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Inlaws, my 3 yo, and Barbie - Page 2

post #21 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

 

I think if you choose a path in life that is an obvious path and others try and try again to make it hard for you than you have every right to be angry.  My 6 yr old played Call of Duty at my sisters house. Really?  She's 6!  I asked that she didn't play any of the games they had.  That was my only request!   My dad brought alcohol into my house right after we had a heart to heart about how me and my siblings were effected by his alcohol abuse.  He didn't care.  I didn't want that around my kids and he still brought it.  My concerns were relevant.  It's more than a barbie, it's the fact that our wishes for our kids are disregarded.  DH's dad sends the kids a box of clothes on Christmas and it all smells like smoke.  Should I just accept it?  Can't take it back even with the tags on them.  Yeah I can wash them but they're always too small or too big.  They ask sizes and they forget I guess. 

 



Yep, you have every right to be angry.  However, I would say that you're only hurting yourself if you stew about it or work yourself up into righteous fury, no matter how righteous.  It's not so much about accepting those people as it is accepting *reality*.

 

The reality is, your dad is an alcoholic (or I assume so, based on is behavior).  The reality is your FIL is a smoker who smokes in his house, and everything that he sends you is going to reek of cigarette smoke (he probably doesn't even smell it).  Your sister does not accept your rules regarding your child when she's over at HER house.  You have absolutely no power whatsoever to change them or their behavior.  So you can refuse to accept the reality of who they are and how they behave, but that only creates frustration and hurt on your end.  It doesn't punish them, and doesn't even change the situation.

 

I think it makes life easier to deal with things in reality, not what I wish they were.  If that means not allowing my kids over to someone's house unsupervised (until they're old enough and/or have developed more impulse control) so be it.  If it means kicking someone out of my house because they didn't do what I asked them to do (like not bring booze over to my house when I hate it and they're an active alcoholic), then so be it.  If it means that I have to dump every single box that a relative sends in the garbage because I don't want to deal with it--then so be it.  It'd be great if everything was how "it should be", but it's not.  I can either waste time wishing for my fantasy/what might be normal to expect if I was dealing with sane/rational/considerate people and continue to beat my head against a brick wall, or I can choose to operate in my current reality and just accept that these problem people in my life are who they are and I don't really have anything I can control about it.

 

For me anyway, it's the latter that has given me the most peace, so that's why I try my best to operate that way.  Hard to do sometimes when it's family though, but I try.

 

 

post #22 of 40

Just wanted to give some support to 1stTimeMama.  I agree that Barbie is not necessarily the devil. Whether or not Barbie is in my house (I imagine she will weasel her way in at some point) Cady will see Barbie and play with Barbie elsewhere.  It's up to my partner and I to teach her to love herself, empower her to be an independent, free-thinking person, and create an empowering environment for her. 

 

If we've done our jobs right, having a plastic, chesty doll who's waiting for her prince shouldn't really make too much difference.

 

-----

 

Edited to add: Another tactic, if Barbie is seeming like an inevitability in your home due to your IL's refusal to respect your wishes... and you're having trouble just donating the Barbie, maybe use it as a teachable moment to take about Barbie's creator, Ruth Handler, and how she was a pioneer w/r/t women climbing the corporate ladder at a time when "the place" for women was in the home, not as business executives.  Or explain how many careers Barbie has had over her 50 years - including president.

 

http://www.womensconference.org/mattel/


Edited by sunwillshine - 11/22/11 at 6:11am
post #23 of 40

It's true, like I said before, it could be a $5 book (not something handcrafted) and they still wouldn't care. She spent almost $200, I believe, on her first Christmas (she was 10 months, mind you), on a animatronic rocking horse, it would have been much cheaper to just buy her a wooden rattle ($5), not only is it useless/ pointless to purchase, like much of the other mamas that are responding, it's extremely materialistic to spend that much money on something, especially since its much cheaper to buy a horse head on a wooden stick. Wooden toys aren't always the most expensive, it is the "blatant disregard" that ultimately pays the price. In our situation it would be easier to buy what Audrey actually wants, and she's able to express it this year, then have me say "we can leave it at your house so she has something to play with".

post #24 of 40

I believe my in-laws had this problem. My husband said they used to just tell his sisters they couldn't have the dolls (they were given directly) and probably why. Eventually though, they finally had to say "no barbies." I don't really have to worry about this as much. My oldest DD has a few barbies, but they aren't as... "bad" as most of the ones out there so I decided to just let her have them. My friend made them different clothes... Or correction, my friend made them clothes so they would have some! :)

post #25 of 40

P.S. Have you seen these Barbie "alternatives?"  Maybe if your ILs insist on a "fashion" doll, you could encourage them to get something like this?

 

http://www.onlyheartsclub.com/

post #26 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyndzies View Post

 

 

If we've done our jobs right, having a plastic, chesty doll who's waiting for her prince shouldn't really make too much difference.

 


Exactly.  I think some people are giving a doll too much power.  I mean, if Barbie represents everything you stand against, do you really think your DD playing with her for a short time in her life is going to negate all that you have instilled in her and taught her about body image and feminism?  There's definitely room for both. 

 

And really, the Barbie and doll phase in general is short lived.  It really is for most girls.  My DD is 10, and hasn't been into playing with Barbies (or *gasp* Bratz for years now.  The funny thing is that now, as a pre-teen getting ready to enter middle school next year, THIS is the time where it is critical to work on her self-esteem, the power of peer pressure, not conforming to society's image of what women should look like and how much value there is placed on the physical body, and so on.  Her playing with a doll at 4, 5, or 6 years old doesn't carry on to how she views herself as a developing female.  It just doesn't, because she is smarter than that.  And we could use those dolls and their clothing options and their make-up or hair styles as a reference point and a teaching moment. 

 

Teenage girls are not ruined by playing with Barbie dolls as a young child.  There is something to be said, though, for not being allowed to follow their interests at that age - such as when a child really, really, really wants a Barbie doll to play with and her parents forbid one to enter their house.  If you don't value her as an individual separate from yourself, you are likely to see some rebellion and maybe even questionable behavior as she finds herself as a young women.  Imaginary play as a child is a safe way to explore the world - much safer than when there is a lot more at stake and the consequences can be huge. 

 

In-laws and family members not following your wishes or being passive-aggressive is a separate issue.  But it's important to look closely as to why exactly you are opposed to what they want to give - whether it's a Barbie doll or a Leapster or a DVD.  Are you giving too much power to a childhood toy?  If you do your job as a parent, those things will not make a long-lasting impact on the human being you are raising.  It's not always worth getting upset and causing hurt feelings, whether it's your child's or the gift giver. 

 

post #27 of 40

Meh, Barbie dies at my house and that's all that really matters.  If I look out into my back yard right now I'll see a cemetery of barbie feet sticking out of their head first graves.  All casualties of accidents and limb loss. 

 

As far as being annoyed with the crap that is sent to my kids, I do take it to heart.  After 12 yrs of marriage the IL's can get over themselves and their stupid trashy gifts.  Do I sound like a jerk.  Yes I do.  Again my crotchfruit, my rules.  If I pay for every visit, the IL's could atleast listen to me when I ask over and over again not to give them certain things. 

post #28 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

 Self centered?  yeah maybe, but they're my Crotch Fruit!  I did the labor, so my rules RULE!
 



 


ROTFLMAO.gif

 

post #29 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post

Teenage girls are not ruined by playing with Barbie dolls as a young child.  There is something to be said, though, for not being allowed to follow their interests at that age - such as when a child really, really, really wants a Barbie doll to play with and her parents forbid one to enter their house.  If you don't value her as an individual separate from yourself, you are likely to see some rebellion and maybe even questionable behavior as she finds herself as a young women.  Imaginary play as a child is a safe way to explore the world - much safer than when there is a lot more at stake and the consequences can be huge. 



The bolded is going to go on my fridge.  Or in my phone, or somewhere I can read it everyday.  So powerful, and so true!

post #30 of 40

my heart goes out to you, mama. we have a very similar relationship with my inlaws. we often speak out, which has caused a lot of dissent. we sometimes don't which causes us to seethe and feel disempowered in our own parenting. I agree, it's the idea that - why wouldn't they want to support you in raising your child as you see best? It does matter. I have been shocked how little trying to communicate directly has worked for us. The relationship as it is now causes me lots of stress. Lots. I hope you find a way to make it work. if so, please share :)

post #31 of 40


Quote:

Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post


Exactly.  I think some people are giving a doll too much power.  I mean, if Barbie represents everything you stand against, do you really think your DD playing with her for a short time in her life is going to negate all that you have instilled in her and taught her about body image and feminism?  There's definitely room for both. 

 

And really, the Barbie and doll phase in general is short lived.  It really is for most girls.  My DD is 10, and hasn't been into playing with Barbies (or *gasp* Bratz for years now.  The funny thing is that now, as a pre-teen getting ready to enter middle school next year, THIS is the time where it is critical to work on her self-esteem, the power of peer pressure, not conforming to society's image of what women should look like and how much value there is placed on the physical body, and so on.  Her playing with a doll at 4, 5, or 6 years old doesn't carry on to how she views herself as a developing female.  It just doesn't, because she is smarter than that.  And we could use those dolls and their clothing options and their make-up or hair styles as a reference point and a teaching moment. 

 

Teenage girls are not ruined by playing with Barbie dolls as a young child.  There is something to be said, though, for not being allowed to follow their interests at that age - such as when a child really, really, really wants a Barbie doll to play with and her parents forbid one to enter their house.  If you don't value her as an individual separate from yourself, you are likely to see some rebellion and maybe even questionable behavior as she finds herself as a young women.  Imaginary play as a child is a safe way to explore the world - much safer than when there is a lot more at stake and the consequences can be huge. 

 

In-laws and family members not following your wishes or being passive-aggressive is a separate issue.  But it's important to look closely as to why exactly you are opposed to what they want to give - whether it's a Barbie doll or a Leapster or a DVD.  Are you giving too much power to a childhood toy?  If you do your job as a parent, those things will not make a long-lasting impact on the human being you are raising.  It's not always worth getting upset and causing hurt feelings, whether it's your child's or the gift giver. 

 



Not sure if my post conveyed what I wanted it to, this is pretty much exactly what I meant.

 

In laws being passive aggressive is a problem in the relationship for which I don't know if there is a solution. Directly addressing the issue may or may not make a difference. I think you need to pick your battles.  When there is conflict over gift giving, I think that it's an unnecessary fight.  If your child isn't interested in the gift, donate it. If the gift is dangerous, throw it away. If the in law never sees the gifts they send, you can tell them what happens to them. If they don't ask, who cares.  If your child loves it and you are morally opposed to your child playing with that specific toy, you need to really think about what it is you oppose and whether perhaps there is a better way to handle the situation.  

 

I see a lot of hard and fast RULES about what happens in MY house with MY child, and I am simply suggesting that the situation may be more complicated.  I'm not advocating that every kid have hundreds of dollars worth of plastic crap and barbie dolls, but I worry that if a mother is so inflexible that she cannot value her child's feelings that is a much bigger problem.  Instead of hiding all things Barbie/Disney/princess/plastic from your child and getting mad if someone exposes your child to those things, maybe use it as a teaching tool. If your child isn't interested in them, go ahead and get rid of them. If your child is though, never letting them play with things they love is going to do a hell of a lot more damage than letting the child play with the toy and explaining why barbie isn't representative of a real woman, that a princess doesn't need a prince, and that plastic toys are dangerous for the environment. 

post #32 of 40

I must disagree and say I played with barbies for a long time, I had a special suitcase full of them and I was spoiled. I have a really good long term photographic memory, so I remember idolizing her, wanting to be everything she was and it may have altered my confidence a bit as I got older (10-12). I am in no way not "smart" for feeling the way I did because I'm living proof. Most girls are sensitive, and I was very sensitive as a young girl, so that does mess with your mentality. I'd rather stick with open ended toys that help my daughter stimulate her imagination, than have her assume there is only one way to look, dress or have her dream car, marketing at its best.

 

On a lighter note :p my hubby called the in law today and told her to forget the Walmart dollhouse and get her something to do with science, like a bug catcher (AE is really into nature). It's always good to know that people eventually come around, and that as mothers, we always know what's best for our children.

post #33 of 40

Quote:
Originally Posted by cassandraz View Post

I must disagree and say I played with barbies for a long time, I had a special suitcase full of them and I was spoiled. I have a really good long term photographic memory, so I remember idolizing her, wanting to be everything she was and it may have altered my confidence a bit as I got older (10-12). I am in no way not "smart" for feeling the way I did because I'm living proof. Most girls are sensitive, and I was very sensitive as a young girl, so that does mess with your mentality. I'd rather stick with open ended toys that help my daughter stimulate her imagination, than have her assume there is only one way to look, dress or have her dream car, marketing at its best.

 

On a lighter note :p my hubby called the in law today and told her to forget the Walmart dollhouse and get her something to do with science, like a bug catcher (AE is really into nature). It's always good to know that people eventually come around, and that as mothers, we always know what's best for our children.


Do you really believe that playing with Barbie dolls was the sole cause of your lack of confidence? There weren't any other factors?

 

post #34 of 40

I'm just weighing in here on the "why Barbies suck" part of the discussion. I can only speak from experience but I had a closet full of Barbies and clothes ... the dollhouse, convertible, etc. They seriously restricted my play. Once Barbie came around my games as a child were about the prettiest Barbie the one with the best new clothes and the most stuff. It was incredibly limited by drawing my constant attention to a lifestyle of glamour and indulgence. We have plenty of that to deal with outside the home. I would never want to bring that dynamic to my child's precious play.

post #35 of 40

OP: it depends on whether this is part of a pattern of actively trying to undermine your parenting, or whether it's just cluelessness. It also depends on how close they are to your family. How open are they to suggestions? My family is very open to lists and suggestions. We make a gift list for the kids every year. Dh's family just doesn't do gift lists. There's no way that I can suggest a present and not be offend. So I don't. And sometimes we get gifts that are really off. This is the side of the family that has given us the electronic toys, and, yes, the Barbie. If they're open to suggestions, suggest Groovy Girls or the Only Hearts Club. If not, is it worth risking the relationship over this? If the relationship is already not healthy, it could be. If this is the only thing, I'd hesitate. If you really think it's worth it, then it's your husband's job to talk to the parents, not yours.

 

Yes, they know you're against plastic, but perhaps in their world "everyone has a Barbie". They may just not get your perspective. Have you told them about your friends with eating disorders? Do they know many other people with similar values? My work with teaching adults has shown me over and over again (and it's well documented by research): Changing world views is a very difficult task. It's even harder when the ideas/preconceptions you're trying to change are very different from the ones you're trying to teach. You may have lived with your in-laws for 3 years, but did they really learn anything in those three years? A few things that you mentioned may not have been enough for them to truly understand.

 

I also agree with the others that one Barbie probably won't warp her for life. I'll be part of the "Barbie probably isn't going ruin your daugther's life". The one Barbie my daughter was given was undressed twice. We lost the shoe. Dd didn't care for it. When she was with her Sunday School group last week, the subject of Barbies came up. One little girl really wanted a bin full of them to play with at church. My daughter said "I hate Barbie". Her best friend said "When I was in preschool, I once ripped the head off a Barbie." orngbiggrin.gif Neither of these kids were warped by the few Barbies they had. And knowing the parents of the other little girl, I don't think she will be either.

 

 

post #36 of 40

I wanted to add my support to First Time Mom and some of the others here. Mainly, I want to say that family relationships are often quite difficult. But as you get older you discover that there are only a few people in life who really, really love your child, who would do ANYTHING for your child.  Assuming they are not evil, but just a little nuts, like all of us, you start to realize that your child and those loving people have their OWN relationship that can last well into their adulthood, if they are lucky.

So, when your children are very young, you have the power to protect them from untoward influences. But weigh things. Weigh exactly how bad that well-intended Barbie is against the mountain of love that sent it. Ask yourself if it is so hard to let Barbie painlessly disappear in the couch a few weeks from now. 

This advice is from somebody who spent a lot of time preaching to her poor relatives, who were afraid to bring any plastic dolls to the house. And who now finds herself missing her mother in law more than she could ever have known, and wondering why she cared about plastic more than people.

post #37 of 40

Family is family, if you can't ask them not to bring a barbie into your house then what?  There are a million other toys out there.  Millions!  Why does it have to be barbie? 

 

My MIL once sent a baby alive to DD2.  I told her it wasn't a good idea because once the doll starts making sounds DD2 will freak out and cry.  "Oh but she loves babies, and she'll adore the doll"  So, a nicely wrapped package show up, DD2 sees it's a baby, (by the way there are lots of none noise making babies on the market) gets excited until... babie makes noises.  DD2 screamed, threw it and ran away terrified.  Baby alive went to the garage and was not allowed back in the house per DD2.  This was her reaction at the store as well when she first saw it.  I think we know a little better what is best for our kids.  MIL found it funny. 

post #38 of 40

@lovepickles, well said :)

post #39 of 40

@imakcerka, I agree and i am very negotiable, even if they got a board game (like high ho cherry), I'd let her actually play with it a couple times and have her count the cherries.

 

But... (always a but), in reference to our current "Walmart dollhouse" dilemma, I totally forgot to mention that my in law and I were actually looking on the computer at wooden dollhouses we were thinking of getting her, it was prob around last Christmas or her bday. I would LOVE to think she forgot, but like all of us mommies, we know them well, and out of all toys it's weird that she would choose a dollhouse. Overall, I don't think about it much, we always have a plan of action.

post #40 of 40

OP, are you absolutely sure the Barbie is a passive-aggressive attack on your parenting style?

Because my first thought was, "a gift -- how nice!"

 

Deborah Tannen has some great books about relationships that might interest you, like I only say this because I love you: How the way we talk can make or break family relationships throughout our lives.  The gist of a lot of her stuff is separating the message from the metamessage (the underlying message).  

I would assume that the gift-giver is trying to please the gift-recipient, with or without considering your feelings.  But the main message is probably love of granddaughter.  Try responding to that message.  You do write a thank you note before you exchange it, right?  

 

 

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