Is it normal for my child to have an imaginary friend?

By Ron Huxley

Does your child have an imaginary friend? Are you concerned that this may be unhealthy? Parents tend to worry a bit about their child when one day they come to us and talk about their "imaginary friend".

This is very common in all children and tends to happen between the ages of three and five. Unfortunately, many parents do not understand why their child is creating somebody imaginary and they end up feeling frustrated at their child.

As a loving parent you have taken a step in the right direction by reading this article. Why? Because you are going to feel good knowing that it is perfectly safe for your child to have created an imaginary friend, or perhaps more than one of these fake companions.

In fact, these imaginary friends are an important part of growing up. You may not remember having one yourself when you were a child, but I can almost guarantee that you did. Having imaginary friends is also a very creative function of a child.

You must understand that it is very hard for a youth to explain themselves or communicate well in words with adults. This "friend" then becomes almost like a gateway of communication between you and your child. It will help your young one deal with emotions and problems that he might otherwise not be able to handle.

A perfect example of this is when he is feeling lonely, bored, or in need of attention when you are not around. These emotions can make anyone feel very upset, especially a child under the age of five. So this imaginary friend might help him deal with a new school he has to transfer to, or adjust to a new home where there are not many friends, or perhaps if a new baby comes into the house and is getting all of the attention now.

Children have miraculous ways of dealing with life's issues and confusions, especially when they create this fake person that helps them get through it. Let's take fear for example. Children may create an imaginary animal, such as a dog, to help him overcome the fear of real dogs because he would like to have one himself.

Also, when children feel unaccepted or over-controlled by his parents, then he may invent an imaginary person who he pretends treats him as the way he wished Mommy and Daddy treated him. It sounds sad I know, but the minds of our kids are so young, so pure, and so fresh.

Children are not like us. They have not experienced all of these uneasy feelings in life and learned to deal with them. So from now on you should embrace this imaginary friend and find out more about him by asking questions. You just may learn a lot more about your child than you thought you could.

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By: Stanley Popovich

All most everybody worries about what will happen to a child when he or she runs away. The prospect of not knowing if something good or bad will happen can produce a lot of fear and anxiety. As a result, here is a list of techniques and suggestions on how to manage this fear of dealing with a child who has run away.

Remember is that no one can predict the future with one hundred percent certainty. Even if the thing that you feared does happen there are circumstances and factors that you can’t predict which can be used to your advantage. For instance, let’s say at your place of work that you miss the deadline for a project you have been working on for the last few months. Everything you feared is coming true. Suddenly, your boss comes to your office and tells you that the deadline is extended and that he forgot to tell you the day before. This unknown factor changes everything. Remember: we may be ninety-nine percent correct in predicting the future, but all it takes is for that one percent to make a world of difference.

This little fact can make a real difference because our worries tend to focus on worse case scenarios. By understanding that even the smallest of factors can affect a situation, this should give us hope that something positive will come out of these circumstances.

Challenge your negative thinking with positive statements and realistic thinking. When encountering thoughts that make your fearful or depressed, challenge those thoughts by asking yourself questions that will maintain objectivity and common sense. For example, you are afraid that if you do not get that job promotion then you will be stuck at your job forever. This depresses you, however your thinking in this situation is unrealistic. The fact of the matter is that there all are kinds of jobs available and just because you don’t get this job promotion doesn’t mean that you will never get one. In addition, people change jobs all the time, and you always have that option of going elsewhere if you are unhappy at your present location.

When your child runs away it is important to focus on the facts of the situation and not focus on our worries. Worry exaggerates the problem and doesn’t follow realistic thinking. Remember to get the facts of the situation. You get the facts by talking to the authorities who are familiar with these kinds of things. Once you focus on the facts the next step is to determine a solution to this situation based on those particular facts.

Learn to take it one day at a time. Instead of worrying about how you will get through the rest of the week, try to focus on today. Each day can provide us with different opportunities to learn new things and that includes learning how to deal with your problems. You never know when the answers you are looking for will come to your doorstep.

Worrying about what will happen next week is a waste of time. Things can change from day to day. You also learn new things and you gain experience. When a child runs away it is difficult to focus on the present but that is what you need to do.

Remember take a deep breath and try to find something to do to get your mind off of you anxieties and stresses. A person could take a walk, listen to some music, read the newspaper, watch TV, play on the computer or do an activity that will give them a fresh perspective on things. This will distract you from your current worries with your child.

A lot of times, our worrying can make the problem even worse. All the worrying in the world will not change anything. All you can do is to do your best each day, hope for the best, and when something does happen, take it in stride. If you still have trouble managing your anxiety of the future, then talking to a counselor or clergyman can be of great help.

Take advantage of the help that is available around you. If possible, talk to a professional who can help you manage your depression and anxieties. They will be able to provide you with additional advice and insights on how to deal with your current problem. By talking to a professional, a person will be helping themselves in the long run because they will become better able to deal with their problems in the future. Remember that it never hurts to ask for help.

Ask God For Help. Start talking and praying to God. Go to church or to a quiet place during the day to tell God that you are having this problem. In this particular case, you are dealing with the fear of the unknown regarding your child. Tell God how you feel and that you really could use his help and then say some prayers. After this, review the Bible and read some articles on trusting in God and then apply these concepts your given situation, which can be hard at times. Each and every day make it up a habit to talk to God and ask for his help.

Developing a faith to a higher power can be very effective in dealing with your fears. God is powerful and he has the ability to look over your child and keep him or her safe.

To help manage your negative thoughts, a person should visualize a red stop sign in their mind when they encounter a fear provoking thought. When the negative thought comes, a person should think of a red stop sign that serves as a reminder to stop focusing on that thought and to think of something else. A person can then try to think of something positive to replace the negative thought.

A technique that is very helpful is to have a small notebook of positive statements that makes you feel good. Whenever you come across an affirmation that makes you feel good, write it down in a small notebook that you can carry around with you in your pocket. Whenever you feel depressed or frustrated, open up your small notebook and read those statements. This will help to manage your negative thinking.

In every anxiety-related situation you experience, begin to learn what works, what doesn’t work, and what you need to improve on in managing your fears and anxieties. For instance, you have a lot of anxiety and you decide to take a walk to help you feel better. The next time you feel anxious you can remind yourself that you got through it the last time by taking a walk. This will give you the confidence to manage your anxiety the next time around.

Alcohol and substance abuse or any other addictions will not take away your problems and fears. Remember that alcohol and substance abuse or any other addictions will not take away your problems and fears. In the short run, they might make you feel better, but in the long run these addictions will only make things worse.

During these difficult times, it is important to stay open-minded and focus. Drinking or taking drugs will only make things worse. They are not the answer to your problems.

Be smart in how you deal with your fears and anxieties. Do not try to tackle everything all at once. When facing a current or upcoming task that overwhelms you with a lot of anxiety, break the task into a series of smaller steps. Completing these smaller tasks one at a time will make the stress more manageable and increases your chances of success.

For instance, let’s say that you get up in the morning and you are completely overrun by fear and worry over your child running away. When this happens, try to do one task at a time. Tell yourself that I am going to make breakfast even though I am sick with worry. Take your time. Once you make breakfast you can tell yourself that you were able to do a task even though you felt like you couldn’t do it. Then convince yourself to do another task like reading the newspaper. The goal is to not sit around and do nothing while your worry overwhelms you. Keep active in doing the small tasks. As you do more tasks you will be more productive and you will be able you to feel better in the long run.

There are other ways to deal with the fear of your child running away. Remember that things may seem hopeless, but they are not.
The main point of this article is that no matter how difficult it is to manage your fear, the answers are out there if you look hard enough. It might take some hard work and persistence, but it is possible to work through your fears and anxieties of your particular situation. In the end, it is all in the hands of God.


Stan Popovich is the author of "A Layman's Guide to Managing Fear Using Psychology, Christianity and Non Resistant Methods" - an easy to read book that presents a general overview of techniques that are effective in managing persistent fears and anxieties. For additional information go to: http://www.managingfear.com/