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What gives? Pretend buddies are common, but the reasons for them vary, as does the length of time they stick around. Well, mostly, because they're fun.

Japanese Wallpaper - Imaginary Friends (Official Music Video)

My daughter at ages 3 and 4 used to say, 'I'm going to play with Betsy now,' and then yak away for half an hour in her bedroom. Sometimes, the imaginary friends might also fill in a gap that other playmates don't. In childhood, a way to create your perfect friend is to conjure him up in your mind. Parents of only children, however, don't have to worry that the arrival of a pretend playmate means their child is craving a brother or sister.

QUIZMASTER

Newman says. Of course, imaginary friends aren't really real, but how real are they to your kids? If, suddenly, Candy starts requesting dinner, or breaking things when no one is looking, you have to figure out some ground rules. Interfering too much can cause friction, anger, or power struggles. If Candy's demands start getting out of hand, you're allowed to say no.

Imaginary friends & children | Raising Children Network

Rodman says. Don't let your child's imaginary friend turn into a way for your child to exert massive control over the family. Putting out an extra plate with imaginary food is fine, but serving a whole dinner sends the wrong message. And, at some point or another, children will experiment with acting out under the guise of or at the direction of the pretend buddy.

Newman says. Of course, imaginary friends aren't really real, but how real are they to your kids? If, suddenly, Candy starts requesting dinner, or breaking things when no one is looking, you have to figure out some ground rules. Interfering too much can cause friction, anger, or power struggles. If Candy's demands start getting out of hand, you're allowed to say no. Rodman says. Don't let your child's imaginary friend turn into a way for your child to exert massive control over the family. Putting out an extra plate with imaginary food is fine, but serving a whole dinner sends the wrong message.

And, at some point or another, children will experiment with acting out under the guise of or at the direction of the pretend buddy. Another red flag to watch out for? Preferring the imaginary friend to real ones, which is uncommon and could be a signal something else is going on. Markham says.

Does the child have some social anxiety? Are they being bullied? There is no evidence that shows the presence of a pretend friend can be linked to future IQ, but research does show some commonalities among children who have them.

Do they develop this skill from having an imaginary friend, or do they already have this skill, which makes it easier to imagine the experience of the imaginary friend? It's unclear whether this link has got anything to do with imaginary friends or whether it is all down to the trauma of having suffered child abuse, with imaginary friends instead playing a comforting role.

So while we know a lot about childhood imaginary friends such as Crabby Crab, and the positive effects they can have, there is still a lot to learn about imaginary friends and how our childhood experiences with them might make us see the world differently. Explore further. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article. Please sign in to add a comment.

40 Funny Tweets From Parents About Their Kids' Imaginary Friends

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