Imaginary Friends Can Be Positive
If your preschooler has concocted an imaginary friend, chances are, she's not the only kid on the block doing this. In fact, the authors of "What to Expect: The Toddler Years" contend that nearly two-thirds of children 3 to 4 years old drum up a pretend pal.
For some kids, this friend is ever-present, while for others, their "playmate" drops by just occasionally for fun. Some kids even create more than one imaginary friend.
Why do kids do this? Often it's a means of creating a modicum of control in their life. An imaginary friend never talks back, is rarely domineering, and makes a nice scapegoat to blame misdeeds on.
While parents may worry that creating a make-believe playmate signals that their child is lonely or disturbed, most experts agree that imagination in a child is a good thing. Studies on adults who invented imaginary playmates as children found that they tended to be sociable, cooperative, creative, and successful people.