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

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Old 07-20-2010, 12:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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Old 07-20-2010, 12:38 AM
 
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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!
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Old 07-20-2010, 12:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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Old 07-20-2010, 08:31 AM
 
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Teach him to play Risk!
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Old 07-20-2010, 08:40 AM
 
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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.
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:11 AM
 
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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.

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Old 07-20-2010, 10:14 AM
 
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Does he believe that they are real?
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:20 AM
 
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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.

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Old 07-20-2010, 12:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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Old 07-20-2010, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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Old 07-20-2010, 01:43 PM
 
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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.
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Old 07-20-2010, 01:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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Old 07-20-2010, 02:05 PM
 
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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.
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Old 07-20-2010, 02:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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Old 07-20-2010, 02:18 PM
 
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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

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Old 07-20-2010, 02:18 PM
 
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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?
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Old 07-20-2010, 02:57 PM
 
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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

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Old 07-20-2010, 07:14 PM
 
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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.)

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Old 07-20-2010, 07:38 PM
 
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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.

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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?


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Freaked the nice seniors sitting next to us right out.


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Or he'll end up being turned into a cat for 100 years for trying to take over the world...
Sabrina the Teenaged Witch?

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Old 07-20-2010, 09:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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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Old 07-20-2010, 10:31 PM
 
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Sabrina the Teenaged Witch?
Yay!

I had a bit of a crush on that cat when the show was on the air.

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Old 07-21-2010, 02:11 AM
 
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My dd is seven and has an imaginary horse. Early on in her imaginary friend stage I told her the friends would need to take a break if they weren't going to listen or that they were all going to lose a privilege if they didn't scurry and help dd do what I asked her to do and that helped her to keep the imagination to a bearable level of annoyance (I am surprised it worked though because we really don't have any privileges and the few times I have told dd she can't watch a movie because she was being horrid at the store I haven't actually followed through because my annoyance is gone once we are home). Have you tried limiting it or telling him he needs to come along even if his "friends" aren't. If there is something you do with your children when they don't listen then I suggest talking to him about how he needs to listen when it is time to leave a store even if his "friends" aren't or they will all have that consequence.

Do you think he doesn't realize he is imagining the friends? My dd has always known she is using her imagination so she was fine with me telling her that her imaginary horse (her latest friend) will need to get in the car now or find his own way home. It is sometimes part of the game and she has me scold the horse out of his nonsense. I am not sure what to suggest if he truly believes that the characters he is imagining are truly real.
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Old 07-21-2010, 08:28 AM
 
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Ooh, tell the Nicholites they need to guard the house while you all are out!
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Old 07-21-2010, 11:58 AM
 
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I think this is absolutely adorable. I'm sure it is annoying, but WOW! what an imagination!

DD is 7.5 years old and she's is gradually letting go of her imaginary friends. She had two, Ana and Hayla, they also had extensive backgrounds. In the last six months she hasn't visited with them as much, so there is hope!

I had an invisible friend named Chuck until I was about 6 or 7. I am not a billionaire, nor did I live for any extended period at my parents'! Nicholas will eventually let them go. I'm guessing that he needs them, for whatever reason.
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Old 07-21-2010, 01:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ooh, tell the Nicholites they need to guard the house while you all are out!
I like it.

He did really well today with the "No Nicholites at homeschool" rule. I think I was just reluctant to stifle his imagination. But I feel good about placing limits.

He does think Rico and Nacho are real, and the rest were pretend. How strange is that?

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Old 07-21-2010, 11:49 PM
 
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Ha, Ha! As I am reading this, my 3 1/2 year just came to me dressed in full armor and told me he and his monster friends are going to fight and capture dragons in the scary hollow....

There are advantages, like when he and his monster friends chose out some unhealthy snacks at the grocery store. I let them get them because the snacks were also invisible!
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Old 07-22-2010, 03:04 AM
 
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Yay!

I had a bit of a crush on that cat when the show was on the air.
That show was one of my guilty pleasures. Dh couldn't imagine why I watched it. It was just brainless enough and silly enough for me to enjoy. And it was far more up to date than Bewitched (which I still find highly amusing, but now it's more for just how dated the gender roles are!)

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Old 07-22-2010, 09:21 PM
 
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That show was one of my guilty pleasures. Dh couldn't imagine why I watched it.
Same here! I still watch it on reruns when I can. I loved Salem's moaning, "Ohwhoawhoa", sound he made.

My DD (almost 7) has an entire fantasy world called Barbieville. Sometimes she acts it out with the dolls but it's just as common for her to have her world set up in her head.
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Old 07-24-2010, 01:36 AM
 
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My DS #1 had an imaginary friend " Jimmy" until he was 8 or so. He even knew where he "lived", he lived near one of the places we took walks.

He outgrew that, but sometimes we still reference it. I always went along with it, as if it were real. My youngest never had an imaginary friend so I dont know....

I think it will pass.

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Old 07-24-2010, 04:36 AM
 
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My DS #2 has one named Broccoli. He's been around for nearly a year, he changes age, moves from one house to another within our town. He even lost his dog due to an unfortunate allergic reaction to pancakes. We saw his dad at the store once.

I can see how the Nicholites drive you nuts! Making me wonder about Broccoli's future. And making me wonder about the stress/imaginary friend relationship. We've had a rocky couple of years now and I don't think that is why our youngest has an imaginary friend but it would be interesting to see if we hear from Broccoli more in the hard times.
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