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Does you child pretend they are an animal?

My 7 1/2 year old stepdaughter is ALWAYS pretending she's a dog. ALWAYS. She crawls around on the floor, barks, begs, everything. She'll want to be a dog at the dinner table, out in public, at home. I ask her how her day was at school and all I get is, "So and so and I were puppies at recess today!" She's be panting and whatnot and I'll look at her and say, "I wish Lacey would want to be a little girl instead of a puppy." But it doesn't seem to be helping. Is this a phase or is there something else going on that I should be concerned about?

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Asked by Born2BAMommy5 at 10:51 PM on Jan. 31, 2010 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 8 (251 Credits)
Answers (8)
  • sister did this all the time as a kid. She even went so far as to lift her leg and pee on a box in the garage. She used to eat cat food too. It was just a phase and when the other kids at school outgrew it, she did too. Don't worry, she is normal.

    Answer by SleepingBeautee at 10:54 PM on Jan. 31, 2010

  • My preschooler and toddler run around acting like dinosaurs or lions, or anything that lets them roar really loudly, and they sometimes pretend they are dogs or cats, but never anything that has gone on for more than a day at a time.
    The 4 yr old brings out this squeaky mouse voice when she asks for cheese or peanut butter, and that gets old really fast, but she generally stops by the time she's done eating whatever she asked for.
    I think the only way it will stop is if you ignore it. Have you talked to any of her friends' parents? Do the other kids have the same obsession? It might just be the cool thing to do in her class right now, and soon they'll move on to horses or ballet or something. Good luck, woof woof! ;)

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:58 PM on Jan. 31, 2010

  • My 4 yr old son thinks he is a dog. He acts like a dog all the time. We got a lab 4 months ago so he is still enamored with our dog. Last year he always thought he was a car. It is a fun stage. They get these crazy little obsessions for a while and then move on. It is a sign of a healthy, active imagination. Nothing to worry about in my opinion.

    Answer by AnnaMac at 11:10 PM on Jan. 31, 2010

  • My SKs have done this before. However, I always have made it clear that there are times and places for certain behavior. At the dinner table and out in town are not the places for acting like animals. Otherwise, I don't see anything wrong with having a fun imagination.

    Answer by aly38914290 at 11:23 PM on Jan. 31, 2010

  • My oldest daughter did this until she was 10, and at some point her friends started thinking she was strange. If she still has a friend who enjoys doing it, then she's probably not too old yet. If she's still doing it when her friend outgrows it, or if she does other inappropriate things you should probably talk to her teacher and your pediatrician. My daughter who pushed it too far has ADHD and often does things that are not age-appropriate. I would set limits on it at the dinner table and out in public, but I wouldn't try to stop it completely at this age. You can explain to her what times it won't be allowed, and if she does it at the table ask her to leave and come back when she can act like a girl with good manners.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:38 PM on Feb. 1, 2010

  • She does seem a little old to be doing that, but like the above poster said - if she has friends that do it too I guess she isn't too old...have you tried sitting her down and telling her that she is welcome to be a "puppy" at certain times but that it's not appropriate at other times and then when you are at home letting her do it but when it's time to go somewhere explain before you go that once you get outside it's time to stop? What does she do when you tell her to stop?

    Answer by stepmom929 at 11:54 AM on Feb. 2, 2010

  • My son acts like an animal all the time. Mostly from the movies he sees. Like the Lion King to Madagasgar (Marty and Alex). Its part of their imagination and free play. It use to bother me as well until I stopped paying attention to it and he started to act like a little boy more and more.

    Answer by randerykah at 10:50 PM on Feb. 2, 2010

  • My daughter's 11years 6 months old. She never liked dolls. Since she was a toddler, her toys preference was creepy animals (spiders, lizards, snakes...), dinosaurs, and stuffed animals. Every single toy she likes to play with is an animal figure.She loves to watch animal geographic. She knows things about any type of animal around the world that I haven't heard of. I took her to the animal kingdom in Orlando, Florida, and a cast member was amazed that she knew more stuff about the Komodo dragon than him!
    She catches butterflies, lizards and small creatures easily and tell things about them.When she goes to parties that are held outdoors, instead of playing with kids, she is searching for small animals. She told me that when she rides with me or daddy, she pretends (in her mind) she is a cheetah and the other cars are her prey, running wild away from her. The sad part, is that she has none who thinks like her to bond with.

    Answer by Larissa12345 at 7:46 PM on Jul. 23, 2013

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