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Thread: An imaginary friend?

  1. #1

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    Default An imaginary friend?

    I had a long chat with two of Charlie's carers are daycare today and they mentioned to me that they are almost certain that Charlie has an imaginary friend.

    Some examples they gave me: In the sandpit he will make two castles, one for him and one next to him, and he apparently chatters away to the blank spot next to him as if someone is there. He doesn't speak very well yet but he gestures and smiles and babbles to this empty space next to him very convincingly. Also when they're asked to find a friend and hold hands to go wash up after outside play, he makes out like he's holding someone's hand all the way in. And even makes a big thing of 'shaking' the friend's hand off when they get in. The carers have been observing him for a while now and came to the conclusion it was definitely an imaginary friend before mentioning it to me.

    They asked me if I've noticed it at home, and aside from him chattering away to himself sometimes, I can't really say I have! I asked DH and he too hasn't seen any signs of this 'friend'.

    I know that imaginary friends are quite normal, though usually they appear after the age of 3 (and Charlie's just turned two). But the thing I'm wondering is if he doesn't seem to have this 'friend' at home, do you think it's a coping mechanism for the stress of daycare?

    Mind you, he seems to love daycare and can't seem to get out of my arms fast enough to take off and play when we get there. Plus he's apparently quite popular with the other kids, so it's not about a lack of real friends.

    I don't know if I should even be worrying about it.


  2. #2

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    I'm sorry, I am not going to be of any help. Just wanted to say that he is waaay better off than me .. my imaginary friend when I was 2 and a half were a baby chicken!!!!

    I think it might be that he does it to cope with stress at daycare. Have you asked him about it? Why not ask if you could "meet" this friend, have him/her over for dinner?? That way you could maybe get an idea why he has this friend.
    Could be that he is finding it difficult to chat with the other kids in day-care and thus this "friend" was born. Like you said, he does not speak well yet Might have a problem when playing with the real friends to tell them what he would like to do, kwim??? Don't know if that made sense ... maybe I should just go play with my chicken

    I think it might be best to just watch him and ask the day-carers to keep an eye on him. And I am sure you don't need to worry, I agree with you, imaginary friends are quite normal.

    Goodluck

  3. #3

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    I had two imaginary friends. their names were Cindy Bananas and Capilano Honey (!). My sister had one too. I think it normal, we both turned out ok anyway. Its a sign of an active imagination IMO, which I think is a good thing. As long as seems to be enjoying day care and not stressed by it I wouldn't worry too much.

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    Sorry, I don't know if it's a coping mechanism either but my sister had an imaginary friend called Mrs Darling and would have tea parties with her in the loo! Then one day she announced to mum that Mrs Darling had gone and she had said goodbye to her.

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    Thank for your replies. It's funny that you mention the speaking thing Nadine because his daycarers think it could be that because a lot of the kids don't speak well yet, and he gets to babble to this 'friend' that it's a release of the pressure from having to constantly try to communicate. At home he'll go into looong spiels of non-sensical babble to his dad, and his dad always humours him and pretends they're having a proper conversation. I wonder if he's made this 'friend' up because he doesn't get that sort of interaction at daycare.

    The carers have reiterated that he gets on with other kids like a house on fire (one of my concerns) and that he has a real best friend, a boy named Tristan, and they hang out together. So whether it's just his overactive imagination, or someone he can 'talk' to who actually understand him, I don't know.

    Lol at the chicken!!! And Capilano Honey! Loooove that name! Lol!!

    ETA must have posted at the same time Fionas. I had an imaginary friend growing up too and I think he just went away after a while, too. I can't remember what exactly happened. Maybe he immigrated to the another country? LOLOL!
    Last edited by sushee; June 13th, 2008 at 10:16 AM.

  6. #6

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    are you sure it is imaginary - what if he's connected to (for want of a better word but not with a bad connetation) a ghost or spirit.

    children at that age don't question their psychic ability, so it is perfectly normal for them

  7. #7

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    Jack has one from time to time. He also seems to pretend that I am there when I am not. Like one day when I was at work DH, MIL and FIL took the boys to the railway museum. That night Jack was telling me about it and I said I was sad I couldn't go too. He replied "you were there mummy".

    I wouldn't worry too much. It sounds normal to me. And if it is to cope with some stress then I think it's a good sign that he is able to find a way to cope in a positive way instead of being sad and/or angry. I would say he's advanced for his age and is doing just fine.

  8. #8

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    Thanks MR, Karl said the same thing re being advanced for his age and being creative about coping with stress - that it's a good thing.

    Schaz it's funny that you say that. My mother believes in spirits (as Asians tend to do, despite being devoutly Catholic) and she firmly believes it is the spirit of his 'twin' - the other embryo that was transferred with him that did not take. I too have my thoughts about spirits so am open to the idea, whether or not it is the other embryo, and have no issues with it if it is the case.

  9. #9

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    As he is so young, the thought of a spirit intrigues me. I babysat my cousin a lot years ago, and she CONSTANTLY talked to someone not there. She too was only young. She has gone on to talk to many "imaginary" people, some are family that died before she was born!!

    Mason, my 3rd, was to be twin that didn't make it, and he is a very insightful person. I often wonder if he chooses to be alone a lot, or if he is with his sibling. He often wakes up through the night, telling me the blonde haired girl keeps him awake. He has been doing this since very young, and is now 8. BTW, most of my children are blonde, including me!! Mason is the only dark haired!!

  10. #10
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    Sushee, it may be a spirit he is connected to. I am very spiritual and have had encounters my whole life. I had people who had passed over around me as a young child, one night 3 were sitting on the end of my bed and I used to frequently talk with them.

    I think my daughter sees them too and she is only 5 months old, she'll smile and laugh at nobody there! My father was psychic and my great grandmother was a medium, seems it has been passed down the generations! I really think my father is with Madeleine, he passed away last year when I was 5 months pregnant.

    I would not be worried

  11. #11

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    DD2 has them occasionaly. She'll be running around playing & holding their hands & being mum.

    Now sit there & stay there!

    Sounds just like me. I think its cute & funny. I had one too. His name was David.

  12. #12

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    Sushee I had three imaginary friends as a kid - my mum loves to tell me how "it is a sign of intelligence to have an imaginary friend" LOL!

    My friends were Holly, Willy and Chakka - characters from a show called "Land of the Lost"! At least it sounds like Charlie has enough imagination to come up with his "own" imaginary friends

  13. #13

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    I really think its a normal part of childhood development. my son had an imaginary friend called Simon and Caleb was always checking he was safe and sitting properly in the car with his belt on. My daughter caused me much embarrassment at creche one year as we constructed her birthday party list(4yold)- i called the creche corodinator to confirm if she really was friends with these 15 children. Much to my utter amazement about 8 of them werent at creche;like she told me. They were obviously invented playpals. And yes my daughter is extremely claivoyant as we all are;so maybe that is a realistic explanation.

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