These days both the parents go to work to meet with the financial demands of the family. The child is left at home or with a babysitter. It has become a fact that parents often have one child. Being on his own, and without the company of other children or elders, the child often develops a feeling of loneliness, and to overcome it develops imaginary friends. This can be some toy dear to the child or some pet or in case of girls quite often dolls. In some cases the child may be friendly with some imaginary human being.
The imagination of the child enables him to communicate as if he is talking to a real friend. Parents should not worry over this, as this is sometimes natural with lonely children. In case if something wrong is done by the child he will try to pass the blame on the nonexistent friend. Like if the child breaks a glass or spills water on a sofa or carpet, he will pass on the blame to the imaginary friend like some dog or cat etc. to save himself from punishment. Parents should understand this and should not punish the child. Similarly, if the child fears the dark, he will put blame on his friend and ask the parents to keep light of his room on. Taking note of this fear, parents should leave a small light on in the child’s room.
If the child happens to make some friends or starts going to school, may be play school, in all probabilities, he is likely to make real friends and slowly forget about imaginary friend. Imaginary friends often help the lonely child to socialise. The child will play with such a friend, talk and share his achievements and problems with him. Parents should keep a watch on the communication between the two. This way they will be able to know problems, if any, faced by their child and will be in a position to help him out.
Parents should remember not to try to convince the child that his friend is nonexistent. They should not start talk with the child about the friend. However if the child starts talking about the friend, they should carefully listen to him and should never try to belittle him for being friendly with a nonexistent person.
Remember this is a passing phase, and the parents are also to be blamed to some extent, being unable to give proper and desired company to the child. This friend will vanish when the child is in school.