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Question
Posted by: apple | 2010-12-02

4 year old daughter making up stories

My daughter is 4 years old. Her dad passed away when she was 18 months and I have been raising her on my own since then. A few weeks ago she started making up stories about the glass house that she lives in with her dad, and goes into a lot of detail regarding the glass house and her life there. Is this a form of escape for her? Should I leave her be, or do I bring her back to reality? She did see a psychologist right after the accident, but she told us that my daughter has coped well and has moved on with her life without her dad. We are really happy now and I try to make us the best life possible under the circumstances, so I don''t understand why she is taking to her imagination like this? Why is she doing this, and what can I do to help her?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

This is prime story-telling and fantasy time, and this is probably a way for her to make real an idea of a father she probably can't actually remember in any distinct way ( memory formation at 18 months or younger is very shaky at best and usually not recoverable ).
I'm sure you're doing a terrific job as a single parent. Maybe at this age she's hearing more from other kids about their dads, and is constructing a dad of her own to match them. Its the specificity of the glass-ness of the house that intrigues me most.
As she is probably still generally well-routed in feality, and probably recognizes that this glass house is a different kind of real, there will probably be no problems and she will probably grow out of it. Formal help is probably not needed.

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Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010-12-04

This is prime story-telling and fantasy time, and this is probably a way for her to make real an idea of a father she probably can't actually remember in any distinct way ( memory formation at 18 months or younger is very shaky at best and usually not recoverable ).
I'm sure you're doing a terrific job as a single parent. Maybe at this age she's hearing more from other kids about their dads, and is constructing a dad of her own to match them. Its the specificity of the glass-ness of the house that intrigues me most.
As she is probably still generally well-routed in feality, and probably recognizes that this glass house is a different kind of real, there will probably be no problems and she will probably grow out of it. Formal help is probably not needed.

Reply to cybershrink
Posted by: Purple | 2010-12-03

All children at this age have very vivid imaginations and tell the wildest stories. It might be her wish to create a father figure as she doesn''t have one along with her fertile imagination, which is a perfectly normal (but very irritating) phase of development.

What I did with my son was to give him a quizzical look and ask him if that was really true. Most times he''d say it wasn''t and I''d tell him that he must tell me first if he wants to use his imagination to tell me a story and he mustn''t pretend its true when its not.

I don''t know if that made the slightest difference, but he''s now grown out of it.

Reply to Purple
Posted by: Maria | 2010-12-02

My daughter also lived in a dreamworld of her own at that age, and made up lots of stories. At 18 months your lo was really much too young to get any value out of therapy. If you are concerned about her it might be helpful for you to go and see a child psychologist to talk about how you should handle this. However to me it sounds quite normal, she is processing the facts of her life in an appropriate way for her age. Do you have pictures of daddy around the house? You could just gently tell her that when somoene who loves us die their memories live on in our hearts.

It''s not always easy to deal with this, especially if your own emotions get involved. My daughter is 8, her birth mom died when she was 2, and at round about 4 and 5 years old she would often make up stories about how her birth mom would come back and we would all live together as a happy family.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Jordan | 2010-12-02

So sorry to hear your loss. Maybe it is just her way of holding on to him and having him close to her. I wouldn''t discourage her, rather I would show interest in this ''glass house'' and tell her that it is beautiful and so homely. All the best.

Reply to Jordan

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