Imaginary friends are to a form of expression that manifests itself primarily in preschool children.
These friends can be of a different nature, such as persons or objects, plushes, or fictitious characters and it is with these imaginary friends that the child has a space speak, play or even fight.
It is assumed that the imaginary friends have a positive function for children at times when they are not able to express his feelings properly. There are scenes in which their own negative feelings are attributed to them. For example, to avoid a challenge or punishment when the child does something bad.
It may also be a response to the idealizations and positive ideas, next to these characters, children have a space to satisfy their desires and wishes, in general, in those situatios they can satisfy some needs that they don't have in their usual environment; mainly this phenomenon occurs in children who are "only child".
Usually, it happens in more sensitive children who are much more connected to the imagination and with the fantasy. Some studies indicate that children with imaginary friends will be more creative when they grow up and they will approach to art, poetry and any kind of artistic expression.
Sometimes this phenomenon occurs in a period spanning no more than six years, and it ends when children are incorporated into the school and have other friends with whom to talk, fight, discuss or play.
If it extends in time and in spite of the fact that the child is already in school or has not been able to socialize with their colleagues, if they have a shy behavior, it could become a problem. It may also be a problem it their imaginary friend become violent or they have something that is related to aggressive behavior. In that case you should consult a specialist.
As for the parents, it is necessary to mention that according to some studies, almost 25% of parents do not realize their children have an imaginary friend.
It is important to keep an eye on them, on their behavior and advice them, you have to understand that this is not something pathological or abnormal, parents must be close to their children to overcome it and it is a great way to know what he need or what are they trying to compensate with his imaginary friend.
It is not good to deny that it exists but that you must incorporate it with them in a very subtle way, you should not encourage the child and that is not an appropiate behavior.
Ask them what these imaginary friend say, and help them in the things you children do, so that parents know what they are looking for and what they are trying to express through their imaginary friend.