Nature or Nurture?

Barbara - posted on 11/02/2009 ( 4 moms have responded )

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After reading the latest Toys R Us catalog, I really wonder if boys and girls instinctively play with certain toys, or are they steered toward them?

Examples of ads with ONLY boys in them :

most sports equipment, scientific toys(especially anything to do with space and robots) building/construction toys, vehicle toys (cars, motorcycles, airplanes,trains), Heroes (superheroes, police officers, fire fighters, military) dinosaurs....and lots of guns, and swords.

and then...

the ads with ONLY girls in them are for :

Cooking, housekeeping/shopping (almost all stoves, shopping carts,cash registers etc are PINK), childcare(dolls), fashion(more dolls and beauty shops...with makeup,of course) Dollhouses (almost all pink again!)..cute fluffy animals, and of course PRINCESSES. What do you think? (I'm a mom of 3 girls and 2 boys (all grown) and 6 granddaughters and 3 grandsons) I know my boys and my girls DID play differently, but I wonder how much of that was natural?

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I would have to say at least 80% of what kids will play with is all nurture. Most parents will buy what they think their child will play with, and most times it ends up being a gender specific toy.

We have 4 boys and one girl (blended family) When my older two kids were younger I mostly bought gender specific toys, mainly because everyone else was getting those types for my kids and I was new at the whole buying of toys thing (I was 19 when I had my first child).

As I watched them play over time I realized that they both played with each others toys and having just as much fun with both sets of toys. My typically girly girl daughter would gladly agree to playing cars while my rough and tumble son would play with his sisters dolls and whatnot.

Ive stopped buying gender specific toys now and actually get input from my kids on what they like. When I was a kid I thought I wasn't a normal kid since I loved playing with male toys but ive come to learn that I was just as normal as everyone else.

We dont genderize other activities either, the boys help just as much as my daughter when it comes to helping with diaper changes (getting items we need and putting the dirty one in the garbage) my eldest son loves to help "cook" and when hes ready he will be taught how to cook properly.

Now there are things that do come more naturally to one sex over the other, but there is always an exception to the rule.

Rebecca - posted on 11/02/2009

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I'm pretty sure its nurture. From birth we raise our children in the way we think they should be in society, girls pink, boys blue, girls are soft and sensitive, boy are tough and don't cry... Our children are a product of what we do to them and what they are raised around.

Rebecca - posted on 11/02/2009

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I know it drives me CRAZY to see how those ads are targeted. I want my girls to be interested in a lot of things, not just the things the toy companies "think" they should be interested in.

I try to expose them to lots of things to help spark their creativity. So in addition to "Girly" things, they have little matchbox type cars, robotic dinosaurs, superhero capes, etc.

Emma - posted on 11/02/2009

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I think children will play with whatever you provide them with. My hubby's little girl who is 6 this month plays with trucks, dolls, barbies etc. She loves RC's, thanks to her dear departed Poppa but loves being a princess. My friends son plays with kitchens lol as well as lego, trucks, army gear etc. Put a boy and a girl in a room with tons of different toys and they will play with what they want! My son will probably be getting the generic "boy" stuff as he grows up but he has a big sis so we will probably see him pulling around one of her babies at some point lol

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