My Son Wants a Doll Should I Let Him Have One? Sorry Its Long
December 11, 2010
Ok my four year old son wants a Barbie/ Doll and I dont see anything wrong with it at all. My aunt who graduated Cuma Sum Laude in Early Childhood Education got her son a few of them and he eventually grew out of playing with them. The rest of my family thinks that Im opening a door for him to be gay which is the stupidest thing I ever heard. I actually would support any decison my child makes because all I want is for my children to be happy but casting this upon him and saying ignorant things like that makes my blood boil. He is absoulutely sweet and says he would take care of her like a baby he makes dolls himself out of thing laying around dryer sheets, wipes, (which is the dress or hair ) and wraps a tiny rubber band around them to stay in place around a paint brush or stick a licoln log. He tells me that he wants a real doll because they have hair. This makes me so sad that my baby wants a doll and everyone tells him do you want to be a girl. This is braking my heart he cries alot so do I. Please somebody what do I do? THANK YOU TO EVERYONE FOR THE AMAZING ANSWERS
All I can say is THANK YOU and WOW every last one of you women is amazing and I knew the right thig was to just get him one but I wanted to see if this was normal. Im not afraid for my child turning gay but you see the storys of bullying gay teens and I think that is what my family was worrying about but they dont always say what they mean in nice words. I have plenty of gay family memebers and friends and they are people with feelings. I just needed reassurance that I was doing the right thing by my child. But we are going to get him Rapunzel Barbie because he likes her hair (i have long hair and let him brush it). Thank you so so much everybody my baby is going to have a good Christmas this year and get his over due doll.
First of all playing with dolls for a boy and playing with trucks as a girl is not going to make children gay. I believe a person is born gay and there is nothing any one of us should or could do about that. I own a preschool and clearly have just as many boys as girls play in the kitchen and dramatic play area. The boys dress up as girls and the girls dress up in the firefighter and police costumes. I wouln't sweat it. And most of all if you son were to be gay would you love him any less??????
Does anyone remember the "Free to be you and me" show from the 70's with Marlo Thomas? They updated it a few years back (to include things like cyber bullying or something like that?)
At my school growing up in the 70's, we had a school assembly to watch this every year, and now as a home childcare provider, I own the DVD. SO way ahead of its time in teaching equality and diversity themes to children!
One song is "Willy wants a doll" Sung by Alan Alda....such a great thing! My daycare kids all play with trucks and dolls equally. I have a nephew, now early 30's who was given a boy Cabbage Patch doll (his name was Neil) as a small child..and that thing went everywhere with him....and he passed it along to his younger brother years later. And you know what..they are both great daddies now!
Get the doll and tell them to get over it! You are the parent!
If a doll could "turn" a child straight or gay...(Sigh...)
Your son, my daughter, and the next door neighborhood kid are all going to be gay, straight or bi regardless of what we, as parents, do. Sexual orientation isn't trained into a child/teenager/adult (though fear, ignorance, hate and prejudice are).
Personally, I would rather not invite barbie into my home, but for *very* different reasons.
When my girl children want to play with cars, dinosaurs, blocks or in the mud - I let them.
When they nurture their dolls, cats/dog, each other or me, I am grateful!
I wish we lived in a world where every boy/girl child was able to explore their nurturing, rumble tumble, creative, ect. sides. I applaud you for allowing your son to grow and expand in his childhood.
Edit to add:..how many times do questions/vents come up on this where mom/wifes are (essentially) asking how to deal with their husband, who isn't nurturing, sensitive or a good listener. If little boys were given the opportunity and encouraged to explore those traits, those little boys might turn into men who exhibited more of those characteristics and who "got it" more.
Buy him a doll with a lot of hair :))
There is nothing wrong with him. My older son had a doll and a pink stroller to push it around. I DID NOT CARE what people thought when they looked at us.
My little guy is not into dolls but has a collection of stuffed animals that he cares for...talks to... puts them to sleep...etc.
That's how boys learn to care and to be good daddys in the future :)
Who is "everyone tells him do you want to be a girl"? That is why he has you to set all the stupid and ignorant people straight!
I am the only girl in my family with three brothers. All of my brothers had dolls and played Barbies with me. Guess what? All of them are married and have children and I am the one who turned out to be gay!
Toys have no bearing on sexual orientation, and I am glad that you already know that. Most boys I know play with dolls. If girls can play Mommy why can't boys play Daddy?
Of course you should get him one if he wants one and you want him to have one. It boggles my mind that there are still people out there who think this is an issue or that something like this would "make" a child gay. Or that there is anything "wrong" with being gay anyway (but that's another issue, I guess).
Tell your family to can it with the comments. I can't believe that anyone would try to shame a young child out of wanting to play with a doll, much less people who are his family and purport to love him. They should be ashamed of themselves.
It sounds like you want to get him a doll and he wants one. So get him one. If you are worried about what people will say get something less "girly" than Barbie. But if he really wants Barbie, it's not a huge deal.
There are some gender neutral baby dolls out there and even a few little boy dolls. I got my son a baby doll when my daughter was born but he is a typical boy and not much into dolls (though he has whole families of stuffed animals). My mom even found him a little boy doll with actual boy parts (handy for potty training at least).
The worry about being gay is just silly. From what I have read sexual orientation is established before birth and parents can't change it--just love the child they have, whoever they turn out to be. If he gets to the point where others give him a hard time then you will have to teach him about coping with that. But you may need to have words with your uninformed family members. I'd get some information first so you can feel confident you know what you are talking about. But if you see a relative being mean or rude to your child stand up for him on the spot!
Why does he cry alot? Sounds like he needs some help in knowing that it's OK to play with dolls and that he's OK. I wonder if your concern about what others are saying is influencing his feelings. If you can stand firm knowing in your heart that he's OK that will help him feel OK.
I suggest that you stop the negative comments from relatives. Have you told them that their comments are unacceptable to you? Tell them that if they insist on making comments that you and your son will leave. Do not tolerate their rude, homophobic behavior.
Teach him how to be proud of who he is. A good answer for "do you want to be a girl?" would be "I am a boy but girls are OK too." Another answer would be, "why do you ask? Daddies take care of kids too." Would that shut them up? IF not then it's best to ignore what they say. Actually, if he were my son, I'd tell him to get up and walk away from them. No one has to listen to such rude comments.
I would not want to spend much time with people who treated my son and my choices for him with disrespect. Your relatives can have their opinion but once they've voiced it they need to stop trying to change you and your son. It is your life and your responsibility to raise your son as you think best. Tell them to stop with the comments. Be calm, polite, and firm!
I might not get him a Barbie doll just because Barbie's are older and more appropriate for an older child. There are little girl dolls with hair. I had one when I was a kid instead of a Barbie.
My mother got my 2 1/2 year old a boy cabbage patch doll, she had to search for it online for awhile, but it is a boy doll. But he plays with that as much as he plays with his sisters my little pony's and barbies, WHO CARES, she loves playing with his cars/trucks and super heroes. Who am I to cast sexism on my kids.
I say get the boy a doll, this is about you and your son, not your family and their opinions.
I am so happy to see so many positive responses about the dangers of homophobia and the true causes of gay/straight orientation! After so many recent suicides of young gays being teased and bullied, I'm thrilled that so many of you have stepped up to speak up!
Maybe if more of our kids learned to be nurturers and to break some stereotypes, we'd have a happier society.
I agree that you should shut down your relatives and absolutely leave if their comments continue. They are ignorant and paranoid.
Besides, even if a doll DID "turn a child gay" - what's so bad about being gay? I mean, other than people with certain attitudes...
Why care what others are saying? Get him the doll. Our son is only 2.5 and has princess undies, wears pink, begs for makeup, and has a doll. We get comments as well, but I think the most important aspect is to teach him to be okay with who he is and not let what other people say bring you both down. I think one of the most important things is to not call something a girl toy/clothes/thing etc. However, since not all kids will be so open-minded, I think it's important that you can both stand up for yourselves. You are his mom, so have pretty much all say in what is right for him. Have you asked him why he's crying and taught him things to say should he get teased again? I hope he gets that doll, but most importantly that you both can feel confident/proud in the choices made for him.
I have a little girl (2 actually) and my youngest loves to play like she's Knight in shining armor, likes to be a dinosaur, and would rather play ball all day than princess. Do I think she'll be a lesbian??? No! And if she is, then we'll deal with it then! Remember "My buddy" dolls? Boys are allowed to girlie just like girls are allowed to be "tomboys". No harm.
All of our three boys had a babydoll when they were little. I used it to help teach them potty training. Eventually they were not interested in playing with it, only dismembering it! But it was sweet when they would "take care" of it- I say get one. But maybe lean more towards the baby dolls rather than barbie dolls. They would be just as fun for him and then maybe you could avoid some of the stigma of him playing with "girl" toys- barbies do have a ton of frilly girly accesories.
* I just wanted to add- please do not get him pink undies and let him wear make up like another mom mentioned! For her 2 year old, thats cute but your son will be going to school soon. If he shows up on the first day wearing lipstick and a pink tutu I guarantee he will get teased. Sure, it shouldn't make a difference what he wears or plays with. And of course, non of these things will "make" a boy gay. But they certainly may isolate him from his peers. All it takes is a couple of rude comments and your childs self esteem may be hurt badly. They are like wet cement at that age and so words and expiriences really stick with them. You can teach them to stand up for themselves all you want but the truth is that some children aren't outgoing or bold enough to do it- especially at such a young age. And good for those who are! What I'm trying to say is, let them be creative and express their individuality but use good judgement to determine when you should gently gear them away from certain things.
I have two boys and two girls. THey all have dolls and tools and fishing lures. They all help me make dinner and help Daddy change oil.
My oldest got an American Girl doll for Chirstmas the year he was 8. It's all he wanted. My inlaws were floored, but he loved Molly. My youngest gets those Boy Pollies in the boy section. THey are small dolls, the same size as Polly Pocket, and come with camping equipment, dogs, tents, boats. There is also a Rodeo one with bulls.
Even with two girls I havent' welcomed Barbie into the house with open arms. The girls would rather play with Polly's and their baby dolls anyway. We have an aunt that continues to send a BArbie or two every year though.
My husband is almost 40 and his forward thinking mama got him a doll - I don't know what the name of it was, but it was somewhat anatomically correct - it could pee. Of course, my husband turned it into a squirt gun LOL! I'm so envious - what a cool doll that was!
I got my eldest son a doll when I was expecting my next child. It was an anatomically correct male doll that he called 'buddy' as I recollect. This did NOT go over well with my now ex husband...but I was trying to teach him (son...not ex... lol) some 'nurturing' skills prior to the birth of his brother as they were only 14 months apart. I wanted HIM to have a 'baby' to take care of while I was taking care of his brother.
I am not sure that 'buddy' really helped...BUT he surely did not 'hurt'...he was passed down thru the 'sibs' as one of the doll choices over the years...and I will give 'buddy'...ragged though he is...to the first grandchild (boy OR girl) when/if my kids have kids.
I have not read all the answers, but you already know what the right answer is. Let him have the doll. He'll be fine. Kids at this age are still exploring many different aspects of themselves and still have not always established what it means to be a boy or a girl (not that it should matter when it comes to what they play with). Stop worrying about what everyone else thinks. He is your son and he needs you to support him. Is your aunt's son who played with the dolls now gay? Even if he were, so what? Playing with dolls is not what caused him to be gay. You said it yourself - what these other people are saying is stupid, so don't let it bother you. Worrying about what others might think or say has never served me very well. So just get your son a doll if he wants a doll and don't let him be so sad over it. If you had a daughter who wanted a tool set (like mine does, apparently), would you say no?
I would get him the doll, but there are other options...I know that they have little buddy dolls for boys. That shouldn't garner as many ignorant comments from people who can't keep their opinions to themselves. He is lucky to have a mom who will support him no matter what. Good luck.
When my son was 4 he loved to play with dolls and pretend stuffed animals were his baby. He loved to wear dresses during dress up time and often wanted to wear a skirt all day! He would pretend he was pregnant (by putting the doll up his shirt) and then later he would "have" his baby. It was adorable. Definitely get your son the doll and let him play to his heart's content. My son is 6 now and he now is more into video games and skateboards. sigh. I miss those sweet nurturing days.
hey, stand up for your amazing sweet boy. you're the mom. you have the right attitude and screw everyone else. i think it 's adorable. so what if he "turns out" gay? it won't be because you bought him a doll. and whether he is or not, think what a great daddy he'll be. BUY HIM THE DOLL!! (i have one of those "sweet" boys as well, but he hasn't shown any interest. sadly, i think "society" has already gotten to him via preschool. he informed me the other day that "girls play with girl toys, and boys play with boy toys." i told him he could play with whatever he wanted, like a doll, if he wanted to. he very clearly informed me, "no, i don't want to play with dolls." *sigh* he's my only so it would have kinda been nice to play dolls with my kid at least once...lol)
ps, i like marda's suggestions for comebacks to those ignorant comments. mine would be "kid do you want to be a girl?" your son- "playing with a doll is NOT going make me a girl, i'm a boy don't you know that?" let him tell 'em!
I haven't read all of the other posts, but I just wanted to throw my opinion in there. Playing with dolls will not make your son gay anymore than playing with Ninja Turtles made me gay. Growing up Ninja Turtles lived alongside my Barbies in their dream house, and I grew up with only sisters. My parents let us play with the toys we wanted. Including Nerf guns, firetrucks, police cars, GI Joe, and other "boy" toys.
There are also many dolls out there that are more boyish than Barbie if you think that would be something your son would be into. I think someone else mentioned Cabbage Patch dolls, they have boys. We also got my daughter a Toy Story set from Target for Christmas this year that has dolls (about Barbie sized) off a bunch of the characters. She is almost 2 so she is really into Buzz and Woody right now. On Black Friday the whole set was like $20 I have no idea what it would be going for now. I'm not sure exactly what it was called, and I've already wrapped it, but I'm sure you would be able to find it online or at Target. She also got an airplane, train, and Toy Story sheets to go with her Princess dresses and Dora dolls. For us what makes her happy is much more important than "boy or girl" toys.
You've gotten a lot of responses but this is such an interesting topic that I wanted to add my two cents. :) I completely agree with you-- there is absolutely nothing wrong with a boy playing with a doll. It most certainly will not make him gay and even if he were gay, he would still be the same wonderful and sweet boy you described. People that get caught up in traditional gender stereotypes can be so frustrating. I have two preschool boys (3& 4yrs) and I've been through a similar situation. I kept a few of my baby dolls from when I was a child so I put them in my sons' playroom because at one point they started to treat their stuffed animals like babies and I thought they might like to play with some dolls. A few of my male family members objected (half-joking/half-serious) because one of the dolls has long hair and a pink dress. I got the same flack when I decided to get my boys a play kitchen for Christmas 2 yrs ago.
Long story short, I won! I bought the play kitchen and the dolls stayed in the playroom. My boys played with the babies for a couple months and then moved on to other toys. They still like to play with their kitchen on occasion though lately they prefer blocks and toy soldiers. I think it's important for children to take an interest in and try out different types of toys & activities. There's no reason your son should have to suffer because a few family members don't understand. Best wishes to you and I'm glad that your son will have a fun Christmas with a surprise Barbie. :)
I haven't read all the answers so I hope this isn't a repeat. Why don't you take him to build a bear & let him make his own bear or animal of choice. My daughter made a cat. She pretends like it is her baby. They have all kinds of clothing & you get a birth certificat & get to name the new baby (stuffed animal). Also you could look on line for little boy dolls. Maybe there are some that are dressed in blue?
Well, just get him a boy doll - a ken, or another boy with hair - I may be being anti gay here, but I think getting him a girly barbie would be a bad idea, not because it will make him gay, but because the teasing he would get for playing with a barbie.
with a ken doll, he could still baby it, but maybe ken could ride on a quad bike, or a cool car or something.
My daughter plays with Thomas the train a lot, but she does girly stuff with them, like one is the mommy and one is the baby
What a splendid opportunity to educate the rest of your family.
Nicely timed with the (probable) end of Don't Ask Don't Tell in the military.
You can probably get some fliers or urls from P-FLAG.
I think it is great and you should get him a barbie if he wants one. I see nothing wrong with that. I got my son a doll when I was pregnant and he took care of it like it was his baby brother for a while and now my youngest plays with it too. I would just ignore the idiots who give him a hard time about it and tell him he is perfectly fine and there is nothing wrong with him wanting to play with dolls. I played with those little army men when I was a child, does that make me want to be a boy?? NO, I am perfectly fine with my own self esteem and all. I think playing Cowboys and Indians and Cops and Robbers when I was a kid just shaped me into a well rounded individual. My youngest picked a pink hat out of the play clothing at my Mom's house and a purse and walked around the house pretending to be me, nobody thought it was weird, all of my family said he is just so funny and cute. I even have a photo of him like that. I think kids should play with what they want to play with and not be criticized by adults who should know better then to criticize a child for what he plays with. There are so many dolls, stuffed animals, action figures, and such out there, let him choose what he likes. Sorry this kind of discrimination, which is exactly what it is, really gets my goat. They are children and need to experiment with playing with all sorts of toys. The toys they choose don't define their sexuality, they will make those decisions later when they hit puberty.
when my oldest was 4 he wanted a doll he played with all of his friends' baby dolls and baby doll toys so I got him a cabbage patch kid for christmas and he balled his eyes out because santa brought him a "girl toy" It was not a very pleasant morning because of it even though that is what he asked for. I even had gone as far as to get him a boy one.
I totally agree with you. Dolls are a great way to teach children about role play and to just be a kid and pretend. Playing with certain toys doesn't make you gay. Too bad your family sees it that way. Girls can play with Hot Wheels and boys can play with dolls. If you don't get him a doll, he'll always remember that he wanted one and didn't get one.
Absolutely yes, get him dolls. I think it's great to encourage little boys to express their sensitive, nuturing sides. I gave my son baby dolls when he was little (nothing fancy, just little dolls in jammies) and he liked tucking them in the same way he'd put his stuffed animals "in bed".
When my son turned 6 earlier this year he really wanted a Barbie doll. It was the only gift he talked about for weeks before his birthday. My husband wasn't very supportive of this, but I did find a Barbie that is the kind whose clothes don't come off - yes, my 6 year old wanted a Barbie because he is totally girl crazy! That and the girls at the babysitter wouldn't let him play with Barbies. He did get teased by one of the girls, and it was a great opportunity for me to talk to him about not worrying what other people think and doing what makes him happy. Funny enough, that little girl's parents used the teasing as an opportunity to teach her about "no double standards" - because she plays with toy guns and action figures along with her dolls.
There are some cute Disney dolls that are more like a baby doll but with long pretty hair like a Barbie. Have fun picking out a special friend for your little guy!
You sound like a wonderful mom and I think it's great that your son feels comfortable even asking about the doll. It's clear from his behavior that he is really longing for a doll.
I agree with the other posts that buying him a doll will not make him gay. But having a loving and supportive parent will make him a successful adult, no matter who he chooses to build a life with. You know what is the right thing to do for your child. I would ignore my family's comments and do it.
I didn't read most of your responses, but I gather that you got a lot of support for giving your son his desired doll. I AGREE. I have allowed my son to have/play with dolls also.
I wanted to bring up an interesting point, though. Your question was presumably answered by mostly, if not all women. I wonder if the responses would have been equally as supportive of giving your son a doll if the question was answered primarily by men. Now before I get lambasted, I'm not presuming that all men are sexist or would disagree with allowing a boy to play with dolls, but I just wonder if the responses would be the same...
I got my son a doll and a black and white stroller (not pink at the request of my husband) and when he played with it I would always tell him what a wonderful father he will be someday if he has kids. To this day if you ask him what he wants to be when he grows up, he says a dad. I think it's wonderful to encourage tenderness and nurturing traits in boys, especially if they have kids when they grow up. My friend made my son a child-sized sling to carry his doll in like I carried his baby sister in, and if my brothers ever made any comments I'd say, "You hold your baby and push her around in strollers, don't you?" When I would take my baby girl to the Mommy and Me storytime, my son would bring his doll in his stroller and he would do the songs and games with his doll that the instructor had us doing with our babies. It was funny when he tried to nurse his doll like he saw me do with his baby sister. He also had a Barbie-like doll that looked like my husband and a Barbie sports car.
I've let my family know that I don't want my son to be restricted by gender stereotypes and they've respected that for the most part. He's allowed to dance if he wants to, just like my daughter is allowed to play soccer if she wants to. In fact, I encourage them to try a lot of different things to find their talents and passions.
Of course you should get him a doll. After all one day he may be a daddy. But...I would think long and hard about Barbie - unrealistic female attributes, stereotypes, etc. There are lots of better, more realistic dolls on the market that do not contribute to the stereotyping of girls that Barbie does.