My daughter Jocelyn has an imaginary friend named Sylvia! I thought it was kind of cute and funny at first, but today it started to freak me out! Here's what I found. 


My 8 year old daughter is one of the biggest delights in my life. She is spunky, determined, creative, and she has a heart of gold.


Lately she has been struggling with our move to Boise. Even though it has been a whole year since she moved from Salt Lake City, she has shed tears over missing friends, missing her old school, her old gymnastics program etc. etc. She has been angry with me for ripping her away from the life she was comfortable with.


For the most part, Jocelyn seems to make friends easily, but she also tells me that she often has no one to play with at recess except for her imaginary friend Sylvia. Of course, this breaks my heart.


Sylvia has been around since Jocelyn was probably about 4 years old. There are times when she doesn't talk about Sylvia for months and then all of a sudden she's back.


I discovered today that she has been telling another little girl at school about this imaginary friend. She came home and pretended to call her imaginary friend, write her a letter, and send her text messages. That's when I started getting concerned. Is this normal? Is she so painfully lonely at school that this is how she is coping with things? Have I not been as attentive as a Mother as I should be? The questions swirled around in my mind. So I took to the all powerful "Google."


What I found was extremely comforting. According to

  • By age 7 ...37% of children have an imaginary friend
  • It's not uncommon for these imaginary friends to last for years
  • 77% of children with imaginary friends know they are imaginary (including my daughter)
  • Children with imaginary friends are not necessarily lonely
  • They tend to be less shy, laugh more with peers, smile more with peers, and do better at tasks that involve imagination.
  • Oldest children, only children, and children who don't watch much television are more likely to develop an imaginary friend.
  • Having an imaginary friend is Not evidence that a child is troubled (Hallelujah!)
  • Imaginary friends can be a source of comfort when a child is experiencing difficulties.

Phew! I guess having a "Sylvia" at our house is somewhat normal. Does your child have an imaginary friend? If so, rest assured, they are probably a-okay!