By popular demand, we have posted this article which appeared in our October 2016 issue discussing whether imaginary friends may be a demon in disguise. Please feel free to “chime in” and let us know your thoughts!
Many children develop imaginary friends in their lifetime, and most parents find it cute or endearing. We’ve conditioned ourselves to believe that it is a sign of an extremely creative mind and have accepted that it is a normal part of a child growing up. We comfort ourselves with the fact that even though this imaginary friend often causes our child to act up, it’s only temporary and the child will outgrow it. However, what we are not asking ourselves is whether these imaginary friends are simply a childhood creation or a demon.
As parents, we can’t fathom the possibility of our child having a conversation or playing with a demon. We lull ourselves with the belief that they are so innocent, that a demon can’t possibly present itself to them. Yet that same innocence is why children can see into the supernatural realm. They can because they don’t know what it is, but they do know that it exists. They don’t have a filter that says that they can’t see it (which many adults armed with the truth end up facing) and they don’t understand the potential danger that it can possess. No one is equipping them or protecting them, because some parents don’t think that it’s possible for children.
We’ve been told by “experts” in child psychology that children are creative and have big imaginations. All you have to do is look at a child while playing to see that their world has unlimited possibilities, and that is the beauty of childhood. No parent ever wants to, nor should they, take that innocence away. We should, however, protect it and protect our children from harm.
Children live in a world without self-imposed borders and where anything is possible. We delight in our infant’s “baby babble”, our children’s animals that become their companions, and watching them play. It’s a normal part of growing up and should be cherished. Yet have you ever noticed that when your baby babbles it’s usually “at” something? Sometimes their eyes will track something in the room and when you look, there is nothing there! We wonder with amazement at what they are looking at.
One of my twin sons used to babble and giggle at great length in his crib. We would find him sitting up, quite content, having what sounded like a very animated conversation. His brother, the other twin, used to track an image throughout the church and smile. He would also wake up with a piercing scream in the middle of the night. We would find him sitting bolt- upright in his crib looking horrified.
My youngest, on his birthday, received a stuffed, interactive bear from a family member. It was the ideal gift for him, and we were confident that he would love it! However, after opening the gift, he didn’t want anything to do with it, and when we put it in his room he screamed. Every time that bear went in his room, he would scream until we removed it. After that, he would settle down and go to sleep.
It wasn’t just baby babble that we were hearing from the oldest of our twins. Our eyes were opened to the fact that he was actually talking to an angel who was entertaining him at the time. The youngest twin wasn’t just screaming for no reason, he was seeing a demon, and in church he was tracking an angel- we know this because he actually said the word, “angel” and pointed.
Our youngest wasn’t afraid of a bear, he was afraid of the demon attached to the bear. Once we cast it out and put the bear back in his room, he happily played with the bear, and to this date it is one of his favorite toys.
Mark 9:17-21 quotes an adult who was afflicted with a spirit from childhood, “And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit… And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child.”
All of these examples prove that children can see into the spiritual realm. I also know this because I experienced it myself as a child. However, I didn’t understand what I was seeing, or why it was there, and my parents didn’t understand what was going on, so there weren’t able to help me. So, if children can see into the spiritual realm, a demon masking as an imaginary friend isn’t that impossible.
If this imaginary friend is engaging your child in bad behavior on a continual basis, there is a possibility that it could be a demon they are talking to. Demons will tell your children to do things, and make it sound like fun. Because children are still learning that there are consequences for their actions, what a demon says sounds like fun at the time, but is not much fun after they are caught.
Parents will often hear, “But _______ made me do it.”. Never underestimate the name. Many times it’s not made up, but can be the demon’s actual name. If we take it back to Luke 8:30 where Jesus asked the demon in the demon possessed man what its name was, we will note that it answered, “Legion” (for we are many).
The demon will oftentimes give the child its name (they are very boastful!). Many times, the name may not be an actual name as we know it. It may sound odd or contrived by a child’s imagination. However, make no mistake, it’s real, and if an imaginary friend is disrupting the peace over your house, or if you child is not behaving as him/herself, you might be dealing with a demon.
You might be asking yourself how demons can enter when you are a devout believer, or if you have pled the blood around your house. The answers are simpler for adults, but not as simple for children. Many times, when it comes to children, we don’t know how they get in (may be a sin from the parent, child may have innocently invited it in/contacted it/innocently played demonic game). However we do know that a child that does not know their authority cannot cast it out- only a parent can take their authority over the situation. Most times, however, the reason can be that the child has a great calling on their life (especially if they frequently see demons because they will try to prevent the child from experiencing God), may be operating in spiritual discernment, or may simply be because they can see into the spiritual realm. Either way, this thing needs to go.
For us, we asked God to reveal to us the source of our sons’ distress. Three out of four of our boys have seen demons, and only one adopted it as a friend. In the child who adopted it as a friend, we noticed that his behavior did a 180 for no apparent reason (see the article on teaching your child authority in this issue for further explanation). It was after God revealed the source that we began to take action.
We sat our son down and talked to him. He knew this spirit was evil, and causing him to do bad things, but he said they sounded like fun at the time, and it told him that he wouldn’t get into trouble (definitely sounds like a demon!). We explained to him that he was talking to a demon (God had revealed it to us previously), and that we needed to get rid of it because it wasn’t good, it wasn’t godly, and it would continue to get him into trouble.
He nodded, and we cast the demon out. His behavior reverted back to his normal sweet self, but the demon did return as he had invited it back in not fully understanding that this was not something that was allowed in our house.
It took some time to explain to him what demons were, and why this particular spirit needed to leave.
We had to explain to him that even though the demon was telling him things that sounded like fun, he was telling him to do bad things. We asked him whether a “real friend” would tell him to do bad things all the time. He said no. We asked him whether getting punished all the time made it worth the friendship. The demon wasn’t getting punished like he did. His little lips pursed, and he angrily said, no.
He finally understood.
We had to teach our child about taking his authority over demonic spirits, and once he understood he became quite a force! Demons left, in Jesus name, and he had a new confidence knowing his authority in Christ.
We also prayed discernment over him so that he would know what type of spirit he was talking to. It was also about at the same time that he gave his life to Christ, and he meant it with his whole heart. He is still able to see both angels and demons, but walks in confidence.
On a side note, we also taught him about faith at the same time in response to persistent demands for toys. The money for toys was not on our priority list, so we would tell him that if he really wanted it, then he would have to pray for the means to be provided, or to receive it as a gift. What we didn’t anticipate was that he earnestly prayed, and his prayers were continually answered!
This taught us to never underestimate the depths of faith, nor the abilities of children.
God doesn’t give our children a “smaller” spirit than He gives adults, and if Satan can’t get us, he will go after our children. This article wasn’t designed to alarm parents, but to make them aware of all the possibilities. With some children, imaginary friends may just be a creative outlet, and others it may be to combat loneliness. Some children may develop imaginary friends in order to deal with trauma or perceived stress, and that should never be discounted. However, in the absence of anything else, we should always consult God as to what is going on. Many things are dismissed that are spiritual in nature, and this same spirit if left unchecked can do damage to the family. It may leave and often does when the child grows in spiritual understanding or is told that imaginary friends don’t exist, but you have to wonder what has been sown into the child at that point. Has the demon done spiritual damage? Is there residue?
Don’t worry if you didn’t know- many parents didn’t. Mine didn’t know about the supernatural, and I turned out fine. I suppressed seeing demons as I got older because I was told that they didn’t exist. I accepted it as fact even though I often had nightmares and could sense the presence of evil.
The drawback for me (personally) was the knowledge that there was a supernatural world, yet I didn’t understand it, and the occult was a draw for me. As an adult, even though I was raised in the church, I ended up giving my life to Christ and learned about the supernatural realm. Suddenly everything made sense.
If you fall into this category, it’s not too late. You can discuss it with your children, or if they are adults, you can also pray that they receive the revelation. God will answer your prayers. If you have children, and they are going through this, help them to understand the supernatural realm, and that demons do exist. Encourage them to “do battle” because it will also prepare them for adult life as a believer, and it will build up their faith. And never underestimate the power of imaginary friends. Seek wisdom as to whether this is creativity at work, or indeed a demon.