March 15, 2008,
A.M. asks from Shepherdsville, KY on November 10, 2006
3 Year Old Has Imaginary Friend.....
Hello everyone. I am new to this so I am not sure how to state my problem so here it goes.... My 3 year old daughter is very smart and outgoing. She loves to be the center of attention. Lately, she has been talking to an imaginary person named Eddalee... I am not sure what to say when she asks me questions regarding Eddalee. I am not sure where she came up with the name or anything. She will talk all the time to her friend and acknowledge her. I am just not sure how to go about it, what to respond to her with or if this is healthy for children... Please anyone with advice, write back. Thank you!
J.C. answers from Fort Wayne on March 03, 2007
I'm totally with you on being on the fence about this. My 4 year old girl does the whole imaginary friend thing sometimes too. At first I thought "oh no, what's wrong with her?" but then she had her best friend over one day and I heard her talking to her own imaginary friend. I think that my daughter just does it sometimes because her friend did it. And, as far as her friend goes, she's a sweet and smart little girl and I think maybe she tries to fill the void of having someone to play with at home because she's got two much older brothers, and a baby brother too, so it's just her when it comes to having someone to play with in her own age bracket. I have a son who's only 15 months younger than my daughter, so I think that's why she doesn't tend to play with her imaginary friend as much. It's funny though, they have names, where they're sitting, what they do or don't like to eat, the whole shi-bang! I definitely wouldn't worry about it at all though if I were you. If you don't really like the idea, maybe when you hear her talking about her imaginary friend, you could offer to play with her or something. I would guess that's it completely normal though.
A.H. answers from Evansville on November 15, 2006
Hi, I have a 6 year old son. About a year ago, he did the same thing. We had to open doors for him. It is completely normal for this behavior. My doctor told me that there was nothing to worry about, it is a stage some kids go through, and also it helps their creativity. Now my son doesn't mention him because he has real friends now from school.
S.H. answers from Indianapolis on November 10, 2006
When my son was 3 he too started to talk with imaginary friends and trying to include them into our family. I have heard and read that this is a very normal way to grow their imagination and just to go along with it without incouraging it.
K.G. answers from South Bend on November 10, 2006
I am a mother of four. All of my kids had imaginary friends at some point. What we did was act like nothing was out of the ordinary. Eventually the imaginary friend will go way. be prepared for Eddalee to be blamed for things that happen around the house.lol
A.P. answers from Louisville on November 30, 2006
Does your daughter watch "Barney"? "Barney" teaches kids to use their imagination, that may be where she gets it from, after all "Barney is a dinosaur from our imagination". My daughter loves Barney, and now she has an imaginary friend named 'invisible Mariah'. I have to give 'invisible Mariah' invisible yogart, invisible popsicles, etc. I think its perfectly normal, when I was a kid I had one too. Kids go to social settings and develop friendships, then come home and want to continue to feel that bond of a friend, so they develop imaginary friends to continue that feeling with. i would just acknowledge Eddalee, eventually the phase will pass. Good luck.
M.B. answers from Omaha on November 10, 2006
When I was about that age, I was very much like your daughter (the first born, had a younger sister 3 years behind me, very outgoing, very intelligent) and I had an imaginary friend named Foxy. He was a fox (very original name, I know!) who walked upright and was about as tall as I was. I can still picture him to this day. He was so cute! :-) I think I created him after watching "The Fox and the Hound". Anyhoo, I would tell my mom what Foxy and I did that day, that Foxy liked the lunch she made, etc. and she would just smile and said something like, "That sounds like fun," or "That's nice of him." She didn't ever show any concern about it, especially since I had friends and did other socializing things with real people. I personally (this is just my own theory, based solely on my experience) think kids create imaginary friends as a way to counteract the limitations of human relationships. Your imaginary friend always likes you, always wants to play what you want to play, is always nice to you, is always available...basically it's a realtionship where the child gets whatever they want. Imaginary friends are comforting and fun to their kid. I know if I had a fight with one of my friends or I was mad at my mom or annoyed with my baby sister or just plain bored, Foxy would always want to play with me, whatever I wanted, and the other person was always wrong. Kids that age are really starting to understand the limitations and imperfections of human beings, and I think imaginary friends give kids an outlet where they are in control and everything is harmonious in their world. It helps them sort out their frustrations when people, other kids, or life in general let them down. Kind of like a diary might be for an older child. After playing with Foxy for a little while, I usually wasn't mad or bored anymore. As long as your daughter isn't using her imaginary friend to replace human relationships, let her enjoy Eddalee's company. Don't overindulge it (i.e. I wouldn't say, "It's time for dinner, go get Eddalee") but when Eddalee inevitably makes an appearance, go with it (i.e. when "Eddalee" likes your mashed potatoes, say thank you). She'll outgrow it, probably in a year or two, when she becomes better equipped to deal with life's disappointments. But when she's my age she will probably fondly remember Eddalee. I know I do, and I assure you, I am a completely well adjusted individual! And even though you can't see her, I guarantee your daughter can "see" Eddalee...Eddalee looks like whatever your daughter created in her imagination. Imaginary friends are normal, common, and I think actually a pretty sophisticated manner of a child's emotional and creative development. I hope this helps!
M.F. answers from Charlottesville on December 05, 2006
My daughter was 3 when she first started talking to someone named Menesha. We had just moved into a new house when this behavior started. I was afraid that she was seeing a spirit or something. I asked her doctor and they said it was normal. I had to fasten Menesha into a seat belt when we went on drives and save her a place at the supper table on occassion. I wouldnt encourage her talking to Menesha but I also wouldnt make her feel silly or wrong when she talked about her. It took about 2 years before she stopped talking to her. She is now 7 and hasnt talked to or about her in over a year. It was frightening at times and a bit scary, but it did pass. My first reaction was to tell her no one was there and to never mention it again...but i didnt do that. Just let it play out for a while and see how it goes.
J.M. answers from Omaha on November 10, 2006
Having imaginary friends is totally normal and the sign of a creative and imaginative person. I had one when I was little (Mrs. Witch); my brother had one too (Tony); my uncle had twin imaginary friends (Bippy and Boppy); my oldest had a couple (Uncle Bernard and - get this - Uncle Catacomb); and now my youngest has a couple right now (Toasty and Leesey) LOL. Kids! Gotta love 'em. Many of the most creative near-genius and straight-up genius people I know had imaginary friends as children. She will outgrow them when she is ready. For now, just welcome Eddalee (I love it!) into your family. I would just play right along. When Toasty and Leesey show up, we pull up extra chairs, share our food (I refuse to cook extra food for them LOL), and when they ring the doorbell we yell, "Come on in!" Have fun with it.
D.T. answers from Muncie on December 15, 2006
I remember my imaginary friend, Dewwah. I don't know how I came up wth that name. I was about 3 which would explain why I remember. My mother told me that Dewwah could stay around and play with me as long as she was a good girl and behaved herself, but as soon as she wasn't I wasn't allowed to play with her any more. One day Dewwah wanted to do something I wasn't allowed to and I told her to go away and she did. I say as long as your daughter's behavior doesn't turn bad, like misbehaveing and blameing her friend, then there shouldn't be a problem. She should grow out of it.
A.C. answers from Evansville on November 12, 2006
My son was born right before my daughter turned 3. Shortly after that, she started having imaginary friends. There is all the characters from Veggie Tales, and Bob the Builder. There are even some I don't know. She will have races with them, play games, and even take them to the store with us. She will even make her Granny buckle them in the car. I feel it is just someone for her to talk and play with now that she isn't an only child and can't have all my attention. As my son is getting older and she can interact more with him, she doesn't talk to her "friends" as much. Don't worry, she will be fine. Good luck. A.