At the age of 3, my son Jaden, had a friend named Luke. Everywhere we went, Luke wasn’t far behind. In the morning, Luke was there while my son was getting ready for school. In the afternoon, Luke was sitting right next to him while he was doing his homework. It was Luke, who drew a smiley face of the living room wall. It was also Luke, who was responsible for spilling a gallon of milk one day.
One day, I accidentally sat on Luke and broke his leg. Considering that Luke was his imaginary friend, there was no need for a visit to the emergency room.
Yes, you read correctly. Luke was my son’s imaginary friend.
According to FamilyResource.com, imaginary friends provide the following benefits:
- They can be wonderful companions for pretend play, which is an important way to stimulate creativity and imagination. Having an invisible friend can make those long trips to the moon or back in time a little less lonely.
- They can act as a child's trusted confidant when there's no one else to tell their secrets to. Even small children have issues that are too private to tell us.
- They can help kids figure out the difference between right and wrong. Kids sometimes have a tough time stopping themselves from doing things they know are wrong. Blaming the imaginary friend for eating cookies before dinner is often a sign that the child understands right vs. wrong distinctions but isn't quite ready to assume complete responsibility for her actions.
- They can give you some valuable insights into your child's feelings. Listening to your child bravely comfort an invisible friend who's about to get a shot may be a clue that your child is more afraid than she's letting on.
I truly think, because my son was (and still is) an only child, is why Luke came into existence. I made sure that I didn’t let him blame all of his mishaps on Luke, because I figured that would give him the idea that he could get away with certain things. Also, I did draw the line when it came to a few other things as well. I remember for instance we were out shopping, and I purchased a toy for him. He practically had a tantrum when I told him I didn’t have any intentions on purchasing a toy for Luke as well. I told him that if he really wanted to be a good friend to Luke, that he would share his toy.
I remember growing up, my mother discouraged the ‘imaginary’ friend talk. I would insist that, my imaginary friend “Starlight” was real, but she quickly shot that down. She figured why would I need an imaginary friend to play with, when I had two sisters & a brother. I usually answered with, “Because she listens to me”. Needless to say, I was the bossy type, then & now.
With my son, I didn’t see the harm in him having an imaginary friend. I think it taught him the basic fundamentals of sharing, since he didn’t have any siblings and I think it broadened his imagination & creativity, especially since it took a lot of creativity for the types of things they ‘both’ would get in trouble for!
By the time my son reached his 4th birthday, there was never any other mention of Luke. I guess Luke just went away one day and never came back. When my son turned 6, he got his first dog. He was a Yorkie that had bundles of energy. When I brought him home for the first time, I told my son that he could name him whatever he wanted. The first thing that came out of his mouth was Luke Pt.2! I guess there are some things children never forget!
More from parenting