Why Children Create Imaginary Friends

Why Children Create Imaginary Friends

Did you have an imaginary friend as a child? Many of us have, and we’re not always sure as to why we created them in the first place. As a child, an imaginary friend can become as vivid and real as if they were physically there. They have conversations with them, play with them and sometimes even do things such as make another plate of food for them. It’s an innocent thing children do, but why?

Today we will be discussing why children create imaginary friends. There are many reasons why they create these figments of their imaginations, and why they become so real to them. We will also be talking about when an imaginary friend goes from innocent to concerning. What may seem mostly innocent to adults, there may be an underlying cause to these imaginary friends.


They Need Someone To Talk To

One of the main reasons why children create imaginary friends is because they need someone to talk to. Whether it’s because they’re an only child, they don’t have many friends or don’t have a trusted adult to confide in, an imaginary friend becomes an outlet for their emotions. This imaginary friend, while a figment of their imagination, can console them in times of need while also providing them with a fun outlet to play.

While not concerning on the surface, ONLY confiding in an imaginary friend isn’t always healthy. This is because imaginary friends are a piece of the child’s personality. They tell the child what they want to hear, and will not help them grow by learning. If you notice that your child is interacting with an imaginary friend more than with real friends, then it may help to talk with them and interact with them on a more constant basis.


It Helps Them Cope

Often times, children create imaginary friends cope with traumatic events. If these children are in a household that’s full of abuse – be it physical or emotional – imaginary friends are a coping mechanism that allows them to feel wanted and safer. As stated above, these imaginary friends can help console them or even distract them from the events that are unfolding.

Often times, imaginary friends will stick with children longer than normal if they are being abused. This is because they don’t feel as though they have any sense of security from any adults or people in their household, and an imaginary friend acts as a sense of the security they need. They become a sense of psychological protection, and as the child grows and heals from the abuse, the imaginary friend may disappear.


Should You Worry If Your Child Has An Imaginary Friend?

For the most part, no – an imaginary friend is often times a normal part of growing up. For young children, an imaginary friend is a product of their vivid imaginations and help them better understand the world as well as develop their social skills. For the most part, imaginary friends tend to disappear once the young child has started school and starts developing real-life social relationships.


Many of us have had imaginary friends as young children. It’s a product of the vivid imagination that children often times have – something that tends to dissolve as we grow older. However, imaginary friends can also have a sinister side and can be used as coping mechanisms for children who have faced abuse. But for the most part, imaginary friends are just a part of growing up, and are no cause for concern for your child!