Inlaws, my 3 yo, and Barbie - Page 2 - Mothering Forums
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Life with a Toddler > Inlaws, my 3 yo, and Barbie
1stTimeMama4-4-10's Avatar 1stTimeMama4-4-10 05:28 PM 11-22-2011


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. 



aHikaru's Avatar aHikaru 09:14 PM 11-22-2011

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.


1stTimeMama4-4-10's Avatar 1stTimeMama4-4-10 10:18 PM 11-22-2011

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?

 


lovepickles's Avatar lovepickles 01:17 AM 11-23-2011

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.


LynnS6's Avatar LynnS6 01:54 AM 11-23-2011

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.

 

 


cattmom's Avatar cattmom 02:30 AM 11-23-2011

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.


Imakcerka 06:42 AM 11-23-2011

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. 


aHikaru's Avatar aHikaru 07:05 AM 11-23-2011

@lovepickles, well said :)


aHikaru's Avatar aHikaru 07:23 AM 11-23-2011

@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.


ThreeTwoFive's Avatar ThreeTwoFive 09:31 PM 11-26-2011

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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