Boys and dolls? - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-29-2001, 11:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How many of you let your boys play with dolls or specifically buy dolls for your boys? I do not want Elijah growing up with the gender roles so firmly defined. They already aren't in our home, DH is way more domestic than me. But I think boys should be able to play with dolls and girls should be able to play with trucks and so on. For this reason I have bought him a baby doll for Christmas (he will be 11 months old) and it did not bother me at all when he was playing dolls with his 2 1/2 year old girl cousin on Tuesday. My mother on the other hand thinks I am insane. So what do you do?

Shawna, married to Michael, mommy to Elijah 1/18/01, Olivia 11/9/02, and Eliana 1/22/06
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Old 11-30-2001, 12:39 AM
 
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Let him play with the dolls, I would and plan to when ds is old enough. At this point he would only eat them

Trust your instincts.
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Old 11-30-2001, 01:03 AM
 
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We were in a toy department when my ds was 10 months old. He reached out for a little 5 inch doll and kissed its face. I had to buy it for him! My DH and I encourage him when he has coversations with the baby and especially when he gives it kisses! He likes kissy baby about the same as his toy train. If I had a dd, she'd get a tractor!

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Old 11-30-2001, 01:44 AM
 
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Good question. My ds is 5 years old and ever since he was 1, he has had a doll. At 1-2 yrs. he loved pushing his baby around in the stroller. Last year for Christmas he wanted "Little T". Its a boy doll that talks. He still plays with him. He also received this year for his birthday, a daddy and little boy cloth doll. The daddy comes with a sling. I wanted him to have a doll that was a good role model for him. I ordered it from one of my favorite catalogs called attachments. I believe the website is www.attachmentcatalog.com. Its a home based business and they have great attachment parenting, homebirth & breastfeeding goodies. I have ordered plenty from them and adore their stuff.

Good luck!

Warmly~

Lisa

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Old 11-30-2001, 12:13 PM
 
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cater has a little boy doll. of course, right now he could care less about it, but i don't want him to ever feel like he can't play with something just because he is a boy!
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Old 11-30-2001, 02:29 PM
 
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I have never met a boy who didn't have a doll. I applaud parents who search high and low for dolls thier sons can relate to. I think playing with dolls does the same things for boys that it does for girls: prompts creative play, builds social skills, encourages tenderness and loving feelings towards younger children and builds a foundation for parenting skills. (my dd burse there dolls to and pumps when she has to be away. I want them to always have nursing in the front of thier minds). That said I bout her a sweet set of trucks and heavy machinary for her birthday. Kids play. It is how they grow. The more they play and the wider thier selection for play is the more they will grow.

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Old 05-30-2002, 12:02 PM
 
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I don't think there's anything that my daughter plays with that I wouldn't allow my son to enjoy. I think dolls are fine with boys. My 5 mo. old son loves to slobber all of the face to his cabbage patch kid soft baby. He's so intrigued with the facial features(for 15 seconds at a time). I do wonder when/if my son will ever ask to play with all the beautiful play dresses that my daughter loves. And if he does what do you say there???


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Old 05-30-2002, 12:39 PM
 
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Yesterday, as my ds and I were shopping for his cousin's b-day present, he said..."Mom, we need to get her a backpack for her doll, then if she is busy cooking dinner and the baby is crying, the baby can be close to her." Awwwwwww,

Warmly~

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Old 05-30-2002, 01:01 PM
 
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All three of my boys have had baby dolls. They all loved and played with them regularly when small (1-3 years) but I have to say that the baby dolls went forgotten in the corner (along with their great play kitchen) after about age 2.5. My youngest, who is almost 5, still has his beautiful handmade earth friends boy doll and sleeps with it every night, but none of them have any interest at all in playing with them. We finally gave our kitchen to a neighbor whose little girl loved it and played with it constantly while at our house. I was so sorry to see it go, but no one else misses it.
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Old 05-30-2002, 02:12 PM
 
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i have a doll house.
my 9 year old son LOVES to play with me.
he usually uses the male figures. on his own accord.

we have a little baby doll that my 10 month old likes to play with.


i also play "barbie" and my 9 year old is "ken". we have fun!

it teaches him how to be a nice grown up. his "ken" goes to work...takes barbie on dates... and is a nice dude
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Old 05-30-2002, 03:34 PM
 
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My ds who is 2 years, 4 months has a doll that we got from a yard sale (classic hard head and soft stuffed body). We got is aoubt 9 months ago and recently within the last 3 or 4 months, he plays with it all the time. Around the same time my best friend had a new baby boy and we are taking care of him once a week. My ds now lifts up his shirt to nurse his baby all on his own even with no other baby in the house. When we are taking care of the new little guy he likes to immitate what I am doing, patting his back, changing his clothes etc. Very sweet and gentle. Love the nursing part. "I need to nurse baby because he is crying."

Can't wait to see if thi s continues......

-Golden
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Old 05-30-2002, 03:35 PM
 
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When dd was 1 and ds was 4 I made them both Waldor Dolls for x-mass. Ds had an 'imaginary' friend Kamdon. So I made his doll look like what he described. I tucked the dolls in bed with them and my son woke up X-Mass morning running in my room "Mom, Kamdon is real - but I know you made him for me". He's now 7 - Kamdon is pretty worn out looking, but it's still ds's favorite sleepin' buddy. He dosn't tote it around, but he loves it at night time. I think it's sooooo sweet! Right now, we're looking for a doll sized guitar so Kamdon can 'jam' with him (hee, hee, hee).
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Old 05-31-2002, 12:02 AM
 
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The last time I posted about this, my DS was interested in kissing his baby. Now he makes sure that if he picks up a baby doll (or stuffed bunny or toy lizaed for that matter) he puts it in his lap for "nana" (nursing). DH and I are very encouraging!

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Old 05-31-2002, 12:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by zzzz97
I don't think there's anything that my daughter plays with that I wouldn't allow my son to enjoy. I think dolls are fine with boys. My 5 mo. old son loves to slobber all of the face to his cabbage patch kid soft baby. He's so intrigued with the facial features(for 15 seconds at a time). I do wonder when/if my son will ever ask to play with all the beautiful play dresses that my daughter loves. And if he does what do you say there???


My ds, who is 8, has played with dolls his whole life. He plays with the dollhouse, he plays with the play kitchen.

He and my dd and niece swapped clothes last summer for a few days, and he wore a lovely Easter dress. I told him the neighbor kids might tease him, but that it was perfectly fine to dress up. He went outside, and the neighbor kids did say something to him, but he explained why he was wearing the dress and they thought it was cool!

He has also been known to wear a tutu.

My friends son went through a period where he wore barettes like his sister.

I remember while growing up having my brother wear high heels to play in. He is very secure in his masculinity.

Role-playing is normal in kids. Wanting to wear something that is cool or different is normal. I'd say let him wear a dress if he wants!

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Old 05-31-2002, 12:59 PM
 
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How old is too old though? My cousin (male) has a huge collection of Barbies and dresses up in play dresses and tiara that my grandma picked up at garage sales for my other cousins to play with. My aunt and uncle have asked that she get rid of them because they don't think an 11 year old boy needs to be playing dress up and since he is the youngest, they don't think it should be an issue. She is hanging on to them for my step-daughter to play with when she comes to visit and she thinks there is nothing wrong with Robert dressing up. I would say there is nothing wrong with playing dress up and with dolls but at some point enough is enough. I doubt highly that I would allow an 11 year old boy to play in ball gowns and fairy wings. What do you all think?
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Old 05-31-2002, 01:48 PM
 
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Boys should be allowed to play with whatever they want!

My grandmother talks about how my father wanted a baby-doll when he was a child, and not just any baby-doll, it had to be an AA baby! (His family is French/English)
She said they just didn't make ethnic dolls back then and it was very hard to find but she finally did!
My brothers had them growing up, and because I was the eldest, probably played with them (at my insistence) longer than most.

As for the 11 y.o., would it be OK for an 11 y.o. niece (sp?) to revel in playing Construction worker/ Pirate/ Football coach?
My youngest brother loved to dress-up and play at everything (although I was in a Barbie-free family) because the older kids encouraged him to do so.

He was a brilliant actor in middle- and high-school and he still "dresses up" as an adult! (He's a Civil War Re-enactor).

Rather than curtailing the child's fantasy/imaginative play, perhaps re-direct it to another outlet that his family isn't so anxious about--take him to the theater, find a youth drama club, etc.

Is their concern that he plays in this way at all, or does he play exclusively at this. And, of course, does he, as the youngest, get a lot of resultant attention (pos. or neg.) that he might not otherwise receive?

My son (like my daughter) will get a waldorf-style looks-like-him doll handmade by my mother, along with matching outfits for it every time she makes him one! Of course, there will be other dolls, too.

Dolls are just fine for boys. I'm not sure, though, that Barbies are good for anyone! (half-kidding)

Just my thoughts!
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Old 05-31-2002, 02:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Teresa
As for the 11 y.o., would it be OK for an 11 y.o. niece (sp?) to revel in playing Construction worker/ Pirate/ Football coach?
In our family? Probably not. All the girls were raised pretty much as boys and encouraged away from dolls and towards trucks and war toys (my dad and uncle have both been in the military at various points) I think that is what distrubes his family so much. His sister is all boy but he isn't

Quote:
Is their concern that he plays in this way at all, or does he play exclusively at this. And, of course, does he, as the youngest, get a lot of resultant attention (pos. or neg.) that he might not otherwise receive?
I'm not sure that his parents are all that concerned that it is his only form of play (which it is) they are worried that he will turn out gay because he still participates in this kind of play. And that goes against the man's man image of my uncle. Unfortunately, about the only time he does get attention is when he is playing with his dolls or wearing a dress He is a little slow and his parents pretty much ignore him. It is really sad. I'm sure he is probably doing this because that is the only time his parents notice he is alive but pointing that out to them is futile.

I was just curious how you all felt about a boy that age playing with dolls. I guess I should have said in my last post that I highly doubt I would let a boy that age play exclusively with dolls or in dress up
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Old 05-31-2002, 07:22 PM
 
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I have always let my boys play with dolls if they want to. My boys have never asked for a baby of their own but if we go to friends house and there are babies they will play with them.

I have two boys and I will encourage them to play with babies and praise them for being such good "daddies". They love this. My older son is sooooo gentle with the 2 year old. He loves to help wash him, he gets him up from his naps and they absolutely have to kiss eachother good night or good bye.

Both of them are also crazy about animals and stuffed animals. My older son had a bed full of them. So many that he barely had room to sleep. Now all but the most special one is in their special "bed". The 2 year old has a crib full and dozens more on the toy box.

Anyhoot, I think it is great that so many parents are allowing and encouraging their sons to be gentle and loving.
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Old 06-01-2002, 01:53 AM
 
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I accidentally Good Willed my 6 year old's doll and I need to get him a new one. He has his sister like to play dolls sometimes and he likes to take a doll in the bath. I think it is perfectly natural for boys to play with dolls and girls to play with trucks, how can we expect our men to grow up and be loving fathers and nuturing husbands unles they practice??? There is an awesome book called "William's Doll" about a boy who wants a doll, I highly suggest it.
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Old 06-01-2002, 01:54 AM
 
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i bought my son dolls too!!! He has two of them, though he rarely plays with them. He is 11 mo. and already prefers his trucks!!LOL I wanted him to have all kinds of toys too, actually i think my friend is buying him the barbie beetle for his birthday cuz he like her daughters, and i think we will get him a couple of barbies to go in it............
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Old 06-05-2002, 12:08 PM
 
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I don't think it matters one way or the other. They turn out the way they will.

DS#1 is 4, DD is 2. When she was born all the toys we had were "little boy toys," trucks, cars, tools, etc. That's all she played with. And you know what? When she put the "people" in the trucks, she would first hug them and kiss them, sometimes put them in her shirt and nurse them , and basically was very "female" in her playing.

Now she has some dolls, a toy crib (we cosleep, so she was confused about the crib's purpose at first ) and a doll house. DS#1 plays with all of them, too, very lovingly (though he will sometimes send in a dinosaur reconnaissance team to eat them) but he will hand over the dolls to his sister when he decides it's time for them to "nursie."

This may be taking the topic to the extreme side limit, but just from watching them, I truly believe sexual identity is strongly biological. Doesn't matter how you try to direct them, they go where they are programmed to go.

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Old 06-05-2002, 01:42 PM
 
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My nephew is six years old and still has tea parties with his grandma. He has dolls and trucks. For a long time as a toddler he loved his grandma's red silkie nightie and slept with it every night. He can wrestle with the best of them. He's pretty well-rounded.

I intend to do everything I can to nurture my boy's sweet, loving, sensitive qualities. He already gives sweet hugs and kisses and pets the kitty really gently. I will give him dolls (I agree wholeheartedly with the earlier poster who said boys need to practice being nurturing parents. We make a lot of fuss in this culture about how men aren't involved parents, but we shame boys who want to play with dolls?!?) I once overheard a father saying, "Oh, you don't want that doll. Why don't we get this truck instead? Dolls are for girls," at a store and it broke my heart.

If my boy wanted to play dressup I'd be cool with that, too. It's a game. Pretend. Fantasy. For a few boys, it's more than that - plenty of adult gay men would tell you stories about playing in their mother's closets at 5 years of age. But, I don't care a bit if my boy ends up being gay. I love him exactly like he is!
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Old 06-05-2002, 01:50 PM
 
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In regards to the boy turning out gay BECAUSE he plays this way -- nope. Certain kinds of play don't MAKE people gay. If he is gay, he is gay. And if he is hetero but playing with fantasy and femininity, that's just what he's doing. And if he's looking for attention, that's all it is. And no matter which scenario, making him feel badly for playing this way is not going to help. Especially if he is gay. Then he can add internalized homophobia and self-hatred onto what will already be a difficult coming out (into the family you describe).

Anyway, that's just my 2 cents..... don't know how far you'll get with the parents though!
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Old 06-05-2002, 02:31 PM
 
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I think boys should be allowed to play with dolls if they want to. I went out and bought him one for home after he was at his grandmothers playing with his girl cousins doll and she took it away from him saying that he was "a boy". I did tell her she was mean but since her english isnt the best so I didnt get to into it.
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Old 06-05-2002, 04:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by dancingmama
In regards to the boy turning out gay BECAUSE he plays this way -- nope. Certain kinds of play don't MAKE people gay. If he is gay, he is gay. And if he is hetero but playing with fantasy and femininity, that's just what he's doing. And if he's looking for attention, that's all it is. And no matter which scenario, making him feel badly for playing this way is not going to help. Especially if he is gay. Then he can add internalized homophobia and self-hatred onto what will already be a difficult coming out (into the family you describe).

Anyway, that's just my 2 cents..... don't know how far you'll get with the parents though!
I've pointed out a couple of times that cross-dressing does not equal gay and I get "no boy of mine is going to go around dressing like a queer" So I doubt that I'm making much head way. I do show him support as much as I can though, which admittedly isn't enough because I'm around much.
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Old 06-06-2002, 12:59 PM
 
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just wanted to add that a agree with the whole aformentioned part about teaching young boys to be great nurturers. That is exactly what i deem important about boys playing with dolls is that they learn to be good nurturers and someday great fathers!!! Boys need to learn that sensitivity is okay and how to be sensitive and how to show love and caring. My one year old son is so gentle with our cats i just smile every time i see him giving them "loves". He isnt very into dolls, but he does have a blanky that he hugs and "loves" all the time....i think its great.....and my husband does too.
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Old 06-06-2002, 08:27 PM
 
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yeeeeah...what's the big deal..lol
when I was a little girl i LOVED to play with dinosaours and cars and stuff. But I played girl things too.

My son Taj love his doll Doola..lol,don't ask me were he got that name!
He loves playing with it and he plays with barbies too with his cousins!
But then again....Taj plays with everything. :

There's absolutely nothing wrong,I think we all should just let them play with whatever they want as long as they're young. Let them have fun.....
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Old 06-07-2002, 12:58 PM
 
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I think dolls are a great idea for boys! One of my cousins was given a baby doll when he was 2 and about to become a big brother. To everyone's surprise, this kid who was very active and rather violent in other play was extremely gentle and sweet with the doll and with the real baby, and he turned out to have a real fondness for babies. Now he is a big manly guy, but hand him a baby and he just melts. Babies love him right back, too! It's wonderful to watch.

Did anybody hear Nancy Schimmel's song about "My brother wants a Rambo doll for Christmas"? Brother tells the narrator Rambo is NOT a doll but an action figure, because dolls "can't do anything". The chorus is something like:

A doll is to talk to when you're angry.
A doll is to hold onto when you cry.
I know a doll when I see one,
And Rambo could be one
If he would only try.

So true! I think the idea that dolls "can't do anything" or that girls playing with dolls are automatically victims of sexism is just reflecting the misogynist idea that anything females traditionally do or like is inherently inferior. Dolls are good for everyone!

Sagewinna mentioned a boy wearing barrettes and reminded me of this story from psychology: Sandra Bem, the gender-role researcher, had a son named Jeremy who wore barrettes to preschool one day. Another boy in his class said, "Hey, you turned into a girl! Only girls wear barrettes!" Jeremy said, "No, having a penis makes you a boy; it doesn't have anything to do with barrettes." The other boy insisted until Jeremy finally pulled down his pants to show he was still a boy!

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Old 06-11-2002, 08:16 PM
 
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My son has alot of dolls per se. He has Buzz Light Year and Woody dolls. [He cried when we didnt buy him Jessie instead?! Long Story.] And tons of bears and rabbits. And the entire cast of Winnie the Pooh characters. And we play with my old Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls and his new modern ones [My sister made my son a Raggedy Ann doll that is wearing doc martins, cut off jeans, a tube top with flannel shirt, and blue dreds for hair] as well.

Plus, two weekends ago we visited friends who have a 6yr old daughter with every Barbie thing I could imagine. [I was SO jealous! ] My son was in LOVE with Malibu Barbie and the only thing better was her Purple VW car with key to open the trunk. [He was jealous too! ] I think we are going to have to get him Malibu Barbie and Ken for Christmas this year... : [Tho -- I just noticed on line a VERY cool looking Ferrari Barbie w Car, as well as a seriously authentic looking Harley Davidson Ken, Barbie, and Motorcycle!! Hmmm....]

We never really thought about gender specific toys or dolls until recently. Frankly we always figured we'd have girls not boys. [Runs in the family sort of.] I guess it does seem to me though that if it is ok for girls to play with what ever toy they want and be encouraged in what ever interests them, then the same would/should be true for boys.

PS. I LOVE that story about the barrettes!! Too cool. I painted my sons toes pink this weekend and forgot to clean the polish off before work. My husband didnt notice, put sandals on him, and took him to the gym -- where they DID notice. My son was SO proud to show everyone his toes... that they asked why my HUSBAND didnt paint his too -- so that night HE DID!! Too cool if you ask me!! Like father like son.
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