January 21, 2021

My daughter 9 STILL pretending to be a dog. And gets mad if I don’t treat her like one. Should I worry? ?

As long as your daughter understands she doesn’t do this at school, while your out to dinner etc and understands it is make believe or role playing then it’s an outlook for het even at 10.  Not common but not that rare.

We would play stallions, then when we grew tired of all the whining and grew out of breath from the jumping and running we would switch to being dogs in dog shows and stunt dogs.  The oldest of the group was about thirteen, she pretended with us, not her first choice but she never said no, the youngest in our group of crazies was about seven.  She loved playing the dog catcher.   When it was snack time imagine a group of eight to twelve kids, mostly girls but occasionally boys would be sitting up on our make believe haunches, cookies, cut fruit or some type of cracker in disposable bowls, glasses of cool aid or milk…. and us kids eating out food like the animals we pretended to be.  No hands and we tried to eat the treats and drink our drinks.  Stupid, sloppy gross and funny rolled into one. Only rules were no food directly eaten from the ground-dirt no hands could be used except if the dish was spilling its contents etc.

We played these silly fun games as did my parents on occasion, they were usually nurses, doctors, firemen, police etc but some of the boys besides the normal military make believe decided they were construction vehicles, digging, pushing the heavy chairs around pretending to be bulldozers, my older brother was a crane and took the huge couch pillows and would scoop them up and slowly lift from floor to couch or couch to table etc.  not all make believe is pretending we’re animals, sometimes it’s hero’s, sometimes it’s objects.  Anything you could imagine and fantasize about you could be.

Now once your daughter leaves her childhood and hits that magic tweenager 11, 12 year old she will start changing from the little kid pretend to more grown up like, may start asking for more responsible things to so and may start emulating more adult actions (more mature than when kids pretend they are grownups at work). She will note your approval of when she does things without needing to be reminded such as cleaning room or homework, when she sees that it’s more acceptable by the adults and she doesn’t get reprimands for it such as ‘you shouldn’t do your homework right away when you get home’   She will start doing more and more things that meet adult approval.

 Went from the world of pretend, fantasy and make believe to learning how to do the family laundry, cooking the family meals not just lunches for two or three people.   I insisted on wanting to make the thanksgiving dinner.  Mom was not happy with the idea but she decided that since I was interested she talked me through on how to clean and dress the Turkey and make all the sides from prepping and pealing the corn etc.    

My childhood suddenly switched from play time and goofing around being a lazy kid to pseudo adult cooking, cleaning and learning how to do home repairs etc.  all my choice rather than my parents having to scream at me and elk me hoe silky and stupid it was to pretend to be something I couldn’t be.  My aunt worried that there was something wrong with kids that pretended like that but our family doctor assured her it was totally normal for a child to do it at one time or other throughout their childhood, it’s a type of healthy roleplaying.  He never gave an age limit on it but all of us kids eventually grew out of it and moved on to other interests, clothes, makeup, opposite gender, driving etc.

I think it’s just a way your daughter has fun that doesn’t cost anything, doesn’t need any skills to do and is just down outright fun, stress relief for her.  If she was a little boy she most likely would be pretending to be a race care or the driver, or some type military thing.  Boys however usually keep their pretend play going till around 13 or at least our family and friends were pretty much that easy.  Grills matured so much younger than the boys did,

If your daughter wants you to play along there’s nothing wrong with that, however I would tell her which days or limit how long you play dog with her either as the owner or another pup.  Mom always lived pretending she was a French poodle and would talk in French.   I loved playing along with my daughters, I actually cheated one day and changed suddenly from the dog catcher to dog groomer, caught both dirks and plopped them in the tub with a firm sit stay command.  We all laughed with the two wet girls still dressed and a pretty much soaking wet mom.

Good luck, I wouldn’t worry too much, I think it’s pretty normal and she will grow out of it she matures a bit more,


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