Imaginary Friends Are Good For Children
New research says that imaginary friends can have a positive impact on children's lives.
Parents who are concerned that their child has a make-believe friend should not be worried as these 'friends' are a sign of an imaginative child and help to increase their creativity and self-esteem. Researchers at the Institute of Education in London also found that imaginary friends made children more confident and articulate.
"Imaginative children will create imaginary friends," said Karen Majors, an educational psychologist who carried out the research. "Companionship is a big part of it. They can be a way of boosting self-confidence. Parents sometimes think, 'Is this healthy and how long should it go on for?' But it is a normal phenomenon for normal children. And it's very healthy." Researchers have estimated that as many as 65 per cent of children have had an imaginary companion at some point.
Girls tend to adopt younger imaginary companions, while boys tend to opt for older, more heroic characters. The researchers also found that children without siblings, or with a big age gap, were more likely to invent imaginary friends. Children who were bullied also imagined up friends, but more often than not, make-believe friends were conjured up because a child was refused a much-wanted pet.
Ms Majors said, "I interviewed one little girl who had a pony called Minty for several years." Or at least she said she did!