By Paige Davis in The Conversation.
Crabby crab is my four-year-old son Fisher’s imaginary friend. Crabby appeared on a holiday in Norway by scuttling out of his ear after a night of tears from an earache. Like other childhood imaginary friends, Crabby should be an indication that Fisher’s mind is growing and developing positively. Indeed, research shows that invisible companions can help boost children’s social skills.
But what happens when children grow up and their imaginary friends disappear? Will Crabby have influenced Fisher into adolescence or adulthood? And what if you continue to have imaginary friends as an adult? The vast majority of the research on imaginary friends looks at young children as this is the time when these playmates are most likely to appear. But researchers have started looking into the impact of imaginary childhood friends in adolescence and adulthood.
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