or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › The Childhood Years › Almost 4 yo pretending to be a dog - would you be concerned?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Almost 4 yo pretending to be a dog - would you be concerned?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

DS (who is almost 4 yo) recently started pretend playing that he was a dog from time to time.  I really didn't think anything of it since we have two dogs and he is at that age where his imagination is just running wild!  He will do this from once in a while during the day...crawling on all 4's and will curl up in a ball like the dogs in some of their sleep spots or pretending to sniff things etc.  He gave the dog a name too - "Frank".  When he pretends like this he will still interact with me and if I ask him a question he will answer - so its not like he is zoned out or anything.  Anyways...on the weekend my MIL was over (she is a retired teacher) and she was really worried about his behaviour.  She told me that it was something that I should strongly discourage and was not "normal".  She then proceeded to tell me a story about a child she taught who took this type of pretend play too far and would pretend to be a dog in Grade 2, barking at people and licking desks.  So this thing that I thought was innocent fun now has me worried!!  Is it normal?  Is it really something I should be discouraging him from doing?

post #2 of 29
Sounds perfectly normal. Your MIL's reaction is what is strange to me!
post #3 of 29

I think it's totally normal. Not worth a second thought.  My almost-4 is frequently a cat.
 

post #4 of 29

Kids pretend to be animals all the time. I wouldn't give it a second thought.
 

post #5 of 29

Second grade.  Yes... be concerned.  But, a four year old is supposed to have imaginary play like this.

 

One of my daycare kids pretends to be Peppa Pig all the time.  He's sometimes a puppy.  ( I draw the line at letting him lick the other parent's legs)  But, it's just fun.

 

I won't let him be a "pretend baby" at my house, but, only because the other kids are starting to think he's weird, and I have two real babies to deal with... I'm not playing pretend baby with him.  But, that doesn't make him abnormal.

post #6 of 29

I pretended to be a dog up through fifth grade. It seemed to piss off my classmates, but I still became human again later, lol. And I think the conflict with my classmates was more just an overall lack of social skills on my part.

 

Your MIL is weird.

post #7 of 29

Uh, yeah totally normal. My three year does it a lot and she knows she's not a dog, we don't even have one.

 

I wouldn't be bothered by a 2nd grader play acting either, though I would expect them to know when it is appropriate or not.

post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by J1379 View Post

DS (who is almost 4 yo) recently started pretend playing that he was a dog from time to time.  I really didn't think anything of it since we have two dogs and he is at that age where his imagination is just running wild!  He will do this from once in a while during the day...crawling on all 4's and will curl up in a ball like the dogs in some of their sleep spots or pretending to sniff things etc.  He gave the dog a name too - "Frank".  When he pretends like this he will still interact with me and if I ask him a question he will answer - so its not like he is zoned out or anything.  Anyways...on the weekend my MIL was over (she is a retired teacher) and she was really worried about his behaviour.  She told me that it was something that I should strongly discourage and was not "normal".  She then proceeded to tell me a story about a child she taught who took this type of pretend play too far and would pretend to be a dog in Grade 2, barking at people and licking desks.  So this thing that I thought was innocent fun now has me worried!!  Is it normal?  Is it really something I should be discouraging him from doing?

Ironically enough, when I was in 2nd grade (heck, maybe it was 4th!), we had a bad winter and weeks on end of indoor recess.  Our entire grade went through a period of pretending we were dogs and running around on all 4's.  There were different "gangs" of dogs and we'd go on missions and pretend to spy on each other, etc.  I remember it was *really* fun (although writing about it now, as an adult, it's hard to imagine why...)  One grouchy older teacher was disapproving, but the others were OK with it or thought it was funny.

 

I remember my mom getting upset when I let my preschool-aged sons play dress-up.  Although the one son was just in love with these red, sequined shoes, for the most part they weren't even "cross-dressing".  They had Army jackets, scrubs, Indian headdresses, that sort of thing.  But Mom thought dress-up was "weird" for boys and that I might "make they gay".  Sometimes you just have to smile and wonder what on Earth the older generation's parents taught them about raising children?

post #9 of 29
When one of my favorite kids was four, she introduced herself to someone once by saying, "My name is actually S_____, but I prefer to be referred to as 'Puppy'." She had the greatest way of phrasing things... but no one batted an eye at calling her Puppy!
post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 

THANK YOU ladies!!!  I'm so glad to see that you all agree with me and feel it is totally normal!  I hate that being a parent makes you always second-guess yourself and worry that your child is not developing appropriately. I get angry at myself for even caring about comments others make and hate that those comments that initially make me angry yet end up sticking in my head and worrying me!  I was really annoyed at my MIL too - and Jeannine I agree...I think it might just be a generational gap thing!  My MIL is much more into structured activities instead of creative play and I try to foster that in my DS!  I love seeing how his mind works and the amazing things that he can think up on his own!

 

Thanks again!!! 

post #11 of 29

Well my second grader still acts like a cat quite a bit - but like the pp pointed out - she knows when it's ok and when not - she loves to put on her cat outfit (leopard top/pants with matching tail and ears) and be a cat - Does she do it in school? maybe at recess but not to my knowledge? She's in tag and considered very creative by teachers and others that see her work - so I think your MIL is OVER GENERALIZING b/c she knew one strage kid that probably had alot of OTHER issues, but happend to act like a dog

 

Aside from not knowing when it was appropriate I'd only be concerned if he refused to 'come out' of being a dog even after long periods (hours)

 

just my .02

post #12 of 29

This thread made me laugh...especially the story of the entire grade two class transforming into a room full of dogs!

 

I also agree your MIL is overreacting.  My 3 year old was a duck all day Saturday....as we went about our errands and people spoke with her she would reply that she couldn't talk to them because she was a duck and ducks can't talk.  Adorable, and hilarious.

post #13 of 29

<psst- big secret here> milk it for what its worth. my dd wouldnt ever want to leave the grocery store but the puppy would on an imaginary leash.

 

use this time to your great advantage. i got my 'puppy' but mostly 'kitten' to do a lot of things which dd refused to do as herself. of course the part "I" didnt like is that i had to deal with the puppy licking my face. the more i said ewwww the more the puppy shook her behind and licked me more. eyesroll.gif

post #14 of 29

Totally normal...
 

post #15 of 29
My only concern is re your mother-in-law. LOL. I wouldn't even be concerned about a 2nd grader, unless he/she were unable to put it on hold and was disrupting class.
post #16 of 29

My son will imitate dogs frequently since he was raised with some. Perfectly normal, IMO.

post #17 of 29
Lol! So normal! My dd1 did this for a long time at the same age. She even had a special dog name- Marie. She found an old dog collar we didn't use and would wear it. Her dad even made her a tag for it that said "Marie". She'd try to get in our dog's crate with him. It was cute and normal... Obviously, she outgrew it. smile.gif
post #18 of 29

My little sister pretended to be a cat until she was about 8 or 9, so thoroughly that we had to call her "Kitty" and we still do. She's completely normal and went to [IVY LEAGUE UNIVERSITY]. Your can tell your MIL to stuff it.

post #19 of 29

my 5 year old ds does this although its not always dogs ...can be squirrels , ducks , rabbits etc

post #20 of 29

THANK YOU for writing this, I loved all the replies and yes it's perfectly normal behavior. I was a "cat" or "cougar" all the time growing up, and had to take off my "kitty suit" before I could become myself again. LOL. My parents never thought anything about it, but my own 4 year old is now constantly pretending to be a dog (or a princess, or whatever) and my in-laws called her "weird" and I was infuriated. They dont see her often as they spend the winters in Florida and are home for the Holidays. It's upsetting because why do people feel the need to judge others children? Their own kids are hardly perfect, one is a barely functioning adult man, so why the need to make me feel like there is something wrong with my child? Look at your own, and worry about them! I have to hear "Well, MY BOYS never did that" when my daughter is doing something my MIL find unacceptable. And she makes it clear my parenting style is completely wrong in her book. I just keep my head up and ignore her - she parented 40 years ago and I dont think either of them will ever understand or even want to understand the difference.

 

I was happy to find this site and this post in-particular, now if they would just read it! :)
 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: The Childhood Years
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › The Childhood Years › Almost 4 yo pretending to be a dog - would you be concerned?