As adults, we pride ourselves with not believing what we cannot see – from ghosts to imaginary friends. Even if that means forgetting the fact that it was an imaginary friend that helped us cope with the troubles of growing up. If we find out that our child has an imaginary playmate, we accuse the child of creating his or her own world and disappearing into it, caring only for the embarrassment we have to face in front of others. In the process, we often tend to forget the issues that the child may be facing or dealing with, for which the only vent is an imaginary friend. Here’s all you wished to know about why children have imaginary friends and what is their significance.
Why Children Have Imaginary Playmates
Here are some reasons why a child may invent friends in his or her mind and prefer to play with them from time to time:
If your little boy or girl is an only child and has no siblings, he or she may have one or more imaginary friends. Studies have shown that children who do not have siblings are more likely to have imaginary friends than those who have younger or older siblings. If it is difficult to find friends of their age around the neighbourhood, such children will become increasingly dependent on their imaginary friends for every kind of support and understanding.
If the only friends that your child has are older to him or her and thus rather overbearing and dominating, your child may look towards imaginary friends to find solace. Many a time, children who have been bullied too much create imaginary pals who are easy to talk to and who always let them win or take the lead in any game that is played. The imaginary friend is a part of an imaginary world where the child is superior and is often the winner.
We often tend to forget that children also get stressed out due to various reasons – it could be because they are not being able to cope at school or because they are finding it hard to make friends or it may just be living in the shadow of an older sibling who seems to be much better than them at everything. Often these concerns of a child are misinterpreted, dismissed or brushed aside by their parents, who are too wrapped up in themselves to notice a child’s needs. In all such situations, the child invents an imaginary friend and talks to him or her about all such concerns.
Those children who have imaginary friends are neither stupid nor do they forget the real world. They create a world of their own as an escape when the “real” world gets too much for their sensitivities. They should not be considered stupid or unintelligent. They are, in fact, of more than average intelligence and are often more creative and imaginative as compared to other children of their age.
Sensitive And Articulate
Since they talk to their imaginary friends endlessly, children who have imaginary friends are often more articulate in their speech and would also be more polite and choose their words well. Since they are practicing talking to someone, their verbal skills are more polished. They also tend to dabble in more languages than one as they may speak in not only their mother tongue but also other languages.