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Imaginary Friends: When do they go away? Can I kick them out? Charge them rent?

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
Nicholas is almost 7 and has an army of invisible "ghost friends" he calls the Nicholites. They fight a lot. Apparently they are at war with Invisible China and Invisible Spain. This might not seem like a big deal except

(a) the drama. To him, they're real. When Rocky (the traitor) betrayed the Nicholites to Invisible China, the child wept. And it later led to

(b) the violence. He's constantly "training" his little army. Everything turns into swords, and his siblings often get caught in the fray.

(c) the interruption of daily life. For real. Today we couldn't leave for Target until Nicholas "consulted" with the Nicholites.

Please tell me this ends soon. Or if doesn't, lie to me.

ETA: I forgot about (d) it's just really annoying. I have 4 kids and 2 more on the way. I just don't have the energy, time, or inclination to keep up with Rico, Nacho, or Rocky (the traitor). I love my children and would be more than happy to encourage any real pursuits. But this is just over the top.
post #2 of 39
I hope Nicholas grows up and writes some crazy fiction books that everyone must buy at midnight release and he makes a ton of money and treats his mom to a great big gift of her choosing! Until then, no advice...hope the Nicholites agree to work with the rest of your family soon!
post #3 of 39
Thread Starter 
We figure he will either be a billionaire by the time he's 21, or living in our basement when he's 40. Right now it's a toss up.
post #4 of 39
Teach him to play Risk!
post #5 of 39
From this side of the internet, it sounds like a lot of fun, but if that were my house, I would have already been taken away in a straight jacket.

Could you kind of go along with it for a little while and exile Rocky to a distant planet, and give the other Nicholites jobs to do? Preferably outside.
post #6 of 39
I'm laughing, but I know it's not really funny. My dd's imaginary friend is already driving me nuts, and she's only 3.
post #7 of 39
Does he believe that they are real?
post #8 of 39
This may be way out in left field (says the Intuitive), but what if they aren't Invisible? What if he really sees this band? What if what he's seeing/experiencing is real? Some people (cough cough) believe that there are parallel realities all happening at the same time. Children are the closest to God than just about anything. They can be squashed though. That connection they have can be lost if someone continually tells them what they are seeing is not real and to stop it. I say tell him to tell his people that in order to be a part of this family they have to function as part of the family or they will be asked to leave (not b/c they are not real, but b/c they are too disruptive). See if he can't talk to them and tell them to calm down. Whether you believe or agree with what I'm saying, it could at least be another avenue to try.
post #9 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pigpokey View Post
Does he believe that they are real?
I just asked him and he gave me a suspicious look and asked "Why?" Then he said he knows they're imaginary and that's why he vaporized most of them except Nacho and Rico.
post #10 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by IntuitiveJamie View Post
This may be way out in left field (says the Intuitive), but what if they aren't Invisible? What if he really sees this band? What if what he's seeing/experiencing is real? Some people (cough cough) believe that there are parallel realities all happening at the same time. Children are the closest to God than just about anything. They can be squashed though. That connection they have can be lost if someone continually tells them what they are seeing is not real and to stop it. I say tell him to tell his people that in order to be a part of this family they have to function as part of the family or they will be asked to leave (not b/c they are not real, but b/c they are too disruptive). See if he can't talk to them and tell them to calm down. Whether you believe or agree with what I'm saying, it could at least be another avenue to try.
With all the love and respect I can muster, that would be completely outside our own belief system and I would feel the need to have Father Kirby come over and bless the house with holy water. I don't think it's a spiritual issue, which is why I posted it here and not in spirituality. In my opinion, it's a game he love that often disrupts everyone's lives, like when they followed us to Perkins and fought a battle on the ceiling. Even then, it wasn't a huge issue until he started yelling orders at them. Freaked the nice seniors sitting next to us right out.
post #11 of 39
if this were my 6 year old, i would spend some time talking to the nicholites myself, and explain to them that in my house, i have a no-wars rule, and any swords/spears/traitoring/killing MUST be taken outside.

then i would be sure to ask nicholas or nacho or rico to spend a little time telling me about their exploits at the end of the day.

depending on his personality, he may enjoy having you participate in his imaginary life, and might be more willing to follow the guidelines you've set out for him. i definitely think some strict guidelines are appropriate, but are less squelching of his vivid inner life when accompanied by some playfulness.
post #12 of 39
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I don't necessarily want them to disappear altogether (yet, LOL!) but I would like to keep the fighting in our own backyard. I would like them not to follow us to Target or church, and it would make me very happy if they weren't used as delaying tactics.
post #13 of 39
IME, imaginary friend drama always amped up when there was some stress going on or issues to process. It gives them something to control, and also a safe context in which to play with big emotions. Do you think any of this intensity has to do with the expected twins?

Regardless, seven is old enough to understand limits. Straightforward: "The Nicholites need to get in the car. NOW." "Nicholas, no Nicholite play in church. I know you can follow the rules." Etc.
post #14 of 39
Thread Starter 
The Nicholites have been around since he was four or five. Granted, this kid has a lot of issues. But I don't think it has to do with the twins.

But yeah, limits might be key. I've been reluctant to have him give up this part of himself and so I play along, although half-heartedly. But now I'm wondering if I've indulged it too much.
post #15 of 39
DD goes in phases and she has random imaginary friends, I finally had to put out the rule that they couldn't travel with us places because it was very disruptive.However because they (the imaginary friends) weren't old enough to stay at home alone we (DH and I) had to create an imaginary baby-sitter...

Thankfully I haven't heard much about them lately
post #16 of 39
I didn't assume they were new, but that the issues with them may be new. My dd had the same imaginary friend from 3-8, with a changing crew of associates, but there was a marked increase in "activity" when our family was going through changes.

As for when they go away--Eleanor the Dragon is just a fond memory now, at 9. So, a couple more years?
post #17 of 39
I've had to banish my son's Pokemon from the car and send them home from the store. He's usually pretty good about it. Sometimes one stows away and he has to get very stern as he sends it back home. LOL
post #18 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post
We figure he will either be a billionaire by the time he's 21, or living in our basement when he's 40. Right now it's a toss up.
Or he'll end up being turned into a cat for 100 years for trying to take over the world...


(Now lets see how many people get that reference.)
post #19 of 39
Well, my dd appears to be headed for a life of writing soap operas.

Her imaginary family consists of:
Her, her mom and dad, and 5 siblings. Two siblings are older. One brother is in college. Her older sister is 23 and has a 6 year old. The other sisters are younger.

She was born in Mexico. They moved to California. They speak Spanish and English at home.

They moved to Oregon and live in a small apartment.

Her grandparents have recently come to live with them, along with the other 7 members of the family.

There are frequent family dramas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post
I would feel the need to have Father Kirby come over and bless the house with holy water.
And wouldn't your congregation be just a little surprised that the Lutheran pastor's family had to have a Catholic priest come exorcise the house?


Quote:
Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post
Freaked the nice seniors sitting next to us right out.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
Or he'll end up being turned into a cat for 100 years for trying to take over the world...
Sabrina the Teenaged Witch?
post #20 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
And wouldn't your congregation be just a little surprised that the Lutheran pastor's family had to have a Catholic priest come exorcise the house?
I'm actually Catholic. We're a very ecumenical pastor's family.

If nothing else, it's good to know I'm not alone in this. Although... nine? I have two more years of this? Ah well, if nothing else, it's good Facebook/blog fodder.
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Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › The Childhood Years › Imaginary Friends: When do they go away? Can I kick them out? Charge them rent?