Child Has Imaginary Friend

Dear Sara,

My four year old son talks about his friend that only he can see. He can describe the friend who seem to have black hair, is very short and has a long nose and black eyes. Sometimes the friend has on a red shorts and a blue shirt. When my son goes to bed I can often hear him talking to this friend he calls Jonah. Is this something I should be worried about?

Dear Sherry,

It’s not too unusual for a young child to have an imaginary friend. If this is the only thing out of the ordinary that your son imagines then you probably don’t need to worry. Does he have other children to play with? If not then you might want to enroll him in some kind of preschool program so that he can have some real friends. He may be trying to compensate for a lack of interaction with other kids.

He should outgrow this imaginary friend by age six or seven but if he doesn’t you might want to have him evaluated by a professional. On the positive side he could grow up to be a great writer with this kind of vivid imagination.

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