3 and 4 year old girls have already outgrown baby dolls??? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 45 Old 11-21-2010, 09:37 AM
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Some kids will outgrow them, some kids won't, some kids will never play with dolls.    IT all depends on the kid. 


I have a 9yo who doesn't play with toys.  She never really has unless she's at someone's house & they want to or her sisters want to. You can tell she really doesn't want to, she doesn't have an interest in toys & never has. 


I have a 12yo who played with dolls & barbies & went through stages of playing with both or none.  She stopped playing with them on a regular basis quite a few years ago. 


I have an 8yo who shows no signs of giving up playing with dolls. she went through a very strong princess stage.  She is in a big stage of playing with dolls & is getting a Maplelea doll for xmas.  The other 2 said they wanted them too, but when asked both said they'd only play with it if they HAD to.  Sorry not paying $95 for a doll you won't play with.  The 8yo I know will play with it.

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#32 of 45 Old 11-21-2010, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
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OP here - thanks for all the responses.


I think maybe I read a little too much into the babydoll thing - I wrote that post the same week that I watched 2 documentaries on how media portrays women and the aspects of women that are valued in this culture, which is essentially her sexuality, appearance, and her ability to attract a man.  I also had some interesting discussions with friends from other cultures about how much women are valued as mothers in some other cultures, and I feel like American culture doesn't really value women as mothers at all (I am in no way suggesting that women should ONLY be valued as mothers).


Then this babydoll thing came up with my neice and I guess I was thinking more about what the culture markets to girls and not so much what girls choose to play with - the post was not meant to be critical of my neice at all.  It seems like the culture markets babydolls to 2 year olds, Dora to 3 years old, and then by 4 it's princesses.  Maybe that is oversimplified - and I think the princess stuff reflects those characteristics that our media values in women - sexuality, appearance, and attracting a man.  I guess that is what I was thinking when I wrote the original post - that the media sells these toys to such young girls that is teaching them a very narrow definition of what it means to be a woman. 


I am glad to hear that there are still plenty of older girls that play with babydolls, and I realize that "nurturing" play can take many shapes and not just babydolls - it just seems like there are not many toys marketed to girls above toddler age that draw out this nurturing side.



Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post

Frankly, I value women for things beyond their ovaries, breasts, uteruses, and "caretaking" abilities, myself.  And if you think that women being valued for "how they look" (though granted The Look has changed throughout the centuries) is a new thing, I suggest that perhaps you are romanticizing a tad.  I think seeing women's primarily value as being caretakers and mothers to be just as gross as seeing them primarily as sexual relief objects.  Will all of us have elements of both/are there many women who will concentrate on one or the other during certain times in their lives?  Sure...but it's still not respecting the whole woman.  Even the best mom does not only have that side of her--and even the woman who likes to wear tube tops and 5 inch heels (believe it or not) has more than that side to herself as well.


My DD was never (and still is not) into baby dolls.  She prefered to play with and nuture her stuffed animals and animal figurines.  I don't worry about her getting into to beastiality.  Similarly, your niece is not going to be a slut because she like to play dress up with her dolls that have a wider variety of choices than a baby doll, and because she'd rather do that than change baby diapers.  It's not a reflection on her future abilities as a mother.  I was the same way, and yet I have 3 happy kids that were cloth diapered, nuturued, and are growing into fantastic young people.  Meanwhile, my mom, who loves baby dolls (and still collects them) was abusive, anything but nuturing, and prefers "stuff" to human connection and interaction.


When you start to extrapolate your niece liking something different than what your kid likes (or you like) to the ills of society--unless she's having Barbie orgies/drunken parties--I think that's time to kind of take a step back and stop taking yourself so seriously. 

Originally Posted by bluedaisy View Post


I also think it's a reflection of our cultural values - what do we value in women?  Not nurturing, caretaking, mothering, etc but how they look, what clothes they wear, etc.  It makes me sad/angry that from such a young age girls are learning these values. 


Tigerchild, I found this post to be quite offensive - you read SO MUCH into my original post that I never said.  I DID NOT suggest women should be valued for the reproductive abilities only - I feel like we don't value mothers much at all in this culture, especially after having lived in a culture where women are greatly respected as mothers.  I also never said that women should not be valued at all for appearance - I realize that women have pretty much at all times been valued in part for their beauty - my issue is that it seems to be the ONLY thing we value in women.


I also NEVER suggested I thought my neice would become a slut and I was very offended by that - I love my neice dearly and the post was not intended at all to be critical of my neice.  NOR did I say that she would not be a good mother because she doesn't play with dolls.


I was merely trying to look at what characteristics of women are valued in the toys that are marketed to young girls and what is says to young girls about what it means to be a woman.  I realize I didn't express myself very clearly in the OP but you assumed so many things that I never said.

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#33 of 45 Old 11-21-2010, 11:05 AM
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I just loved this post so much.  I was also wondering, is that one flashlight for each penguin in the camping picture?  LOL!!!


I have not tried to put boots on a stuffed elephant, but I have tried to explain to a 16-month-old that there is nowhere to put doll shoes on a stuffed dolphin, and that was pretty fun, let me tell you.


Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

I vote for very dependent on the child. My dd is 6 and still plays with her dolls sometimes. She plays with stuffed animals more, however, as does ds (age 9). This summer one of our neighbors, aged 11 (boy) spent a lot of time at our house. Even he played stuffed animals (and he initiated the games). The 11 year old comes from a very media mainstream house -- his little sister is really into Hanna Montana and Barbies. He plays video games I'd never let my kids touch. He has his own iPod. And he still played stuffed animals.


There is also a developmental period where doll play may fade out for a bit. For some kids it comes back, for others it doesn't. 2-3 year olds are pretty content just acting out the daily care routines. But once you've done that and 'mastered' that type of play, your dolls need to do something different to make it interesting. Not all kids make that switch; some move on to other types of play. Actually, ds didn't really get interested in stuffed animals until he was a bit older. The stuffed animals in our house lead very interesting lives. They go to school. They played a rousing game of charades this afternoon (you haven't lived until you've tried to make a stuffed elephant act out putting on boots!). There is an "Animal ball" (baseball) game every Saturday in our living room. There is a complicated Penguin family tree that ds is working on expanding. The penguins came traveling with us this summer. They went to the beach. They went camping.


Penguins at the beach 450.jpg


Stuffed animals camping.JPG

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#34 of 45 Old 11-21-2010, 11:48 AM
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That's fair, OP.  It wasn't my intention to be offensive, but..I can see your point of view.


To be honest, I get offended quite easily over people extrapolating feminine values from the toys that girls want to play with.  Especially if you're going to talk about sexuality.  I find it kind of funny that people freak over barbie being in your face as a sex/body object--yet somehow divorce a *baby* from that.  IMO that's pretty interesting, and I've never heard much talk on the subject.


Then again, I was raised in a religous subset of the culture that was hypervigilant about guarding (read:  repressing, except in very specific contexts) women's sexuality, proper play for young girls (babies and mothers and keeping house only plz k thx).  Motherhood was sacred, but to be blunt, women were NOT valued.  And neither, really, was motherhood, I would argue.  I don't doubt that I am oversensitive to anyone even remotely seeming to want to chain young girls to a specific style of playing, as well as the idea that girls should only express nuturing play otherwise our culture is screwed because things are out of order.


Baby dolls and Barbie/more adult dolls can be completely different play.  The bodies are different.  The clothes are different.  What most kids play with them are different.  Teen/Adult/Older Kid dolls can go horseback riding, babysit/have kids/form families, parachute off the top of the stairs, go to school, teach school, ect.  While I suppose baby dolls can (and have) done all those things in imaginary play, most kids understand that babies are fragile and need protection.  I think that we can hardly say that babies are somehow less consumerist than the rest of the world (even though of course they're not the buyers)--marketing or otherwise. 


I am just sad that people have to ascribe so many negative values to a doll-with-boobs-that-aren't-breastfeeding play, vs. a baby doll.  I am also pretty sad that people are so scared about girls' sexuality.  Yes, sooner than any of us would like, it will be at least shaped by what potential sexual partners think--and trying to equip young women to deal with that is much much easier said than done.  But do people really, REALLY truly believe that there is no element of that in baby doll play either?  I can assure you, had I stayed in my old life, where motherhood and nuturing children was sacred and should be my primary aspiration as a woman--my value would still have been primarily reflected in the fact that some guy thought I was good/attractive enough to have sex with and bear his children.


But while I can see whatever I want to see in the toy that any given kid chooses to play with--it's nothing to do with the toy itself.  (Which is why I think getting too upset over toy selection is kind of missing the point)  It just provides me, with my adult knowledge and all my experiences, something to project on, something to look at and make me think about.  I don't think that toy selection shapes consciousness so much as how the kid is being raised, what they're being told from their family, faith community, ect.  I know that it is easier to blame commerical/media stuff--but I think if we are really honest, we give children (and girls) very mixed and damaging (however unintentional) messages, ourselves.  Even if you are trying your best to be conscious of it--it's so easy for bad stuff to slip in there.  And that's both painful and scary.


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#35 of 45 Old 11-21-2010, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Tigerchild, thanks for the thoughtful response...I can understand your strong reaction to my OP and I definitely don't think the way you were brought up is any better than the other extreme of valuing women solely for their looks/sexuality.


In reference to the way women are valued in the US today vs 50 years ago, my friend commented, "It's just a different kind of prison."  I certainly do not think the solution is to value women solely for their mothering, "wifely" abilities - I didn't even realize that there were religious groups that only allowed young girls to play with babydolls. 


I agree that so many of the values kids pick up are from what they hear and observe their parents doing - definitely a sobering thought!  I also think that media influences children more than most people admit, especially given the fact that most kids spend hours a day in front of a screen.  And a lot of toys these days are just extensions of the media.  Stories are powerful, and the stories the media tell do shape the way children think about what it means to be a man/woman.  It's hard to find good "stories" or media that show all of the aspects that should be valued in women - I have a hard time thinking of a character in popular media that is a positive portrayal of a loving, nurturing mother (I'm sure there are some but they are pretty rare).  It's certainly not the ONLY valuable aspect of a woman but one I feel has been so devalued in our culture and in popular media. 


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#36 of 45 Old 11-21-2010, 06:35 PM
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My youngest 2 still play with dolls and they are 10 and 8.  They also like barbies, stuffed animals and their american girl dolls.  But they go through phases.  Sometimes they were all about the babies.   #3 has been and always was way more into baby dolls than the other two.  #2 was always into little dolls like her doll house dolls.  Actually just really into little things that could be personified weather it was her little gnome babies or her match box car family she would spend hours making elaborate scenes and scenarios.  #1 was all about the dress up and princesses and barbies but mostly dress up.  Different kids are into lots of different things and it is really about their personality.  It is possible your little friend was never that into babies and just has other interests?  I son't think the whole princess thing is bad or that babies are somehow inherently better.  sparkling nail polish and lip gloss and high heels are so fun!!  barbies are fun.  Its possible she had fun with dolls and is now totally having fun with this and next month or year might be something else then the dolls might revive.   There are so many fun things to play with when you are a little kid and i know my kids would get absorbed in something for a while and then on to the next thing.  Especially for birthdays.  It would look like their whole world revolved around something when really they were just into it right then so everyone got them *that*.

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#37 of 45 Old 11-21-2010, 06:56 PM
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I hated playing with baby dolls when I was was a little girl!

Hated, hated, hated!

And if I had other little girl friends who wanted to play babies, that was even worse! I loved when my boy cousins would come over and we could all play monster trucks!


I had a prized collection of matchbox cars. I washed them, shined them, performed "maintenance" on them, made personal garages for them, etc. I don't think nurturing has to be in the shape of a human baby doll.



I am very glad my mom didn't show disappointment that I wasn't into baby dolls, or direct me to play with a certain kind of gender /age "approved"  toy





PS. The best present EVER was the Duke of Hazard Barn Bustin' Stunt Track!!!

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#38 of 45 Old 11-21-2010, 07:20 PM
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I doubt that she outgrew them. I am betting she is just not in to them. Or, possibly, that her parents pushed her away from them. But more likely that she is not in to them in the first place, even though she might have seemed interested earlier. Some kids just are not in to baby dolls.


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#39 of 45 Old 11-21-2010, 07:21 PM
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My dd has never been into baby dolls but has always enjoyed kid like dolls and barbies, she has seen almost all of the barbie movies (which are surprisingly a pretty decent alternative to a lot of the kid movies out there and Disney).  She doesn't do makeup and stuff with them, but that is also something she isn't exposed to at home because we don't wear makeup.  She likes to dress them, do their hair, and play all sorts of imagination games with them even still.  She does like fancy clothes, princess stuff, fairy stuff, and having strong girl characters in her imagination, but that hasn't changed who she is as a person and what interests her outside of play and she hasn't really had a true obsession with princess stuff beyond insisting on wearing a dress on a daily basis for years.  She is less into the things that seem to be the norm in kid culture for her age than most kids we know and is still very determined to be her own person, so I really don't think the type of dolls a child has are important.

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#40 of 45 Old 11-21-2010, 09:40 PM
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My dd's have been off and on about playing with baby dolls.


My youngest used to whack people with the harder headed plastic/vinyl dolls, so we got rid of all of them in favor of soft cloth dolls. I think they got more hard headed ones the next Christmas, though, from relatives that didn't pay attention when we explained the need for softer toys. hammer.gif

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#41 of 45 Old 11-22-2010, 03:09 AM
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I read something not long ago written by an autistic boy when looking for information on why girls have so much pink and boys so much blue.




He was confused on why, and I found it so interesting to read from the perspective of someone who didn't have a social understanding of the concept.


But it made me think a lot, and I have to say.


When I was growing up we had all kinds of toys around the place, they were never "boys" or "girls" toys they were just toys. We shared most our toys apart from the few in our bedrooms, and even then, they were only not shared while in the rooms. Once they were out of the rooms it was fairgame! I remember we use to play a few wargames, it was pirates against sock paws! We use to take all the socks out of the draws and put them on certain toys paws and arms and we made many eye patches for the pirates. We use to go outside and make basis and all sorts of strange things. We also played with a tonne of lego, dolls and other things!  There was no restriction on pink, or dolls being for girls or army men and lego being for boys. And I sure went through a lot of different kinds of toys that I played with.


Its fine to guide children to safe play, and safe toys but to dictate what they should like and don't like seems wrong to me.


Right now with my children here we have a lot of soft-animals and dolls around. They have been everything from babies to soldiers, shopping assistants, princesses, princes, astronaughts, police officers and sailors... actually just a few hours ago when I popped in to see how the kids were getting along for bed, Miss 7 introduced me to a polar bear who just became king of a city made made out of lego.


Kids will be kids and like, hate, love different things. They will change there likes and dislikes while they grow up based on things they see and experience growing up and we as parents just have to try work with them!

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#42 of 45 Old 11-22-2010, 05:50 AM
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My 9 yo dd is far more interested in baby dolls now than she was at preschool age.  I remember being interested in baby dolls at her age, too, moreso than younger ages.  It's crossed my mind that there may be some prepubertal biological influence that leads some girls to be interested in baby dolls at this age.


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#43 of 45 Old 11-22-2010, 05:58 AM
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I never played with baby dolls much as a kid, did not like barbie dolls either. I really don't think it is a sign of the times, just a difference in interests.

Funny as now I am a childcare provider for babies and toddlers, lol....

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#44 of 45 Old 11-22-2010, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by sunnmama View Post

My 9 yo dd is far more interested in baby dolls now than she was at preschool age.  I remember being interested in baby dolls at her age, too, moreso than younger ages.  It's crossed my mind that there may be some prepubertal biological influence that leads some girls to be interested in baby dolls at this age.


I think there might be. My 10 year old has ramped up the marriage/baby play/stories in the last year or so.She did not care about pretending to to be a parent as a preschooler. She has also never been into Barbie and princess stuff- preferring bugs, dogs and nature- but is now ga-ga over dresses, heels and very feminine dressing characters. She still doesn't like dolls. If I give her a doll she'll strip it and put the clothes and use the accessories for one of her animal babies. As we do not have tv reception and she often watches dvd's aimed at the much younger set, she's always had a mix of toys and played more with boys so I don't think it is all down to an outside pressure or society telling her who to be.

I guess I feel there are a lot of factors that could lead a child to be interested in a certain type of play.

Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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#45 of 45 Old 11-22-2010, 10:12 AM
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My 7yo plays with all different kinds of dolls.


She likes baby dolls that she can push around in the doll stroller and wear in the sling. She likes smaller dolls that she can play with in her dollhouse. She also has a couple of the American Girl dolls that she really enjoys.

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