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2-year-old with an Imaginary Friend

 

2-year-old with an Imaginary Friend

My 2.5 year old son has begun to talk about his friend, JJ, who always seems to be around, especially when he has gotten in trouble for doing something not nice, like a biting a friend at school. I have asked his teachers and other parents if they know who JJ is and no one knows or heard of this child. I am coming to the realization that JJ may be his first invisible/imaginary buddy, which I am okay with, but I was wondering if you have any advice on imaginary friends? I don't want my son to think it's not okay to have JJ, but I also don't want him to think it's okay to blame JJ for bad behavior.

Imaginary friends are common and healthy (usually). Your son is very young for an imaginary friend and I’m impressed he is verbal enough to tell you about his friends (imaginary or not).

Why don’t you talk to your son and ask him some questions about JJ. We often ask about our children about their friends. We want our children to play with “good children” who behave well and make good decisions. I’d ask if JJ is a good boy. Ask if JJ bites other children. Ask, “ What does JJ say when you bite other children?”.

If he replies that JJ is not a “good boy” or that JJ encourages his own bad behavior, then tell him you do not want him to play with JJ anymore. If it turns out JJ is a good boy then you probably have a great ally in encourage your son’s best behavior.

 

 

Written March 2015 by
Gregory Gordon MD, Orlando Pediatrician

 

 

 

 

 

 

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