Imaginary friends are what get most of us through childhood and have inspired countless movies and TV shows, think drop dead fred Y Glad!
Did you have an imaginary friend? If so, what happened to them? If the statistics are true, and two-thirds of us have had one at some point in our childhood, why don’t we remember them or, indeed, keep them?
If it weren’t for our parents being the memories of our invisible friends, it seems we wouldn’t remember them at all. Recent studies on the phenomenon have found that imaginary friends begin around age 2 and last up to age 7. Some are constant companions, others appear from time to time.
Some have particular names and characteristics, some are human, some take the form of aliens, reptiles and even anthropomorphic animals, dolls and special objects, while others cut and change as often as your child’s emotional mindset. Some even go so far as to create a paracosm: an entire world with a landscape, history, and native inhabitants.
But are they real or imaginary? That really depends on who you ask. The status quo seems to support the idea that an imaginary friend It is a psychological phenomenon in which a friendship takes place in the imagination rather than in physics reality.
Most spiritual teachers and psychic mediums will say yes, they are real. Science leans toward the notion that if you can’t touch it or see it, it can’t be real. However, they both believe that it is a healthy natural tool to help you navigate through the formative years and sometimes a bit beyond.
Psychic medium Rebecca Rosen has served as a conduit between the spirit world and our everyday world, and believes that imaginary friends are metaphysical guides. “Yes, they are real. Our invisible friends are actually spirit guides or guardian angels who come to visit us.”.
She believes that children up to around 5 years old are very open to this form of communication and that imaginary friends are part of their ‘team spirit.’
Like a metaphysical life coach, or a truly intelligent compassionate friend who offers inspiration, advice, or some general comfort in times of loneliness or boredom, an imaginary friend can be very helpful.
Dr Evan Kidd of the Australian National University says the phenomenon is largely misunderstood. He believes that having imaginary friends is normal and associated with very positive outcomes.
We had a chat with Dr. Kidd about his thoughts on imaginary friends.
Q: Do you see that the stigma behind imaginary friends is outdated?
Yes. It is important to remember that children’s imaginary friends are a normal part of child development and are a way for children to express a very common and important behavior: play.
Q: Would you like to see parents and the general public informed about the positive benefits of an imaginary friend?
I think the most important thing is that people understand the importance of play in general, whether it’s making up an imaginary friend or other types of play, from physical play (eg playing with teams in the park) to sociodramatic play (eg, posing as someone else). Play is a very important part of childhood and is associated with many positive outcomes, from healthy physical development to language and healthy social-emotional development. However, because it is something we see as something children ‘just do’, its value is sometimes overlooked.
Q: Since an imaginary friend is a very private experience for a child, do you think it’s possible that all children have them?
No, but it’s fine! Inventing an imaginary friend requires the right conditions. For example, they are much more common in firstborn and only children, who probably make them up because they have enough time away from other children for a character to emerge (keep in mind that they are not alone, they have their friend! And research shows that these children often have as many real friends as children with siblings). Children with a lower birth order can be just as creative and enjoy play as much, but because they have real siblings to play with, they tend to make up fewer imaginary friends (unless they are a big age difference). And of course, some children prefer different types of play activities that don’t involve fantasy, just like as adults, some of us prefer to watch documentaries and some of us prefer to watch fantasy-oriented movies and TV shows.
Q: Who is your favorite imaginary friend in literature or film?
I love Calvin and Hobbes, because of its simplicity and the way it shows such a sweet relationship between the two characters.
Imaginary or not, it begs the larger question: What is imagination?
I hate when kids have imaginary friends because what do you mean she’s after me?
— ken 🌙 (@ken__faith) September 21, 2022