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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4428
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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Is a 9 year old girl too old to play with baby dolls or stuffed

Customer Question

Is a 9 year old girl too old to play with baby dolls or stuffed animals? My daughter is concerned because my ex husband says she is and some of her friends say she is. I do not agree.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 10 months ago.

Dr. Z :

Hello I believe I can help you with your concern

Dr. Z :

At the age of 9, playing with dolls, imaginary play, and playing with stuffed animals is still perfectly acceptable and should not necessarily be discouraged.

Dr. Z :

Now if your daughter is to choosing to play with dolls and her stuffed animals over playing and interacting with her friends, this can be problematic. But if that is not the case, then there is no reason why she should discontinue to play with dolls and stuffed animals.

Dr. Z :

Many children continue to actively play with dolls and stuffed animals till they reach the age of 12 years old and this is not considered abnormal.

Dr. Z :

If you are concerned, you can help designate appropriate play times and non-play times with your daughter. For instance, she cannot play with her dolls or stuffed animals at the dinner table or she cannot play with them outside her bedroom. This can help her differentiate between when and where it is appropriate to play with dolls and stuffed animals and when and where not to play with them

Dr. Z :

In addition, you mention teaching your daughter nurturing skills while playing with these dolls and stuffed animals and those are valuable lessons that will help her develop a healthy personality as teenager and an adult

Dr. Z :

So overall, there is no reason why you should be concerned about your daughter playing with dolls and stuffed animals. Many children at her age still continue to play with dolls and stuffed animals. The only problem that I can see is if she chooses to play with her dolls and stuffed animals over playing with friends, then this can lead to isolation and a regression in her social skills, but only if this is a pattern of behavior. If not, then like I said I do not believe you or your ex-husband have anything to be concerned about.

Dr. Z :

I see that you are online right now, so I will stop typing to give you a chance to ask any questions or concerns that you may have.

Customer:

Thank you Dr. Z. I have been trying to build her self esteem and realize that there is nothing at all abnormal with her playing with dolls and it is in fact very healthy. Unfortunately it is my ex-husband's wife who is telling her that and makes her feel like there is something wrong with her in several situations.

Dr. Z :

I am so sorry that your ex-husband's wife is trying to discourage your daughter from this type of play. Playing with dolls is a form of imaginary play and it is a vital component in a child's development and will help her with her own self-esteem and how she interacts with others because she is actively role-playing during this type of play

Customer:

She has also been told that she is too old to be tucked in and many other things that have built up. She has been struggling with this for some time and on all accounts, I have told her that she is very normal. She is very social and does not replace playing with her friends using dolls. She has been through a lot and is still going through a lot emotionally over our divorce which has taken 3 years along with an introduction and now marriage to his new wife very soon after we separated.

Dr. Z :

So the dolls and stuffed animals can also be a form of emotional support for her too and I think it would be harmful to take them away or discourage her from playing with them. I agree that you are doing the right thing about encouraging her to continue to play with her dolls and stuffed animals and that it is a healthy behavior at her age. If you and your ex-husband continue to disagree on this, then you can ask for a consult with a child psychologist, so that he can get an objective opinion on this because I would not want your daughter to continue being confused by hearing your side and his wife's side.

Dr. Z :

I can recommend some child therapists/psychologists in your area if you like, but like I said there is no harm to your daughter if she continues to play with her dolls and stuffed animals because she is still being social and interacting well with her peers.

Customer:

Again, thank you very much. She has been seeing a psychologist every other week for 3 years and it has been very helpful, however my ex-husband and his wife apparently are not always truthful. Since our divorce on June 3rd of this year, she has shared with me that they are both telling her details about the judge's decision after a financial trial. I have a master's degree in Audiology which is 23 years old as we decided together that I would be a stay at home mom .

Dr. Z :

Oh I am sorry that they have not been truthful and sharing details of the judges decision of your financial trial, I can see how that can complicate matters.

Dr. Z :

It is good that your daughter is seeing a psychologist, and if the psychologist has not brought it up about playing with her dolls and stuffed animals, then that is just more reason why this is not a problematic behavior.

Customer:

The whole thing is very bizarre and surreal and I am currently taking legal steps to stop his wife from harassing me via texts and he has put her in place of himself for all communication since before June when it was obvious that the trial was not going as he expected. He spent two years trying to get sole custody of our daughter as he wanted to move to San Francisco where his now wife lived at the time. Very last minute, he came to court and agreed to joint custody, 50/50, however, I now regret agreeing to that but could not foresee just how bad it was going to become. He now wants our daughter to discontinue counseling and the counselor I believe is afraid she will be involved in a legal battle when the truth is she is essential for the well being of our daughter to process for herself what has become a very confusing situation living between two households. Since the most recent behavior and my daughter is now afraid she will in fact get in to trouble with her dad and step mother by sharing her feelings with me and even with her counselor. My daughter is also very much aware due to the many derogatory statements they say against me, that they want her to not like me or choose sides. No matter what I have done so far, she has horrifically been put in the middle and told things by them that she has no business being a part of and the information is not true. This is why I have had to start legal action as they are going against the parenting agreement.

Dr. Z :

I agree with the legal action for your daughter's sake because your daughter is an innocent party in this and should not be in the middle of it like your ex-husband and his wife has been doing. I think seeing the counselor is benefiting your daughter as well based on what you described as this was a long and contentious divorce, and I think the counselor helped your daughter adjust and adapt to this new situation. I am so sorry that your daughter is going through this, that is not fair to her and not fair to you as well.

Customer:

They tell her I am evil, greedy, and not to say anything to me because I will just lie. They have said that the judge is evil and a bad man. This is coming from two very intelligent, professional individuals and is beyond my comprehension. I do not talk poorly about them but when she shares her feelings, which is often or what she is told, I have needed to tell her that they love her very much, however they are not making wise choices by the things they are telling her. If you can recommend a few counselors in my area of Libertyville, IL, I would appreciate it as I fear her current counselor may decide that she cannot continue to have my daughter as a client, although the counselor and I have an excellent repoire, and does not agree with my ex husband on all accounts, I believe they are denying what my daughter is telling me. My legal counsel is appauled as I am.

Dr. Z :

I am so sorry that they are trying to manipulate your daughter against you and everyone else too. That is reprehensible behavior by them, I agree and you should be appalled by their actions. Of course I can look for good child therapists in your area, give me a few minutes to compile a list for you

Dr. Z :

Here are some good psychologists in your area that have specialties working with children your daughter's age and also with divorce as well. I chose psychologists because they usually have more credibility in court as compared to a master's level therapist if it gets to that point.

Customer:

These apparently are links to finding a good child psychologist if the need arises? I hope I will not need to do this as it has taken some time for her to trust her counselor, but it is out of my control right now as to what her counselor decides. I know that the counselor wants her to continue in counseling but perhaps she feels it is beyond her expertise. I am not sure. She has only told me that since both parents disagree she needed to meet with her legal committee to see how to move forward therapeutically. My daughter has missed two sessions and I have been patiently waiting to be contacted, but plan to email her with more information to give her an update on the situation as it is always changing.

Customer:

Is there a way for me to print them out? I see there is a Save & Exit, so I was hoping that by doing that I could print your links.

Dr. Z :

Well psychologists do have advanced training beyond a traditional counselors, so they may be better equipped to continue the therapy sessions for your daughter.

Dr. Z :

Actually the save and exit does not end this session, only rating me with the smiley faces ends the session. A link of this chat should be sent to your email, so you will always have access to these links and what we talked about in the future. Also you can bookmark this chat using this link

Customer:

I cannot thank you enough. I have been feeling like our daughter has needed someone who is perhaps more aggressive and was very surprised when her first response was that perhaps we just needed to take a 2 month break. My response was that I did not want to change anything until I talked to my legal counsel. I told her counsel that to stop counseling there would need to be an agreement between all of us and did not expect her own counselor to discontinue her appointments and then wait so long for some kind of communication from her. BotXXXXX XXXXXne I guess is that I agree with you on everything. If you believe in prayer, then we sure could use it and I feel like I have to do what I can to help my daughter through this and in some instances not only protect her first and foremost, but protect myself.

Dr. Z :

I am so sorry that you and your daughter are going through this. I think continuing therapy with someone else may be wise because the long break between appointments may cause your daughter to regress from the progress she has already made. I do believe in prayer and I will definitely be praying for both of you.

Dr. Z :

Is there anything else I can assist you with tonight?

Customer:

No, that is all. You take care and thank you for your prayers as well. By the way, I actually started this so I could show my daughter that she is normal because the issue keeps coming up even when her counselor has said that it is very normal. It is little compared to the other things being told to her but I am trying to use as many helpful resources as possible since I disagreed so strongly for all of the reasons that you mentioned. It may take a judge to change this situation, which is very sad and I want to make the right choices for our daughter as this cannot all continue.

Dr. Z :

I agree this cannot continue and I think that you are doing what is right and best for your daughter. And yes your daughter playing with her dolls and stuffed animals is perfectly normal and she has nothing to worry about, in fact it will most likely help her become more of an empathetic person as she gets older because she is learning appropriate role playing and nurturing skills by playing with dolls and stuffed animals.

Dr. Z :

I wish you and your daughter the best of luck with everything. My goal is to provide you with excellent service, so if you ever have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at anytime.

Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4428
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
Dr. Z and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 10 months ago.
Thank you very much for the positive review and very generous bonus, I truly appreciate it. I wish you and your daughter the best and my prayers are with both of you. If you need anything else or have any future questions, please feel free to contact me at anytime or put "For DoctorZ only" before any future questions/concerns that you may have :)

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