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Question
Posted by: Mary | 2011/01/18

Imaginary friends

My 8nyear old daughter has two imaginary friends. She constantly talks to and play with them. She often ignores her ''real'' friends to play with her imaginary friends. Should I be worried?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

I doubt that it's CONSTANT, but I know what you mean. Many kids have imaginary friends, but usually lonely kids who don't have others to playh with. Ignoring real and present friends to play with the imaginary ones is rather unusual.
If this has been lasting for some time, and especially if there are any other signs of being distressed or disliking contact with others, an assessment by a child shrink could be useful

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: HaveYouMetMyClone | 2011/01/18

Ok, shouldnt be a problem, try and meet her imaginary friends, try and join her in talking to them get to know them and find out what they are all about, whether a good influence or not either way remember the imagination is very powerful so be careful.

If you join her world she might begin to question her imagination.

Reply to HaveYouMetMyClone
Posted by: Tracey | 2011/01/18

As per a new research, children who keep virtual friends learn to be more amiable, fun loving and entertaining. Imaginary friends help children getting rid of aloofness, monotony, feeling of displeasure and hard times.

The study was led by Dr. Karen Majors from Barking and Dagenham Community Educational Psychology Service. It involved five children aged 5-10 years old, including three girls and two boys. They were interviewed about the effects of their interaction with their imaginary friends.

Imaginary friends exhibited plethora of good behavioural aspects. Even though they sometimes behaved negatively, it was for the good of the children to display their own expressions of unhappiness and disappointment. Virtual friends served the role of playmates, good listeners, partners in fun and frolic, counterparts to get them out of scary conditions, hard emotions and boggling thoughts.

Though, parents found it worrisome seeing their children talking to an invisible friend that was completely natural in the development process of a child and so it could not be called abnormality, as told by Dr. Majors.

He said, " The children recognised their imaginary friends weren''t real but they still felt they were important and special" .

Reply to Tracey
Posted by: Tracey | 2011/01/18

It is extremely common and normal for young children to have imaginary friends. In fact there is an article if you go to google and click on news - then scroll down you will find an article about children and imaginary friends and how in fact it is healthy for them to have imaginary friends... it is part of the child''s natural development.

However you also need to perhaps check with your child''s teacher at school and get some feedback as to her behaviour in the classroom and during breaktime.

In excess - it may be a way for your daughter to escape into her own world. She may not feel like she is fitting in. She may be anxious and this is her way of coping with it.

There may be other things going on in her social circle at school.

Do you ever invite friends over? Is she the only child or does she have siblings, older or younger?

How long has this been going on for?

Reply to Tracey
Posted by: Vrye Denker | 2011/01/18

Wait suffers from a condition called Social Autism.

No, imaginary friends are normal, but your daughter might be branded as anti-social in she wants to get lost in her own world at the expense of real friends.

Reply to Vrye Denker
Posted by: Wait | 2011/01/18

Not at all. There are many grown ups who have imaginary friends but no one worries about them. They even designate certain days of the week to worship something that they have never seen. Some even wrap themselves with bombs to kill for their imaginary friend. Your daughters problem is minor.

Reply to Wait
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/01/18

I doubt that it's CONSTANT, but I know what you mean. Many kids have imaginary friends, but usually lonely kids who don't have others to playh with. Ignoring real and present friends to play with the imaginary ones is rather unusual.
If this has been lasting for some time, and especially if there are any other signs of being distressed or disliking contact with others, an assessment by a child shrink could be useful

Reply to cybershrink

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