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Talk to me about imaginary friends PLEASE!!

(23 Posts)
essexmumma Tue 25-Sep-12 20:59:52

Basically as the thread title suggests my eldest DD aged 2 years and 5 months has developed an imaginary friend recently. I have done a little bit of research but want some real parent advice/experience.

DC2 was born when DD was 2, at this time we stopped DD going to the childminder (was going 2 days per week) as I am on maternity leave. She has recently started doing two sessions at nursery as she seemed to miss the busy, social life she had when with the childminder. Nursery say she is doing great, confident and making friends but I can't help but wonder if the imaginary friend is because she feels lonely. The imaginary friend only 'appears' at home and in the car and she talks to them as a friend, sometimes appears to mimic grownups I.e tells friend off for thingsand occasionally tells me she is scared of the friend.

I just wanted some reassurance this is all normal. She is a very bright little girl, early talker etc. As my PFB I want to get this right. How should I behave around /about friend?

Any advice please.

Nigglenaggle Tue 25-Sep-12 21:29:29

Personally, I remember having a couple (so must have continued to an older age than your DD!). I wasnt lonely, and as an adult and a child have enjoyed my own company. I guess at the time with the benefit of hindsight it was to build my confidence in times I felt unsure of things, but dont remember feeling bad at all, had a really happy childhood (its normal for children to sometimes feel unsure I think). Think I have turned into a reasonably well balanced adult. I cant remember how my mum reacted - think she more or less ignored the behaviour (but not me obviously!). DC not old enough to have one but wont worry at all if he does. This is probably not the angle you were looking for but just wanted to say dont worry!!!

ivykaty44 Tue 25-Sep-12 21:35:31

I haven't seen mine for years now - there were three of them, they had names and I threw them out of the window. I wasn't lonely and they seemed to go when I got a job to school.

my dd1 had one she shared with a friend

Worley Tue 25-Sep-12 22:06:10

my ds2 has an invisible mummy and invisible friends.. he told all the nursery staff about his other mummy... I try not to worry about it (even if I am replaced by an invisible woman!) he's happy..

lindsell Tue 25-Sep-12 22:26:34

Ds1 (3.5) has recently started talking about an imaginary friend who lives in his tummy and comes out sometimes. He talks about going to this friend's house and has come up with an imaginary street where it is - although apparently we couldn't visit this evening because the house had flown away grin. It's also coincided with ds2 (4mo)'s arrival (hence the friend being in his tummy I expect). I treat it very matter of factly, he has quite a vivid imagination anyway and makes up stories so I show an interest in the same way as if he tells me a tiger/lion/bear etc has come into the house or is walking down the street.

He is exploring his emotions at the moment and often talks about whether he feels sad/happy/cross etc so I'm sure it's part of that and a way to deal with conflicting emotions of having a baby brother.

I have no idea what's the 'right' way to deal with it but I don't want to discourage his imagination or him finding ways to explore his emotions.

cory Thu 27-Sep-12 08:24:49

All the children in my extended family have had imaginary friends at one stage or another; I don't think any of them have been lonely or particularly unhappy, just a normal result of having a vivid imagination imo. Some also had imaginary countries, and ds had an imaginary language. I still like imagining things and I'm 48.

JaxTellerIsMyFriend Thu 27-Sep-12 08:28:21

DS never had an imaginary friend, but DD did. She had a name and DD played with her and chatted to her.

It did bother me as I never had one as a child but she grew out of it. I never made a big deal of it and just sort of played along when I had to. Now 9, we havent 'seen' Olydia for a few years!

Dont worry about it.

EmpressOfTheGoldOceans Thu 27-Sep-12 08:34:51

DD had three main imaginary friends, Mr Nobody, Mrs I Don't Know and the Inquisible Man. I think they arrived when she was about 3.
She'd have long chats with them in the bath (with a different voice for each!) and all misbehaviour was Mr Nobody's fault. They disappeared around the time she started school.

UrbanSpaceMum Thu 27-Sep-12 11:00:25

DD has a bunch of imaginary friends. They come round for meals, and the dogs aren't allowed upstairs. Some of them are her brothers and sisters. They have great times together, go on trips to the seaside and so on.

Only word of caution, gently tell your child to tell other grownups that they are imaginary. Had some hilarious conversations with pre-school teachers about DD's "big brothers" and what she'd done at the weekend...

Nottigermum Thu 27-Sep-12 11:13:01

DS started having imaginary friends at 4 years old, after starting nursery. He says things like 'ok if you don't want to play with me I'll go and play with George'. His big brother is a bit jealous of George. George comes out when DS is lonely, or when I'm too busy to play with him, or when he wants to play snakes and ladders and nobody can/wants to play with him. 'I played chess against George and I won, again!' is a sentence we hear quite a bit in our house. It's fine with me, no trouble at all.

MogTheForgetfulCat Thu 27-Sep-12 21:23:54

DS1 (now 6.7) had an imaginary friend, ted, between the ages of about 2.8 and 4. He wasn't lonely, I don't think it meant anything bad like that at all - maybe just a way of exploring friendship? I played along to an extent, but didn't allow Ted to intrude too much on 'normality' - so DS1 could share his dinner with Ted and I would sometimes lay a place at the table for him, but I wouldn't make Ted a separate meal (as was sometimes requested!)

I rather miss Ted smile

madwomanintheattic Thu 27-Sep-12 21:30:38

I had one. Called tibdy.

Dd2 had loads. Miss Hoolie lived on the top bunk in her bedroom (she disappeared one night and dd2 was inconsolable for days) and she had a whole other family who kept having babies and whatnot.

Ds1 and dd1 didn't have any.

It's all very normal. Usually they just disappear (Miss Hoolie's disappearance was very sudden and dramatic) over time.

everythingpasses Thu 27-Sep-12 22:06:07

I had a kind of tribe of them, there were good and evil leaders then loads of characters that were on either side. I'm talking about maybe twenty different imaginary friends! They all had names and liked different things to eat. I shared them with my sibling. Some of the soldiers were eggs, a bit like humpty dumpty I guess.

Anyhow, I like to think I have turned out normal (ish)

I don't know how old I was when I stopped but swear I must have been about seven. I wasn't lonely and had a lovely childhood.

NorthernGobshite Thu 27-Sep-12 22:20:41

I didn't have one but my friend did. She didn't tell me until we were adults! It's normal. It shows he has a good imagination!

essexmumma Thu 27-Sep-12 22:47:26

Thank you all so much for replying with your experience and advice!! grin I feel much more relaxed with it all now and quite intrigued by it really.

I really appreciate your help and will stop
worrying! thank you

EmpressOfTheGoldOceans Thu 27-Sep-12 22:59:25

I had a pegasus called Sparkle and her entire family grin. She flew me all over the world and her foals sometimes slept in my bed.

TodaysAGoodDay Thu 27-Sep-12 23:12:06

My 5 yr old, TodayJunior, has one called Little TodayJunior. He seems to talk to him when he's alone/bored/in the car/in the bath and so on. No harm in it at all IMO.

If I remember correctly, I used to have an imaginary dog when I was 13 or 14. It didn't last long.

Perfectly normal.

steppemum Thu 27-Sep-12 23:17:48

my dd had one called baby, she always had to be strapped into car, and woo betide me if I shut front door before baby had come out.

haven't seen her for a while...

beela Fri 28-Sep-12 12:25:18

I think my DS (23 months) has possibly just acquired one, called big cow. Big Cow is usually elsewhere having a sleep ('big cow gone. Asleep. cot'). Although the other day there was apparently a tiny owl in the car with us, eating soup.

I love toddlers grin

mistlethrush Fri 28-Sep-12 12:48:23

DS's turned up (strangely) when he would have had a sibling had I not MC... when he was two and was his little (sister to start with, but she changed sex but not name at some stage and became brother) sibling - and used to go to nursery (in the appropriate room) with him.

He then started having nightmares - and I got Freddie the friendly monster (invisible) to help - and Freddie brought his friend Jessie to help too - and they frighten off bad dreams. DS (now 7.5) had a bad dream the night before last and ended up in my room. This morning he happily told me that Freddie had eaten some of the naughty children (clearly this stopped the bad dream from reoccurring but still blush.

We once had a walk in the park when DS was feeling worried about foxes (a friend's dog had been attacked and badly injured by one) - and we walked round the park me holding on to DS's hand and pushing the buggy, DS holding onto Freddie's hand (hand up in the air!! grin) and apparently Jessie holding 'Babyx's' hand in the buggy!

nutellaontoast Fri 28-Sep-12 12:56:51

Tiddles the Rainbow Coloured Dog. Tiddles is both a boy and a girl, and runs alongside the car, and loves to chase balls and play on the beach. Sometimes has a bath and needs dried. But I never have to pick up after him/her grin.

And Dee, who started off as a brother but has morphed into a friend who is a girl and frankly a total PITA and is forever stealing toys, wanting to play the wrong game etc.

I don't mind, I think they are probably because he's got a great imagination and is an only child - for the next 6ish weeks anyway.

NK2b1f2 Fri 28-Sep-12 13:20:06

My 5 year old dd1 has several. One has been around since she was about 18 months old and the others drop by occasionally grin. They went a bit quiet when she started reception last year but have come back in full force. Dd2 is 2 1/2 and has recently come up with her own imaginary friend, because dd1 got cross with her for 'borrowing' one of the regulars...

I think it is sweet and shows great imagination. I'll be sad when they both grow out of it!

deleted203 Fri 28-Sep-12 13:22:59

Read 'Charlie and Lola' books with her. Lola has an imaginary friend called 'Soren Lorenson' - which is rather a fab name. Imaginary friends are very common.

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