I was aware pre-schoolers have imaginary friends and that is absolutely normal. But when my 6 year old started talking about ‘Sidney’ – I decided to research if this was okay. Child psychology fascinates me, as well as adult psychology.
Apparently, school aged children with imaginary friends can be more in-tune with emotional needs and connected emotionally to their parents. I’m aware my 6 year old, is an old soul type, a deep thinker and mature for his age, as has been noted by his teachers. He was recently given another ‘excellence in behaviour’ award.
We’ve had lots of talks about Sidney, and I always validate Sidney exists and ask questions. I know what he what looks like (he eyes just like me my son explained) and he is a ‘sensible’ friend. I giggled when my son said Sidney was his sensible friend, because his friends in school were not sensible. They are silly.
I hear him chatting to Sidney, when he is playing on his own. My son likes his own company … and Sidney’s of course.
He also has completely normal social skills and interactions with children of all ages, and adults. In fact, he is more sensible than some adults. He is an old soul, I see that.
I was glad to see this http://www.apa.org/monitor/jan05/imaginary.aspx
I discussed this with my counsellor, who let me know this is ‘introjection’ and very normal for young children. She also stated my son saying Sidney has “big brown eyes like mummy” – means he has taken a very important part of me, and incorporated that into his imaginary friend. Which is significant, and shows the deep connection I have with my son.
I felt quite chuffed at that. I always hope I am doing a decent job of raising my children and pray their childhood, will be ‘good enough’.