WARNING: The first paragraph is kind of creepy so if you are scared of the boogieman then I would skip it.
My girlfriend once told me that the names of imaginary friends are actually names of children that have died in your house. That’s an awesome urban legend isn’t it? Her imaginary friend’s name was Jolef, which is a fairly random name to come up with when you are five. She googled the name when she was older and it turns out there was a child named Jolef that died in her parents’ house long before they lived there. Creepy right? We’ll chalk that up to a very, very weird coincidence and not that my friend can see dead people. She actually denied this story when I recently asked her about it so one of us might be crazy and I think her name rhymes with farah (for clarity: me).
Imaginary friends are a natural part of growing up and can be a child’s way of dealing with a new or changing situation.
My daughter does not have an imaginary friend, but instead has an imaginary family. She tries to get her big brother to play along and at one point he had 18, 5 year old kids. A handful to say the least, but at least they are quiet. My daughter has since scaled back and she now has 3 imaginary kids. We don’t know anything more about them, apparently they don’t have names, which allows me to sleep better at night. But they really like grilled cheese sandwiches and we always have to wait until they are buckled in in the car, fortunately, they can buckle in themselves.
I really don’t mind playing along, I actually find it very entertaining and more insightful than anything. I like that she speaks nicely to her kids. It is actually a fascinating look into what is going on in her mind.
It was often thought that only children or children who are not socialized are kids that have imaginary friends and this is not the case at all. Sixty-five percent of young kids will have a make believe friend. Imaginary friends can help kids with a new situation, my daughter just started at a new school so this is likely her way of coping with the change. They can also help a child cope with learning a new skill, and for some the sole purpose is that the make believe is fun according to Psychology Today.
For now, I’ll rest easy, knowing that her imaginary kids make her happy so I’ll continue to play with her brood and make them lunch. That is, until they take on names, then I may have to plug my ears and feign deafness.
Tell me about your kids’ imaginary friend stories. Please. They are always so cute.