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Why does my child talk to himself?

Q: My 11 years old son has a habit of talking to himself specially while in the bathroom. There are times that I have seen him talk and laugh by himself in the bathroom. Is this normal? He is not an extrovert, though he enjoys the company of some friends. Of late, I have also noticed that he is very conscious (shy) of himself in a crowd.

A:Some children do have imaginary friends. A recent study showed that 25 to 30% of all children have had imaginary companions with whom they communicate. It is not abnormal to be talking to oneself, but it does seem to reflect a lack of people who will listen to him. Encourage him to join in group games and other activities. Ask him to start writing a diary. He might then put into writing what he is saying and that would certainly be more socially acceptable. Make sure that you and your spouse spend enough time with him.

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