Articles and Topics
My daughter has good and bad "selves"
Q: My daughter, 2½, is putting bad Megan in time-out and then she'll get bad Megan out of time-out and bring her to me in her hands. It seems like she is separating the good Megan and the bad Megan. Is this something I should worry about, and will this lead to imaginary friends? I don't want to tell her it's wrong without knowing if it could harm her.
A: It sounds as though she has internalized your own style and technique of discipline, and to me, it appears to be a very good technique. I think she identifies very closely with “good and bad Megan.” When she puts Megan in time-out, she is probably working through her feelings about something she did that resulted in being in time-out. And when she takes her out and then brings her to you, I think she wants you to tell her that what Megan did wasn’t so bad, and that she should hug and reassure her that she is really a good girl. In doing so, she is asking for reassurance about herself. I wouldn’t worry about it at all. In fact, I think it’s very creative and wholesome. And I don’t think it will lead to imaginary friends. Symbolic play of this sort with toys is actually a good deterrent to fantasies about imaginary friends.