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Does your dc have an imaginary friend?

(59 Posts)
MiaWallace Tue 02-Jun-09 13:59:55

My dd (age 4) has two imaginary friends that have been dominant features in our lives for the last 18 months.

This has triggered my interest in the role imaginary friends play in children’s lives and I’m considering writing my dissertation on the topic next year.

At the moment I’m just curious how common imaginary friends.

So does your dc have an imaginary friend and if so can you tell me a little bit about them?

Iklboo Tue 02-Jun-09 14:05:09

DS (3.7)has a couple of imaginary friends - you may spot a name theme occurring:

Martianty-martianty (an alien. Every time DS sees a vapour trail in the sky he says it's MM's spaceship)

Ghostity-ghostity (erm..a ghost who hides inside dice. DS throws dice and decided what GG is doing)

Dragonty-Dragonty (a red dragon with green wings)

And Dragonty-Dragonty has an imaginary friend of his own called Mousity-Mousity

MiaWallace Tue 02-Jun-09 14:09:12

How long has he had these imaginary friends Iklboo? Are any of them more popular than others?

Iklboo Tue 02-Jun-09 14:15:44

He's probably had them almost a year I think. Dragonty-Dragonty is most popular at the moment but he has phases where one is more popular than the others.
He says they sit in the car with him while we're out driving (except MM who flies in his spaceship)
He calls them 'my pretend friends' but doesn't 'blame' them for anything he's done that's naughty.
He does different voices for each of them - MM sounds like a robot, Dragon has a deep voice, GG sounds like Ghostfreak from Ben 10 and Mousity-Mousity has a squeaky voice.

Oh - and sometimes Tom & Jerry come round for a picnic smile

My DS hasn't got any yet - but during the Easter holidays he did ask me if I could make him an imaginary friend so he had someone to play with grin

FabulousBakerGirl Tue 02-Jun-09 14:20:59

Mine do.

8 and 5.

Think it is sweet.

Worries me more that my 8 year old believes in fairyland. grin

IwoulddoDrWho Tue 02-Jun-09 14:22:50

My DD is the only one I know who invented an imaginary friend who didn't like her. She was called Perfume and would often scratch and bite, apparently.

southeastastra Tue 02-Jun-09 14:24:03

there is an article about imaginary friends in this months Fortean Times. might be worth a read if you're interested in the subject.

there are some very strange rl stories in there!

Hotcrossbunny Tue 02-Jun-09 14:24:07

My dd (5) has two imaginary friends, who have been around for about 3 years I think. They come and go in popularity. Naney is a better 'friend' than Stephanie, so is around more often. Dd talks to them, sometimes says one of them suggested doing something naughty but she said no! They're part of the family reallysmile I do wonder if they're partly here because dd is an only child???

LIttleMissTickles Tue 02-Jun-09 14:28:02

Lola's imaginary friend, Soren Lorenson, often visits at our house. He can be very demanding and needs pushing on the swings, and buckling up in his carseat etc. He is visits both my DC'n (ages 5 and 3).

madwomanintheattic Tue 02-Jun-09 14:28:33

mia - i was talking about the same thing on a thread last year, and wondering about academic research into the incidence of imaginary friends for children on the auristic spectrum. haven't found any yet - might give it a go at some point myself lol.

i find imaginary friends fascinating. i had one (called tibdy), and dd2 had a persistent one until very recently (miss hoolie - she slept on the top bunk etc etc), and a variety of others that used to pop by. she was utterly distraught for days when miss hoolie left (overnight) - she woke up and was gone. smile

my particular interest would be looking at whether there was a coping mechanism element that operated differently for sn children...

something for you to think about anyway smile

fbg - my 9yo dd believes everything. we are going to be in a whole world of pain when it all collapses c/o ds1 and dd2...

FabulousBakerGirl Tue 02-Jun-09 14:38:01

I worry that the boys at school would be mean to him if they knew, he says he has no friends sad

MiaWallace Tue 02-Jun-09 14:42:32

Thanks for all the stories and information.

I think it's a fascinating subject. I just did a search and there a quite a few old threads on imaginary friends so they must be quite popular.

madwomanintheattic my degree is in education so I'm considering looking at whether the need for imaginary friends disappears on starting school.

FabulousBakerGirl Tue 02-Jun-09 14:43:24

My daughter is at school and occasionally mentions hers.

stripeypineapple Tue 02-Jun-09 14:47:12

My DD used to call her reflection in the mirror Anna and talk to her, she said she was her friend.

This was when she was quite little, maybe about 4. She doesn't have any anymore though.

Takver Tue 02-Jun-09 15:46:11

My dd's have gone now

She started out with two invisible (not imaginary, mum) dogs, called Fishog and Fishdog, age about 2. She used to play with them for hours, lost them once and wandered round the yard for ages calling them . . .

Quite a bit later (3.5 - 4 ish) she gained an invisible shetland pony called Suzie, and a varying number of invisible puppies.

They definitely persisted well past her starting in the nursery class at school and through reception, and vanished pretty much entirely by mid last year (age 6, yr 1).

My dd is an only child too (and very into animals . . .) We do have lots of visible pets (dog, cats, goats, cows, horses, poultry) so it definitely wasn't a replacement for lack of real animals.

spamm Tue 02-Jun-09 21:02:50

My ds, who is now 4.1, has a whole imaginary world - for about 18 months now. He calls it Powerangerland - I'll let you guess where that comes from smile - and he is an aspiring PR.

For now he only works there and trains the others. His main job is working in the kitchens where he runs the ovens and makes lasagna and fish fingers and sausages for the Power Rangers. He has imaginary friends who help out, but he is always worried about them burning themselves or cutting themselves with knives.

He seems to use it to talk about things that he is worried or curious about.

He also tells us where PRL is - just behind Pets at Home currently, near Tesco.

DH and I love hearing about it and he always has new fantastic stories about what is going on there. The level of detail involved is amazing. But it is quite ordinary, even for superheroes.

thisisyesterday Tue 02-Jun-09 21:11:51

well my 4 yr old kind of has one. a long-distance one hmm

it's a girl, her name is Alan. she lives in Iceland with her mother (alan) her father (alan) and her baby sibling (alan)
they are often referred to as "all my alans"

Alan has long messy hair which is all different colours. sometimes her mother cuts her hair too short.
she has lots of playdoh but has mixed the colours up.
the family drive a red car with some marks on it

Alan invites ds1 to her parties, and he invites her to his. He gets quite upset when she never turns up. The christmas present he wrapped for her is still sitting on the staircase waiting to be picked up

Some interesting things to note: Alans parents are always referred to as her mother and father (dp and I are always mummy and daddy)
We have never been to Iceland
We don't know anyone called Alan in real life (i think he got the name from an allen key??)
Alan's parents sometimes die and leave her all alone with her baby brother/sister. they normally get not dead after a while though

feedthegoat Tue 02-Jun-09 21:24:15

My ds is 3.7 and Zurg from Toy Story 2 has been with us for sometime now wink. He doesn't appear to live with us as there is talk of Zurgs home. He has a fairly complicated life, he has recently become a Morris Dancer and also has a baby to care for (the baby only comes to visit every now and again).

He seems a friendly sort of chap for a villan tbh! We did have Jessie from toy story for a while too and she was often blamed for stubborn or naughty behaviour but that doesn't seem to happen with Zurg. Jessie disapeared the day we bought him a Jessie doll!

He has had others mainly from films or books we have read although some are invented but Zurg is the only consistant one.

He is an only child and has mentioned that Zurg is his brother recently. I did draw the line here and point out that this was not the case! He is at playschool and has friends who he plays with at other times so it is not as though he has no company. He has even backed up tales about his best friends imaginary friend as they leave playschool!

cory Wed 03-Jun-09 08:27:25

Dd (around 3) had a child (Stripey Baby); apparently there was a Stripey Daddy that went with it, but I never got to meet my stripey son-in-law (apparently he lived in Portsmouth).

At another stage, she had 3 children: Knife, Fork, and Spoon.

Ds had a friend called ALex the Pixie, who got up to all sorts of mischief and was responsible for anything naughty that was done in our house.

Both of them had imaginary countries when a little older (maybe 4-5): I learnt very little about dd's, because she shared all her stories with her cousin, but ds's was quite interesting: it even had its own language.

My nephew had an imaginary friend for a long time: burst into tears one day as a gentleman sat down next to him in the bus and squished his friend!

My Gran had an imaginary character who did all the mischief.

I don't think starting school was an essential turning-point for mine, more something they gradually grew out of. If indeed they have grown out of it: dd wants to be a writer and is forever making up stories- isn't that a bit like having imaginary friends?

MiaWallace Wed 03-Jun-09 08:31:15

It amazes me how varied the different imaginary friends are and how intricate the details about them can be.

As long as I get the approval, I’m defiantly going to research imaginary friends for my dissertation. I find it a really fascinating area of child psychology and I’m really interested in finding out more. From what I’ve read on this thread, and other threads on the topic, I’ve already noted a few themes I want to look into further. Can’t wait to get started.

sad at Alan's uncollected present though

ICANDOTHAT Wed 03-Jun-09 08:34:51

My brother had an imaginary friend from the age of 3 right up to 8. He played with 'him' all the time - chatted and even left a seat for him if at the table or on the sofa. He was interesting as he was one of identical twins - the other was still born.

DaddyJ Wed 03-Jun-09 09:32:47

Yes, she does!
Actually, two imaginary friends and they have babies, too.

They became very prominent when dd2 came along
so I am wondering whether it was triggerd by this 'disruptive' event.

OracleInaCoracle Wed 03-Jun-09 09:43:57

icandothat sad
and also at alans present!

ds has just found an imaginary friend called Ben. he holds ds's hand all the time because he is a good boy. his favourite food is sausage and bread. his favourite film/tv programme is star wars. he is 13 (ds is 4) and has black hair (ds is red/blonde) he came to Shrewsbury with us yesterday and helped ds pick out a book.

MiaWallace Wed 03-Jun-09 10:29:00

Please keep the stories coming, they are fascinating

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