Young Kids and Imaginary Friends: “Tom Made Me Do It!”

Posted September 29, 2010 by

Okay, my little one has a VERY active imagination. In addition to having an amazing memory, things I wouldn’t think an almost 4-year-old would recall, she’s got a couple of imaginary friends, Tom and Jerry (yes, the Tom & Jerry).

Today, I hear my name called and I’m told to go check on her. Well, sitting on my bathroom floor is my daughter, a pair of scissors, and a pile of blond hair. Oddly enough, she actually did a good job and gave herself bangs. But when asked why she did it, she said Tom told her to do it. (My oldest also had a couple of rounds with scissors, which resulted in both children having page boy hair cuts for a while that are JUST now growing out).

Not only does she have an imaginary friend, she knows to blame things on him.

So I calmly explained while fixing her bangs that the next time Tom tells her to do something, she needs to ask Mommy or Daddy first.

Tonight, she fills the bathtub up to swimming pool depths – with cold water. Why? Tom told her to do it. She washes her hair twice. Why? You guessed it: Tom.

I’m not exactly sure how to handle this whole thing. It’s funny at the moment, but I also realize that she thinks she’s getting away with things by blaming it on Tom. I am almost sure she really thinks I believe her.

For now, I’m content to continue to try and explain that she needs to stop listening to Tom. And while we’re learning that lesson, we’ll be growing out a pseudo-mullet.


Jessica Scott is an active duty army officer, one half of a dual military couple and full-time mom. She squeezes out time to write late at night or on her lunch breaks, such as they are. She blogged her way through Iraq in 2009 and you can read about her journey at She is the mother of Mia(3) and Victoria(5) and is blessed to have good kids who've struggled through a rough time as military kids.

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  1. Bellmom Report

    My 2 year old has an imaginary friend and his name is Mike, which just happens to be my deceased father’s name who passed when I was 2 years old. She does not blame things on him yet, but will sit in my bedroom closet for periods of time and says she is playing with him. I too had an imaginary friend as a child and named her Chili????? How bizarre. I do not feel that imaginary friends is a lack of attention but a great development with the skill of imagination.

  2. Perfect Helen Report

    My child has the same problem or maybe it’s not a problem at all. Who knows? He pretends to be constantly talking to someone. Doctors say that lack of attention may cause such reaction of child’s psyche. He may be willing to have a vast circle of communication. I’m sure that the imaginary friend will disappear as soon as my boy grows up.

  3. Elisabeth Wilkins, EP Editor Report

    Jessica, our son is 7 and he still maintains that he has an imaginary friend: an 8 foot dragon named “Boo.” He did try to blame things on Boo for awhile when he was younger, but we just told him he would have to deal with the consequences even if it was Boo’s idea. Magically, the blaming stopped. 🙂 I think I’m actually going to be sad when he stops talking about his dragon friend…and I have a feeling that time is coming soon. Thanks for this post!



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