Thursday, March 20, 2014

Imaginary Friends Part II: And Then There Was One

Pretending to have an imaginary companion is common among young children. My daughter, who is a young adult now, had an imaginary friend when she was between the ages of 2½ and 4. Our family had relocated to a new state, so we did not have an extended family nearby. And she was an only child at the time.

Although Alana had lots of toys and occasional interactions with other children, she decided she needed something more.

After deciding to focus on imaginary friends for this week’s blog posts, I asked my daughter if she remembered her experience with her fantasy friend.

Well, Alana, the “cool thing” is that you are right. According to Duncan and Cheyne (as cited in Davis, Meins, & Fernyhough, 2013), you probably do talk to yourself today because of your experience with your fantasy friend. Some children develop an internal conversation, and it helps them through their tasks. This internal conversation sometimes continues through adulthood. And the really “cool thing” is that Fernyhough & Fradley (as cited in Davis, et al., 2013) found that this internal conversation can improve your performance on tasks.

So, the benefits of having an imaginary friend can persist through adulthood.

Consider the inner conversations you have with yourself. Are they encouraging? Write a letter of encouragement to yourself. This is the story in you. Share it.


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Davis, P., Meins, E. & Fernyhough, C. Individual differences in children’s private speech: The role of imaginary companions. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. 116(2013). 561-571. Retrieved from

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