Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Imaginary Friends: Cute or Creepy?

Elliot is a boisterous, chatty guy, but he also can be shy around new people. When I take him to the playground, he often plays by himself — even when there are other kids his age.

Is Uncle Jake nearby? (Photo credit: Kelly)

I can tell he feels lonely sometimes. But for better or worse, he's already developed a coping mechanism: an imaginary friend.

Apparently when Elliot is alone, a man named "Uncle Jake" appears and has a picnic with him.

Uncle Jake lives very far away, and interestingly, he's not an uncle. "Uncle" is actually his first name, Elliot explains.

I guess we should be happy Elliot is exhibiting an imagination. And if Uncle Jake helps him feel less lonely, great.

But does his imaginary friend have to sound so much like a child predator? And dear God, what if he's actually real?

I could forbid Elliot from seeing Uncle Jake, but I think that might get weird.