22 answers

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!

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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.

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.

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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.

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

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.

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.

Hi A.,
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.

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.

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.

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.

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. M,

I think everything will be fine. Your daughter is using her creative side. I think its completely healthy, and she will eventually grow out of it. If she's 16 and still doing this then you will need more advice, but now, I think its normal and okay. My daughter, she's two, also has a imaginary friend, 'Simmy'. I also don't know where she got the name, but Simmy is a baby. I talked to her daycare to see if she's been around or has met a baby named Simmy. They have no idea where she got it either. I know its kinda weird, and sometimes freaky. Her dad is also questioning if it is all okay. Unless its out of hand don't worry. She's being creative. She may also be dealing with sharing her mommy with your other baby. If she needs to be center of attention Eddalee may put her there. Just play with her because she is playing with her imagination. Sorry to go on for awhile, but good luck with it all.

N. C

I had an imaginary friend but the funny thing is.... I still remember talking to him and that was when I was 3. His name was David. My Dad had been in a bad accident and thats when David came. He was there to keep us safe, thats what I told my Mom anyway. As soon as my Dad got home from the hospital he disapeared. I would ask my Mom were he went.It will pass, maybe its her guardian angel. Children have wild imaginations, just run with it. It will pass eventually.

well i have a 4 year old girl named chloe and one day i brought a picture out of my grandfather and she said that is my friend jim and his name was james and he died 1998 and i was very close to him and it freaked me out that she knew who that was. so i think having a friend like that is normal

Hi A.-
I think it is perfectly normal. I remember back when I had imaginary friends (Patty and Janet, and even Cookie Monster!)
My daughter is almost 3, she has them too. I'd say be glad your daughter has such a vivid imagination and can expand her mind. Not a bad thing at all!

Juliv

Imaginary friends are very common. i had a few when i was little. it just shows that your daughter has a healthy imagination and can is able to entertain herself. she will out grow it. the nly reason for concern is if your daughter starts misbehaving/acting out and then tries to blame it on her " friend". this can indicate a hidden problem. put when you have play time toghether...just remember to include eddalee in the festivites. ask your daughter questions about her friend. and play make believe with her.

Hello I wanted to let you know of a sight i seen about imaginary friends

http://www.familyresource.com/parenting/character-develop...

Sorry that it is not clickable just copy n paste it it is interesting stuff and i think it will help you.

My son talks to his stuffed animal kitty all the time. The only diffrence between your daugher and my son is I can see my sons friends at 3 he had his toys have long conversations between the two of them. I was a little worried but its just a part of little kids and show that they have a creative side.

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.

I think the imaginary friend is wonderful- just as most everyone else has said it's a very creative outlet for a kid to have. My imaginary friend was Laura. I had an older brother and sister, but always felt left out and they didn't want to play with me that much. Laura was my best friend for awhile.

I wouldn't worry at all. And a lot of these folks have it right; make sure you acknowledge Eddalee when your daughter says she's there. I wouldn't try too hard to carry on a conversation with Eddalee, because as a very special friend to your daughter your girl may be protective of her. She's her friend, not yours, I know I didn't like it when my mom talked to Laura.

Also, Laura stopped coming to play about when I hit kindergarten and got a new real best friend. I suppose I just didn't need to play with her anymore.

How do you know her friend is imaginary?? Children are apt to see spirits more than adults. Society teaches us that they don't exist so we grow out of it as we get older. Not saying this is the case, but open the possibility.

My 6 year old had his very own "Pikachu" (yes...the Pokemon) for about 3 years now. Pikacuh at first would have to go everywhere with us, and I even had to buckle his seat belt for him. Hubby and I just played along with it. We laid down rule for Pikchu to follow too. He wasn't allowed at the dinner table (I was afraid he'd shock us all) If he went out shopping with us, he'd have to stay in the car (Because stores don't like electrified things running amok in the aisles.) And if we went out to dinner, Pikachu had to bring his own. (Most resturants don't carry Pokemon food.) We even warned his preschool teacher that Pikachu may come to school occasionally, so she'd know what was going on.

Pikachu was a constant fixture for about a year and a half, and lately, he hasn't been coming by as often. I think the novelty, or the need, for an imaginary friend is beginning to wear off. As long as you're "listening" to what Eddalee is saying or doing, I think it's all fine. Eddalee is giving you insight on what's going on inside your daughters mind. If it just seems like ordinary kid playing, then that's all it is. It may also be her way of trying to figure things out. She'll grow out of it, just don't force her to.

My daughter had an imaginary friend "freaky" (what a name!). We even had to put "freaky's" coat on him/her/it when we left the house and make sure that he/she/it had the seatbelt on. It's a phase and the creative side coming out. If you play along with it, this too shall pass. My daughter still brings it up once in awhile when we're talking about memories of her growing up. She's 21 now and just fine. Best of luck!

While most child psychologist will tell you that it is normal for children to develop "imaginary" friends as a healthy way to imagination. It is also a way that a child will deal with something else that is going on in and around their lives that they may not know how to verbalize to a parent. Were any changes taking place in your life or the life of your child during the time of the appearance of this friend? Think about when this friend started to "appear" to your child, how does your child describe this friend. Have you asked the child to may draw you a picture of this friend? Have you asked what kind of games they play? Is there anything different in these games than what you have seen before with your child? I am not trying to be an alarmist, but again while it is normal development for some children to have imaginary playmates, there has been a recent increase over the last 10-20 years where child physcologist have found evidence that these playmates are an indication of situations that a parent needs to monitor closely. It could be just the childs imaginationn at play, but these days you can never take chances with one of the most precious gifts the Lord has given to you.

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