K.S. asks from Kansas City, MO on January 05, 2010
Imaginary Friends - Kansas City,MO
Hello all you wonderful mama’s out there. About a year ago you all gave me some great advice & comfort that my 3 year old imaginary friends were normal and fun! We have had fun with them for the last year or maybe too. Last August she started pre-school once she started she kind of quit mentioning her “friends” then she did start to make comments that she didn’t want to be friends with her imaginary friends any more. I just told her that was OK, she didn’t have to be friends with them if she didn’t want too…. But yesterday she surprised me. I picked her up from pre-school and she was standing by herself, not playing with the other kids. When we were leaving she told me she was doing that because “togot” her friend would not leave her alone. She kept telling him to leave her alone and he wouldn’t & she felt confused. I was kind of lost for words. I know imaginary friends are common and can be fun, but what now?? Is it normal to have a transition like this between not wanting to pretend anymore or should I be really worried that her imaginary friends are upsetting her & preventing her from interacting with the other kids at school??
E.S. answers from Kansas City on January 05, 2010
I'm a firm believer that kids see more in this world than us adults ever can. I would tell her that she doesn't have to listen to her imaginary friend and that it is ok for her to play with all the other children. It may help if you tell the imaginary friend to leave and never come back. Sometimes a kid just doesn't know how to stand up for themselves to other imaginary or not. Sound like she is just confused about interating with others. It eventually will get better but expect there to be some rough spots. My daughter is almost two and she talks to her toys and her dragons on the wall like they are going to talk back. I say its ok all because at least she is talking.
Just remember sometimes the imaginary friend is a way to work out inner thoughts and feelings along with conflict. It could be she is working on her self esteem. good luck and cross your fingers for the best.
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B.S. answers from Joplin on January 06, 2010
I didn't have this with my kids. They never really carried it that far, but I think I agree with your other poster.
I think maybe she wants to let it go, but is feeling a little reluctant about it because y'all have had so much fun with it, and because that imaginary friend was so "safe" and familiar.
Try telling her it's OK to tell her imaginary friend that it is time to go find other friends to play with. She can tell him/her that it is what happens when kids grow up and go to school. Tell her that if she wants to, it is OK to check in with her old friend now and then if she misses him, but you are very sure he will be just fine, and so will she.
After that I would daily ask her questions about her new friends at school. What are their names ? Who are her best friends and why ? What does she like to play with them ? Would she like some of them to come play at your house now and then ?
Show as much interest and excitement about her school friends as you did about her imaginary friend.
Letting go of an imaginary friend, for some kids, can be as difficult as letting go of a security blanket for others. Others are still sucking their thumbs in kindergarten and struggling to leave that behind. School is a BIG change in their lives in so many ways, and they want to go with it, yet they are very afraid to leave that safe "baby" status behind.
Keep us posted.
And before you start beating yourself up as a parent ...... I came from a VERY secure, loving home, with awesome parents, yet I struggled with giving up an imaginary friend, a security blanket AND sucking my thumb when I went to kindergarten. (They didn't have preschool in those days. Even kindergarten was a new concept.) Some people think kids who have these "vices" are insecure kids. The opposite is true. ALL kids need comforting, but kids who do these things have learned early to comfort themselves, and are not as dependent on parents or others to always meet that need for them.
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A. answers from St. Louis on January 07, 2010
Maybe she doesn't have to say goodbye to her imaginary friends at all, but can have a talk with them about when they can come play. Maybe they need to go to their school while she's at preschool, and can come over to your house to play sometimes, but only when she invites them (or something like that). I think you should ask her if she'd like to have a talk with them about how they don't have to go away for good, but that there need to be some ground rules. And if she likes that idea, maybe you could ask her when she thinks it would be good for them to be allowed. At home (you could ask her if she thinks they get in the way of her playing with other children. Of course, maybe they're "safer" friends than school kids, who can be unpredictable and hard to figure out)? Only on weekends? At naptime? She should feel in control of this, and as transitions are hard enough for young children, maybe it doesn't have to be so final.
My daughter sort of has imaginary friends- she named her feet Toe and Andy when she was maybe 2 1/2 or 3 and they were little beings with personalities- and they've kind of just gone by the wayside. Every once in a while they make an appearance, but it's been months since she's mentioned them. It's sort of a non-issue. Good luck, and just do what feels right for your daughter, not what you think anyone else thinks is "normal".
J.T. answers from St. Louis on January 06, 2010
Have you spoken with her teachers? Ask them if she has problems interacting with the other children. It it is the case, have her evaluated to see what is going on. Some kids with learning disabilities have problems relating to others. She could also be gifted. Finding these issues out (if present) now is really important. I'm not saying this is probably the case, but that it is really important to rule them out. Maybe sign her up for dance or gymnastics classes so she can have a smaller group to make it easier for her to socialise with?
Those are the only suggestions/ideas I came up with.
A.B. answers from Wichita on January 06, 2010
I agree w janette. I would talk to her teachers. Maybe one of the other children are picking on her, and she's just saying its her imaginary friends doing so.
D.J. answers from St. Louis on January 06, 2010
Your daughter could be gifted in other paranormal ways it is very hard for us to imagine that it is possiable, i would exhaust all the other advice given, but if she continues after that and appears to be bothered beyond normal, i would consider checking with a paranormal specialist, someone who is respected in this field. Only as a last resort but it is always a possiability that this could be a spirit that is bothering her.
A.B. answers from Kansas City on January 10, 2010
Well, I certainly don't want to scare you, and I think it is most likely that it is one of the other reasons previous posters have suggested (trouble adjusting to school, being teased by another, real child and blaming it on the imaginary friend, being uncertain about how to break it off with the imaginary friend, etc.), but if all else fails and she continues to have unwanted imaginary friends, you should consider the possibility that she is schizophrenic and have her evaluated. Sadly, that is more likely than the possibility that she is communicating with spirits. Or maybe it's the same thing, I don't know. I'm sure she'll get over it soon.