Lonely Children Create Pretend Pals

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Lonely Children Create Pretend Pals
Many children grow up lonely with no one to confide in and this isolation pushes a quarter of them to create imaginary friends during their childhood.

These make-believe mates are conjured up as children lack real-life playmates with 28% saying they served as a real friend or sibling replacement. More than half of the 2,000 questioned said their imaginary friend was an outlet to tell secrets to, and one in five saw them as someone to go to school with, hinting that young children sometimes turn to their imagination for security and a sense of belonging.

Child psychologist Pat Spungin says, 'Having an imaginary friend can be very beneficial and enhance a child's development, and it is encouraging to see that 70% of adults support their children creating imaginary friends. While imaginary friends are a good practice ground for young people to test boundaries and social skills it is still important for them to learn how to integrate and play alongside their peers.'

And what the celebrities imagined...

"When I was 7 a little girl would help me write fairy tales. My imaginary friend was called Gemma." - Lauren Pope

"My imaginary friend was called Charlie. I once went through my mother's family photo album cutting out the heads of various family members and blamed it on Charlie. As a child I used to tell my Mum that Charlie was my very tall, cool and popular friend who looked after me!" - Brian Belo - Big Brother winner 2008

"I had an imaginary friend, called Oompah, and what is strange is I can remember exactly what he looked like... so was he imaginary after all? He never got me in trouble he was just my friend." - Angela Griffin

Full Survey Results

National Figures

25% had an imaginary friend
43% were under 5 when they created their imaginary friend
40% created their imaginary friend between 5 and 7 years old
48% said their imaginary friend was another child
57% said their imaginary friend was an outlet to tell secrets to
27% said their imaginary friend served as a replacement for a real friend or sibling
21% said their imaginary friend served as someone to go to school with them
62% of parents said they thought imaginary friends helped a child's development
63% of parents think that having an imaginary friend makes a child more creative
72% of parents would be happy for their child to have an imaginary friend

Tickbox conducted the survey amongst 1,764 adults.

More..... Family | Parenting

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