Last weekend I visited a colleague\’s house. As soon as I walked in, my colleague greeted her 5-year-old daughter and said hello to me. But the little guy lingered for a long time and had to finish telling the \”little snail\” a story before coming back. Small snail? I looked around curiously – I saw a little girl sitting on the floor holding a picture book in her hands, speaking something in one direction in a dignified manner. However, there was nothing in front of her, no trace of the snail at all. The colleague explained helplessly: \”Recently, this child seems to be obsessed with the idea that there is a snail at home, which is also her best friend. However, we have searched every corner, and there is no snail anywhere, even if it is related to snails.\” He doesn’t even have any dolls! Do you think this child is possessed by evil spirits?” After hearing what my colleague said, I couldn’t help but laugh. In fact, this is quite normal. You know, a considerable number of children will have such an imaginary friend in their childhood. This kind of performance has a special term in psychology, called \”imaginary partner phenomenon.\” The concept of \”imaginary companions\” was first proposed by psychologist Svendsen, which refers to \”invisible companions that are invisible to others, completely imagined by children, and considered to be real.\” Since then, relevant scholars have expanded this concept and believe that some real objects can also be defined as imaginary partners if they are given anthropomorphic characteristics by children, treat them as companions and communicate with them for a long time. In fact, imaginary companions are ubiquitous in children\’s development. It has been reported in the literature that as many as 65% of children have had imaginary partners, and there are two peak ages for this phenomenon, one is from 2 and a half to 3 and a half years old, and the other is from 5 to 9 years old. Therefore, when parents see their children talking and laughing in the air, or whispering to the doll in their hands, they should not make a fuss. You know, this is a situation that every normal child may experience. Piaget\’s game theory believes that \”games can help children resolve conflicts with the external world. Their main function is to transform reality in imagination through assimilation and obtain emotional satisfaction.\” To put it simply, imaginary partners are actually the basis of games. a form of expression. When children encounter situations in real life, they will create imaginary partners and design situations to make up for and improve the gap, thereby regaining inner balance and gaining happiness. For example: when children lack social interaction and feel lonely in reality, they will interact with their imaginary partners to obtain the satisfaction of communication; when family status changes and make children uneasy, they will seek comfort and comfort through imaginary partners. Security; when children make mistakes in real life, they will construct an imaginary partner to bear the criticism, thereby reducing their own pressure; when children particularly like an item or an image in a cartoon, They will further strengthen this feeling through the form of imaginary partners… In addition, it is also an extension and expansion of reality for children. Children may have limited expressive abilities, but their divergent thinking has already given life to everything they see. In this virtual world, there are too many wonderful plots that are unknown to us and are quietly unfolding.. Picture source: American TV series \”Young Sheldon\” In fact, imaginary partners are of great significance to children. They are not only their spiritual support, but also the protective umbrella that allows them to face the world again after recovery, so it has many positive effects. . Cultivate children\’s rich imagination. There is an episode in the cartoon \”Peppa Pig\” called \”Imaginary Friends\”. Susie the Sheep took her imaginary friend Leo the Lion to play with Peppa Pig, and a series of interesting things happened. In the film, Mummy Pig asks Susie if Leo wants some fruitcake. Susie said seriously: \”Leo likes to eat chocolate cake.\” When Peppa Pig pretended to praise Leo\’s blue sweater for looking good, Susie corrected her seriously: \”No, he is wearing a green shirt! ” In the end, they happily jumped into the mud pit with their invisible partner. Everything about Leo the Lion was imagined by these two little guys. The imaginative collision of your words and my words makes the image of this virtual friend become three-dimensional and full. Research by Gleason, a Ph.D. in psychology, has proven: \”Children with imaginary partners are more enthusiastic about participating in pretend play spontaneously and frequently, are more involved in imaginative activities, and are more prominent in the degree and type of imagination.\” Improving Children\’s Social Adaptability Psychologist Daniel Siegel once said: \”Younger children often process their life experiences through pretend play. By imagining life scenes, they are able to practice new abilities and Recognize and understand the social world they live in on an emotional level.\” In interacting with imaginary partners, children are actually repeatedly simulating real social situations. Through dialogue and communication, children\’s empathy, perception, cooperation awareness, interpersonal skills, etc. will be further developed, making them more socially adaptable. Helping children deal with negative emotions In the movie \”Crazy Mommy\”, a 7-year-old boy named Albert and his mother were dependent on each other. However, a traffic accident accidentally claimed his mother\’s life. For a long time afterwards, Albert closed himself off. He stays in a fantasy world every day, and Uncle Boggs is his imaginary partner and only friend. They were inseparable, and it was Boggs\’ care and help that carried the boy through those sad days. It was not until the last time that the adoptive mother Harrick really walked into Albert\’s heart that the imaginary partner Boggs finally disappeared. For children, imaginary companions can provide comfort and help them process negative emotions. Promote the development of children\’s self-awareness Huang Lei mentioned in his book \”My Shoulders, Their Wings\” that when Duoduo was about two years old, he had an imaginary partner-a giraffe. This giraffe not only always follows her, but also regulates Duoduo\’s behavior at all times, constantly motivating her to do better: when she eats, she competes with the giraffe outside the window to see who eats faster; when she goes to bed, she always talks to the giraffe first. Good night; sometimes she cries, and you just remind her that the giraffe is laughing at her, and she will immediately stop her tears, look out the window warily with her big tearful eyes, and then choke out and say: \”Giraffe, I won\’t cry anymore. .\” Some studies have found that children with imaginary partners have greater self-awareness.Development levels were significantly higher than those of children without imaginary partners. This special friend plays a significant role in helping children understand their own shortcomings, promote the development of self-awareness, and ultimately form a sound personality and excellent qualities. Imaginary companions are so important to children, so how should we deal with them? I once saw a very interesting piece of news. London Heathrow Airport has spent a lot of money to train its own staff, and the training theme is how airport staff can communicate with children who have \”imaginary friends\” without any barriers. So, the picture style presented in the photo is like this – Picture source: Weibo \”Those Things in the UK\” Facing children and their imaginary partners, the employees of Hilos Airport showed enough patience and enthusiasm, not only with those They communicate and talk with the invisible little ones, and even have to give them separate seats, go through security checks, and entertain them with meals… They said they hope to provide more humane services to the children. Indeed, for children, the boundaries between reality and virtual worlds are blurred. Faced with the situation where they are \”too involved\” in their imaginary partner, our denial, ridicule, ridicule, and scolding are all undesirable. Respect and guidance is the right approach. Image source: Movie \”Letter Story\” On the one hand, we should show sufficient support and understanding for this behavior of our children; on the other hand, we do not need to deliberately strengthen it, but should treat it with a natural attitude. At the same time, there are many ways to improve the parent-child relationship and give children better love and care. Most research shows that the phenomenon of imaginary companionship disappears as children grow up (but some scholars believe that it will accompany a small number of children in a more subtle and long-lasting way throughout their lives as adults). Parents\’ attentive treatment will soon help their children pass this stage smoothly. In \”Inside Out,\” Popsicle was once Riley\’s inseparable best friend. They formed a band together, played hide-and-seek together, and rode rocket cars together… It brought countless happy moments to the little girl\’s childhood. Image Credit: \”Inside Out\” But as Riley grew up, she no longer needed the popsicles and no longer summoned them to play with her. This imaginary friend eventually disappeared into the depths of memory. In this regard, there is a movie review that impressed me deeply: \”The disappearance of the popsicle is like a solemn farewell ceremony to the simple, carefree, fantasy world of childhood.\” Yes, the phenomenon of imaginary partners is actually time-sensitive. sexual. It represents the colorful childhood full of wild and whimsical ideas, and the childhood years that once passed will never come back. Treat it well, treat innocence well, and treat every child who grows up happily.