Doodoo, Beep and Gwanka: The Influence of Imaginary Friends

The friends as bad influences has already begun with The Girl. Only, these friends happen to be imaginary and we are trying to figure out how best to deal with them.

Beep, despite her name, is the quiet one and Gwanka…well, we’re not too sure about Gwanka, other than she is from Mexico and occasionally shows up to play in the backyard. But that damn DooDoo is really getting on my nerves. If there is a convenient scapegoat in our house, it’s DooDoo.

If The Girl gets up from her chair at dinner time, it’s because DooDoo needs help. If there is a massive toy mess in the middle of the play room, it’s because DooDoo couldn’t find exactly what she wanted. If she bolts dripping wet naked out of the bathroom and across the carpet, it’s because DooDoo has a dirty diaper. DooDoo is a real pain.

Fortunately, my wife came across this little tidbit from the Parentcenter website that puts things into perspective.

Question: Is it normal for my 2-year-old to talk constantly about her imaginary friend?

Answer: Don’t worry, your child is not only normal, she’s also very creative. Her burgeoning imagination fuels this wonderful fictitious creation, someone who accompanies her as she explores the world. Imaginary friends are also one way children learn to make distinctions between good and bad. For example, your child may blame her friend for any misdeeds, saying “Jane spilled the milk” or “Jane pulled my books off the shelves.” If she passes the buck, take her explanation at face value and help her clean up, but gently remind her of the house rules. Try not to make a big deal when she mentions her imaginary friend. That means neither contradicting her (“Oh honey, stop pretending”) or grilling her about it, nor expanding on it by pretending to meet or talk to her invisible pal. There’s no reason to make her feel funny about talking to someone who doesn’t exist. On the other hand, if you go all out to include her imaginary friend in your world, you may have her pal overstaying his welcome, or your daughter may feel as if you’ve co-opted her buddy. So just let her enjoy the company of her friend; she’ll probably grow out of this common childhood phase by around age 5.

Looks like I’ll be parenting 4, 3 year olds now.

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