My young child is misbehaving and blaming an imaginary friend. What should I do?
A child presenting this behavior could be testing limits. A good first step is to observe how she parents her dolls and spends her playtime; look at how she acts and speaks to her dolls and real friends. Take note of the times and places when the imaginary friend tends to show up. By monitoring what is going on at school and in other social settings, you will be able to find consistent patterns in this behavior, which will give you insight into why she has this friend. Is she lonely? Is she having difficulty connecting? These issues can be remedied once the cause is identified. Knowing is half the battle.
You may want to have a talk with her to learn more about her friend. Explain to her that she is accountable for her friend and that there could be consequences as a result of her friend's actions and behaviors, especially for the things that her friend has done which she knows are not allowed. It's OK at this point to evoke some fear, especially if the consequences relate to the friend. Make her aware that she and her friend are one in the same and that she is in control. Therefore, she has to take responsibility for both herself and her friend.