Do You Think Its Healthy For Kids To Have Imaginary Friends ?

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  1. For children with a fertile imagination, a make-believe friend is a constant source of comfort and companionship.

    But for their parents - who believe children should talk to real friends rather than invisible ones - it can be a cause for concern.
    It seems, though, that they are worrying for no reason, as a study shows that imaginary friends can have a positive effect on children.

    Such companions - whether a superhero or a fire-breathing dragon - are the sign of an imaginative child, and offer their creators a friend to confide in as well as a boost to their self-esteem.

    Research at the Institute of Education in London found that made-up friends enhanced children's creativity, making them more confident and articulate.
    Famous invisible friends include Soren Lorenson, the confidant of the character Lola in the hit children's TV series Charlie and Lola.

    "Imaginative children will create imaginary friends," said Karen Majors, an educational psychologist who carried out the research. "Companionship is a big part of it. They can be a way of boosting self-confidence."
    Parents should not worry even if their child creates a number of companions, according to Miss Majors, who says it's a perfectly normal habit.

    She added: "Parents sometimes think, 'Is this healthy and how long should it go on for?' But it is a normal phenomenon for normal children. And it's very healthy."

    Characters from fiction such as Peter Pan and Harry Potter figure frequently as invisible friends.

    Girls tend to adopt younger companions, while boys tend to opt for older, more heroic characters. The study found that an only child or one with a large age gap from its siblings is most likely to create imaginary friends.

    It is also common for such friends to appear when a brother or sister is born.

    Victims of bullying may dream up companions for support and to help cope with the stress of their situation.
    But in many cases, it is simply wish fulfilment for a child denied a much-wanted pet or other object of desire. "I interviewed one little girl who had a pony called Minty for several years," said Miss Majors. "Of course Minty did not really exist."

    Earlier research by psychologist Anna Toby, who followed 20 children between the ages of four and eight with invisible pets and fabricated parents, found that an active imagination should be welcomed.

    Her study found that "children who have imaginary companions have more advanced communication skills".

    Researchers have estimated that as many as 65 per cent of children have had an imaginary companion at some point.
    But it is not just children who converse with invisible companions. Explorer Dave Mill created his imaginary friend Nobody at the age of 34 as a survival mechanism during a solo walk to the North Pole.

    Imaginary: Lola, from the hit TV series Charlie and Lola, has a pretend friend called Soren

  2. I think it's perfectly fine as long as they're at an appropriate age (if a kid the age of 12 has an imaginary friend then that might be a problem) and it's not hurting their social skills to interact with actual human beings.
  3. Oh, I had a whole imaginary family with siblings and all. That was probably because I was an only child, LOL. I don't think it did me any harm. I read a great deal when I was young (I still do) and my imaginary world would be populated by the interesting characters I read about. I'd make stories about them, and think them in my head...
  4. i think it's alright to a cetain age...i certainly had one when i was younger, i also had a sister, but we weren't really close back then.
  5. My sister had one when I was little...I was so jealous, I never had one, lol
  6. I had imaginary fairies and elves that watched over me and would protect me from any possible harm by whisking me away to their secret realm because...

    I was the fairy princess living my life disguised as a human so that I could learn their ways ;)

    Oh for the days when it was all believable...
  7. I had my own house when everything was just the way I wanted it. I never had to clean it or cook either!

    Oh for the days of childhood!
  8. sure, and I think it's a normal phase most kids go a younger age.
  9. I think its fine. My neice, who is an only child, has a set of twins as imaginary friends!
  10. I think they're fine! It teaches kids to be creative and how to use their imagination.
  11. I had a ton of imaginary friends LOL. But i forgot all about them past a certain age. I must say its done me no harm.
  12. My daughter has an imaginary friend that comes around every now and then. She also has an imaginary horse that she rides down the aisles of the grocery store. We make up stories about her adventures with her horse, so I think it helps encourage creativity.
  13. my daughter had was a bit spooky because she was in intensive care for 7 days after cardiac surgery and when we went back home she introduced us to her six dead imaginary friends, they all had names, all were boys...and all were dead.her brother used to be scared of them!!
    they were around until kindy when she announced to us that they had moved to saigon to keep her uncle company.
    i do sometimes wonder if being in intensive care had some effect on her as she spend 3 weeks in NICU and then a week in PICU. she's fine now but i wonder where did they go after saigon?
  14. I had an imaginary friend as a kid, Nurse Rabbit. I turned out just fine and no, I have no imaginary friends now, but I do talk to my dog.
  15. From a cognitive perspective, it is nice because they have enough understanding to try and take on another person's perspective.

    To me, I find it creepy. I just think of the scary ghost movies where
    the kids have "imaginary"
    friends or I just worry if they will grow up to be schizophrenic.