is only around at night time). Dubby came skiing with us last week (apparently he was very good at it!), but Bobby Dark stayed at home to look after all the cuddly toys we couldn't fit in the suitcase!

satine Mon 06-Feb-06 19:06:40

Thanks so much, everyone. I must remember not to believe everything I see on tv.....

threelittlebabies Mon 06-Feb-06 20:10:32

I have posted this somewhere before, but ds aged 3 has an imaginary friend called Kimmer. First he had "Kenny and Nenny" who were apparently a yellow spider and snake who lived in the light in ds' room, and ds used to randomly shout their names. Now we have the charming Kimmer, who is good Kimmer or bad Kimmer depending on what ds decides. He sometimes has fire and quite often hits- we find if ds hits and we ask who showed you that, it is inevitably Kimmer. Sometimes he has a mum and dad, and lately they all live in heaven! Am sure it's perfectly harmless but am fed up of bloomin' Kimmer all the same!

threelittlebabies Mon 06-Feb-06 20:12:37

BTW Rhubarb, how old is your dd?

Hulababy Mon 06-Feb-06 20:14:31

DD (3y10m) has an imaginery friend - two infact - Bella and Cotcha. Cotcha has been around for ages a good couple of years, Bella about a year. She talks about them and to them. They come out with us in the car and have been known to visit other relatives. Cotcha is quite a naughty boy by all accounts. She is always telling himoff for something or other. bella seems older and a bit bossy - a bit like DD!

However, when asked, she definitely knows that they are pretend and not real at all. Infact I think she thought I was a real dippy so and so for even suggesting they might be real!

Orinoco Mon 06-Feb-06 20:40:10

Message withdrawn

poppiesinaline Mon 06-Feb-06 21:00:31

I think it is part of normal development. My DS used to have imaginary friends who were dogs 'Poppy' and 'Barney'. He outgrew them. He doesn't even remember them now which I think is quite sad.

poppiesinaline Mon 06-Feb-06 21:00:34

I think it is part of normal development. My DS used to have imaginary friends who were dogs 'Poppy' and 'Barney'. He outgrew them. He doesn't even remember them now which I think is quite sad.

rarrie Mon 06-Feb-06 23:37:52

Apparrently, it is a sign of a good imagination and possibly also of intelligence! Particularly common in first born children. I say this, beacuse I had one and she was great! I loved her and she came everywhere with me... I can still remember what she 'looked' it! I had a fab childhood and have turned out allright... . well kind of!?!

Shouldn't worry!
HTH

edodgy Mon 06-Feb-06 23:40:03

My dd 2.10 yrs has an imaginary friend named Gina who comes out only when she plays climbing or jumping!

northstar Wed 31-May-06 11:26:06

So it is the general consensus that imaginary friends are ok then? I am finding ds and his 2 (chookalie and boo) quite hard work. When we got to the restaurant for a family meal last night he announced that he wasnt coming in because it was boo's birthday and he had to go to his party instead.
Do i play along with this or change the subject? Sometimes i do get entertained by his imagination but then worry that i am encouraging some kind of wierdness?

neena28 Wed 31-May-06 11:29:14

My ds has an imaginary fairy called Sophie, is very detailed about her and what she does. We did have to knock using Sophie as a scapegoat though!

She flies in through the key holes!!

I have never been too worried about it although think dp would prefer an imaginary soldier or similar!!

Shouldn't worry too much think most kids have different 'things' and this is just one...try not to over think a little one too much!

neena28 Wed 31-May-06 11:30:26

Knock it on the head, sorry, wasn't very clear.

It was driving me mad that 'Sophie' had knocked the vase over or fiddled with the shampoo etc!

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