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.


  1. Sophia Hernandez says:

    I would definitely be concerned, especially if you live in an area,with history. Find out what his “friend ” tells him or how he makes him feel… ask for details where this “friend ” came from. You may need more help than a preschool.

  2. My granddaughter had an imaginary friend and it was adorable to listen to her having conversations with him. Yes, she outgrew it and is quite normal. HAHA I don’t think it’s anything to be too concerned about, but definitely keep up with what their conversations are about. I’d worry it their talks become violent,etc.

  3. Sounds like your sons imaginary friend might be the garden know in the old couple down the streets yard.

  4. i wouldn’t worry. My son had an imaginary friend named Michael before He started kindergarten. He told us what Michael looked like and talked to him a lot. Strange thing is when he started school his first friend he made was at the bus stop. His name was Michael and looked like the description of imaginary Michael. My son insisted they were 2 different people. Imaginary Michael disappeared before the end of Kindergarten. My son is now a healthy 27 year old software engineer.

  5. Erin tighe henley says:

    I’ve heard some describe it as a child’s guardian angel; I’d like to think that of my imaginary friend!

  6. I had an imaginary friend at that age; I was especially aware of him on Sundays. (I am now 63 years old and still of sound mind, even after twenty years of military service as a pilot in the Air Force.)

  7. Our oldest daughter was cared for by an older lady who watched daytime soaps and our daughter developed a relationship with her imaginary friend Ms. Sally, who was an older adult. They would sit at the table and have coffee and have conversations that rehashed dialogue from one of the soaps. This went on from age 4 to age 6 then suddenly stopped. When asked about Ms. Sally we were told that Ms. Sally had developed cancer and passed away so the best we could figure was that as she entered kindergarden and established new friendships that she allowed Ms. Sally to expire just like one of the ladies on the soap. She had very good social skills and made friends easily did very well in school and college and today operates her own medical clinic taking care of many Ms. Sally’s.

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