Parents concerned that their kids are more content talking to an imaginary friend rather than a real one need not worry, for a new study has found that such a pal can have a positive effect on children.
Karen Majors, an educational psychologist at the Institute of Education in London also insists that imaginary friends are not a sign that your kid is having trouble with mixing with others of his or her age group, but a sign that your child has an active imagination.
Such companions, Majors also states, offer their creators a confidante as well as give their self-esteem a boost.
"Imaginative children will create imaginary friends. Companionship is a big part of it. They can be a way of boosting self-confidence," the Daily Mail quoted her, as saying.
She added that parents should not be worried that their kid's behaviour is not normal, for it is.
"Parents sometimes think, 'Is this healthy and how long should it go on for?' But it is a normal phenomenon for normal children. And it's very healthy," she said.
Ms Majors found that while girls tend to adopt younger companions, boys' imaginary friends are older, more heroic characters.
She also noted that an only child or one with a large age gap from his or her siblings is most likely to create imaginary pals to keep him or her company.
Imaginary friends are also common in victims of bullying, or when a sibling is born.
In many cases, an imaginary pal can also be a wish that a child longs to be fulfilled.
The new study also supports the findings of earlier research by psychologist Anna Toby that found that "children who have imaginary companions have more advanced communication skills".