Friday, December 19, 2008

Imaginary Friends

I want to send out a belated Happy Birthday to Molly Daniels!!!!

Imaginary friends. Did you have one? Did or does your child have one? My oldest son had two actually…well three, maybe, if you count Jesus. He had a male friend named Jacob Trent, a dog named Peddy, and he often talked with Jesus. Sometimes he and Jesus would plant flowers together in the yard. When asked where his imaginary friends lived, he insisted that they lived with God.

The internet says imaginary friends are a figment of a child’s imagination and often act as guardians and/or protectors. My son’s imaginary friends had elaborate personalities and behaviors. They were always present and sometimes I would have to set an extra plate at dinner for Jacob Trent. Once I remember being told that I was about to sit on Jacob Trent, so I had to ask him to move. Mostly though, his imaginary friends weren’t a bother, except for the one time my son told me that sometimes Jacob Trent didn’t like me very much. I always wondered if that was his—being my son—way of saying he didn’t like me at times. *chuckles* I told him that Jacob Trent was welcome to go back home and not return.

One theory is that children with imaginary friends retain knowledge faster and develop better language skills than those children without them. It’s thought that this is because children with imaginary friends have more linguistic practice from conducting extra conversations with imaginary friends rather than solely with their peers. This may have some merit in my opinion. My oldest son was talking early, while I never thought my youngest was going to ever talk, but my youngest never had an imaginary friend either.

The internet also suggests that maybe imaginary friends aren’t imaginary at all, but spirits or ghosts. My son often saw people that weren’t there. Once he pointed out the window and asked if that “black man and white man” could come in and play with him. When I looked out the window and saw no one and told him that, he jabbed his pudgy finger on the window and insisted that they were “right there”. He clearly could see them, while I could not. And that was not his only occurrence seeing people that weren’t there.

He’s eleven now and has outgrown “imaginary friends” and doesn’t see people that aren’t there any more either. But, I still wonder. Were his imaginary friends just that—imaginary—or were they really ghosts or spirits or something else that were there entertaining him? I don’t know and probably will never know, but it makes me wonder.

So, what do you think? Are imaginary friends just imaginary or are they something else, something more? What have been your experiences with imaginary friends?

I hope everyone has an awesome weekend!

Gracen Miller

5 deadly screams:

Margay said...

I think it's amazing that your son's imaginary friend had a first and a last name - and such a great one, too! When my younger daughter was about five, she had imaginary ponies - lots of them. Each one had its own name and they went everywhere with us (we did a lot of walking then, so those ponies got a workout). When we walked up to the store, my daughter would "tie" each pony to an imaginary post, one by one, giving each one a pet and a goodbye before we went into the store - and she'd reverse the process when we came back out. One time, though, I started to walk away from the store without the ponies and we had to go back to "get" them! Those were the days.

flip said...

My second daughter, Amber Rose, had an imaginary older brother, Zach. She would talk about Zach all f the time.

At one point, Zach left home and went to college.

Gracen Miller said...

Margay, a girlfriend of mine said she had an imaginary pink pony too and she would force her mother to give it water when they traveled. Funny stuff!

Thanks for sharing about your daughter's imaginary ponies. All imaingary friends interesting. It was fun chatting with my son about his imaginary friends. I can just imagine the conversations you and your daughter had about her ponies.

Gracen Miller said...

Flip, I hope you didn't have to pay for Zach's college education. ;-) lol This proves just how imaginative children can be and how smart your daughter is at the same time.

Sierra Wolfe said...

Great post Gracen. I loved reading about your son's imaginary friends.

I can't say that I ever had a real imaginary friend, but when I was little, my uncle and I had a running joke about a imaginary puppy that only we could see. We used to talk about it all the time and drive my grandma and mom crazy with it. They thought we were nuts (at least they thought my uncle was because I was only like 3 or 4 at the time :D ). I remember when my uncle passed away, I took the imaginary dog to the cemetery to keep him company. I made my mom take me there to do that.

I also used to pretend to play with imaginary friends when I was at home. I lived in the country and there weren't any children around my age to play with. So, when I was home, I had to play make believe by myself. I didn't really believe these friends existed, but it was fun anyway. They kept me company during play time.

My daughter never had any imaginary friends that I know of. If she did, she didn't share them with me. Of course, maybe she did like I did and just brought them out at playtime and let them go the rest of the time.

Intersting topic. I enjoyed reading all your experiences with imaginary friends.