Imaginary Foes


My children never fight. Well…hardly ever. And when they do, they get through it very, very quickly. They would both rather be with each other than anyone else. They get along freakishly well. To the point where I sometimes wonder if it is healthy. I mean…they are together 24/7…shouldn’t they get on each other’s nerves once in a while? Not that I’m complaining. I just wonder if they’ll ever get along with anyone else as much as they get along with each other? Are they too exclusive? Neither ever asks for an outside play date. They just don’t. They’ll play with other kids if I set it up, but it seems they are perfectly content to just be together.

However.

Riley started having an imaginary friend a couple of years ago, and then last year Seth made up his own imaginary friend. I don’t get the gist these are imaginary friends the children really believe are there (I know some kids do that) but they have a lot of fun with them. Riley now has a few, and Seth has a few, and their two main ones have begun fighting. They are really vicious too. Name calling, insults, rudeness. It’s all there.

They seem to be working out some social stuff, without being cruel to anyone else or each other…because you know….it’s the imaginary friends doing it. Not them.

They draw pictures of these friends. They make graphic novels. They write tons of stories based on them. Riley drew this one. Her friend is in the middle. He’s a tough guy, and he’s taking his frustrations out on Seth’s imaginary friends(who are obviously cats). No fear, often Seth’s friends are the ones dishing it out.

Sometimes I cringe at the tones and words they use but my instinct tells me to stay out of it.

On the surface, neither one of them has a mean bone in their body, but we all have shadow sides. I think it is okay for them to connect with theirs once in a while.

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8 Responses to Imaginary Foes

  1. Patti says:

    I sure hope you keep that drawing! It’s awesome! And I think you are right to let them do there thing in the imaginary world. Like you said, it’s a safe place.

  2. Courtney says:

    I think I’m going to use this method …

  3. A great place! And less painful then the playful karate kicks I get, since I’m so often pretending to be the bad guy. Ouch.

  4. Amanda says:

    Good grief when I think back to the sibling violence I grew up with – my older brother used to wind me up to breaking point at which I would launch at him windmill style with a slipper in each hand. He retaliated one day and threw a bicycle lock chain at me which I still have a scar from… it was in the days before I was diagnosed as myopic and I didn’t know to duck!! LOL!

  5. That kid can REALLY draw. Has she considered looking into cartooning?

  6. Michelle O'Neil says:

    Thanks Laura,

    She’s a good little artist. She spends a lot of time cartooning (inspired by the Baby Mouse series). Wouldn’t that be an awesome profession for her?

  7. naomi says:

    Love these drawings! And, naturally occurring sibling art therapy?! How cool is that?

  8. kario says:

    I wish my girls would fight this way! What a lovely way for them to express their frustrations. I’m thinking some child psychologists ought to glom on to this methodology. (And pay Seth and Riley royalties, of course). ;-)