Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: May 18, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971935 | Print ISBN: 9781412966702 | Online ISBN: 9781412971935| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Playing “doctor” is a form of unstructured and informal play, often occurring outside of adult supervision and, frequently, against adult wishes. Such play is frequently sexual in nature, in that young children will use the “game” to explore sexual themes. Most child psychologists regard playing doctor as a form of spontaneous play, where children explore their own bodies and, sometimes, those of their peers. It is generally considered to be an innocent and natural activity, so long as it does not violate others or persist in adult requests that the behaviors cease. Prior to the work of Sigmund Freud, expressions of a child's sexuality ...