Should my daughter still have imaginary friends?

Ren Andra - posted on 06/01/2014 ( 5 moms have responded )

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My daughter, Lydia, is 16 years of age. She told me she has 60 imaginary friends. She talks about all of them all of the time. When I asked her if they are real, she said they are. They go everywhere with her. We will be in the grocery store, and she will be talking out loud to them. Is this something I should be concerned about? Should I take her to a psychologist? I really do not know what I should do.

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Brianna - posted on 07/21/2016

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Though this is an old post, I feel compelled to respond in hopes of helping, as I am disturbed by how many times/places I have seen someone (many times, it has been the same "someone") give very bad advice and blame her lack of knowledge and understanding of child development on religion. As a Christian myself, I find it ridiculous, offensive, and dangerous when fundamentalists attempt to minister/manipulate through pseudo-science and blame it on God, the devil, etc. Please know that, up to roughly age 6-7, imaginary friends are perfectly normal, and even a healthy extension of childhood imagination. While they can appear as a way of dealing with trauma, they can also appear in perfectly healthy, happy children. According to a recent academic publication, "children with imaginary companions (either invisible friends or personified objects) tend to be less shy, engage in more laughing and smiling with peers, and do better at tasks involving imagining how someone else might think." However, all that said, if it continues past the age of 7(ish), it's probably time to question the behavior. If your daughter is 16, I'm sorry to say that it's likely she's dealing with something a bit more serious than an overactive imagination, and should be checked out by a psychiatrist and/or psychologist. It's possible that these are early signs of schizophrenia, and shouldn't be ignored. Good luck mama-- I pray everything is ok and has worked out for the best by now!!

Jamie - posted on 10/12/2015

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The bible says Satan will try to trick you. Pray with your daughter. What she's seeing is real to her.. and no psychologist can help that. You should trust in the lord and ask him for help. Help her become a believer of Jesus he truly is the only one who can help.

Guest - posted on 06/01/2014

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No, she should no longer have imaginary friends after the age of 7 or 8 years at the very oldest. Imaginary friends are a mechanism for coping with emotional stimuli while the brain is still in developmental stages. They should fade well before adolescence. Furthermore, any more than one imaginary friend is usually a sign of developmental disturbance and should be addressed by a psychiatrist as soon as possible. In most cases, it is nothing serious and can be overcome in only a few sessions and without any medications, but if your child is already 16 years old, she may be well past the point in development where simple therapies could have helped her.
Get her to see a licensed psychiatrist as soon as possible to begin treatment.

Michelle - posted on 06/01/2014

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I would be taking her to the doctor. I'm not a specialist but it could be schizophrenia or something similar.

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