encouraging your 3 year old son to play with barbies?

Stefanie - posted on 11/29/2010 ( 22 moms have responded )

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I have a freind who has a 3 year old son who she encourages him to play with barbies and princesse and watch the movies and she even wants to buy him more barbies and a barbie house.He crys to watch and play with them. To me haveing a son the same age i don't see how this is a good thing.I understand if you have a girl and your son plays every now and then its fine but to encourage them is another.My son plays now and then with his 6 year old sister and its fine...and i no girls play with boy toys also, i get it ..but i can't wrap my brain around the thought of wanting your son to play and buy them girl toy's?I'v tryed talking to my friend about this but i cant get her to see that buying them and encouraging it is not a good idea.I'm not saying boys should not play with barbies and princesses ,but to go out and buy all the barbie stuff ! Plus her son only wants to play with girls!! and he has a brother of 5 who she buys only boy stuff for she has an older daughter of 10 but her daughter dose not play with barbies.So i guess I'm wondering if encouraging 3 year old boys to play with barbies normal or not?

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Candice - posted on 12/01/2010

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the only reason there are "girl and boy toys" at all is because adults decided what girls and boys should be like, how they should act, and what they should play with. If we let the kids decide, i doubt the division would be so clear.

Dayana - posted on 02/25/2016

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I know this chat is pretty old but I couldn't resist commenting on it since I happened to see it while "googling" something similar...I can't believe most of these "opened minded" parents couldn't sympathize with this mother's question. I know exactly what she's trying to say and she's right. If you buy your child a Piano for instance, and encourage them to play their Piano most of the time they will most likely learn to play the piano and enjoy it and identify themselves as a pianist, and others will identify them as such too, and the same goes for every behavior you're trying to encourage into your child. It's our job as parents to introduce our children with positive things that will encourage appropriate behavior. It's our job as parents to teach our kids their own gender. It's wrong to encourage a boy to act like a girl. Accept the fact that you didn't conceive a girl but a boy instead and teach him the differences between boys and girls because they're different genders. If you encourage a boy to play with girls toys, then society itself, including the other kids in school, will make sure your child grows believing he's a girl or gay or w.e. So avoid people confusing your child out there because they will tell him stuff that will confuse him and he will believe it. Don't encourage it. There's nothing wrong in embracing the fact that a boy is a boy and a girl is a girl. They're not the same and they shouldn't be forced or encourage to be something they're not.

Alexis - posted on 12/02/2010

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It may not be considered normal for our society but if the child likes barbie dolls and would rather play with them then why not? If he isnt and his mom is trying to force him then I don't get it. Not because its a girl toy but because why force your child to play with something they dont like. If your worried the little guy will grow up to feminine or gay or for some reason not gain needed skills to be a normal boy or man than I don't think you really need to worry. Why would it be different if he had his own dolls vs playing with a sisters? Do we really need to define female and male for 3 year olds or let them explore and have fun? I know my son loves putting on his cousins fairy wings and this ballerina skirts and run around, he has no clue that it is just a 'girl' thing and will cause absolutely no developmental damage.

Jodi - posted on 11/30/2010

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" I feel that if we encourage to much it could become something more..."
What exactly is it going to turn into? And it wasn't that long ago that tonka trucks and bugs were STRICTLY boy toys. For some reason, people are okay with girls playing with toys marketed towards boys, but if a boy wants a doll for Christmas we have to get him GI Joe or some such thing that isn't too girly? I have a cousin (he's 3 or 4) that plays dress up ALL the time, in princess dresses, crowns, shoes, bracelets etc etc. My nephew loves to wear his Momma's make-up when she lets him, he's 3, and is getting his own children's make-up set for Christmas. What exactly is this going to turn into? A boy that has actually has a feminine side? You say that you're okay with gays, but is that your concnern? That a child might be "turned" gay? I don't get the issue at all. The child wants to play with toys that are marketed towards girls, what would it teach him to tell him it's wrong for boys to play with "girl" toys, how will it affect his self esteem to be told (verbally, or not, refusing to buy your child the doll he wants says the same thing as not actually saying no.) that boys shouldn't play with and shouldn't want to play with "girl" toys?
To me, she sounds like a very open minded parent who is doing the best by her child and his desires/needs. Not that anyone who doesn't give in to their child and buy them the exact toy they want because it's marketed towards the opposite gender is a bad parent, we each do what we think is best by our children.

Candice - posted on 11/30/2010

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sounds to me like she's just encouraging her son to do what makes him happy. Seems like good parenting to me. Would you rather she encourage him to do things that make him unhappy? if the kid doesn't enjoy "boy" things, and mom is just letting him be himself, what does it matter if that's barbies or tonka trucks? i personally would find it more upsetting to hear of parents who don't let their kids be themselves.

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Stefanie - posted on 12/15/2010

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Thank you Jessica Eldridge your the only one that got what I was trying to say.I'v noticed that no one seems tobe reading what I'v wrote and is missing the point altogether.Thank you Jessica once more...:)

Jessica - posted on 12/12/2010

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I gues you friend probably sees your talking as unwanted unasked advice... everyone parents differently... If barbies make him happy then he should have barbies... He will eventualy get bored of them and move onto other things... maybe you should be more tolerent and stop worrying about everyones elses gender identity problems and butt out. because a 3 year old doesnt have gender problems... your friend is just being a good parent!!!

Sara - posted on 12/10/2010

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My son, who's 8 now, used to love to get his nails painted, and dress in my clothes. He also played mostly with other girls. He had a baby doll with accessories. In his case I think he was imitating me because I was the only parent he had to imitate. I didn't push him to play with any certain thing. I followed his lead and encouraged, and supported his interests. He's pretty much outgrown it. He is very secure in who he is and I think his explorations contributed to that.It is my belief, that if the child wants to explore a toy, they're going to find a way to do it with or without the parents support. They'll just get sneaky about it. I was a preschool teacher for 10 years and I let the children choose what activities they wanted to participate in. Many times the dramatic play center was full of boys, and blocks was full of girls. I did have parents of the years who had issue with their little boys playing with dolls, or playing with dress up clothes; but I would remind them it's a normal part of development. Children want outlets to act out what they experience in their world and dolls, even Barbies, are a great way to accomplish that. We also want our boys to grow into loving, nurturing men, and being allowed to play with dolls can support that. I think sometimes, as parents, we have to question why our child's actions make us uncomfortable and ask ourselves if it's hurting anything. I know we all wants what is best for our children. We as women, are supposed to uplift each other, not tear each other down. I think sometimes we forget that.

Jessica - posted on 12/10/2010

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Ok people, I think that Stefanie is concerned about the Mom (her friend) pushing the girl toys on her son and not encouraging the boy toys at all. I don't think she is opposed to boys playing with girl toys or girls playing with boys toys. Not sure, but I don't think that's the issue. I think the issue is Stefanie's concern that the Mom is being too pushy. I agree that it's ok for boys to play with girl toys (my almost 3 yr. old son has a kitchen, vacuum, babydoll), but I don't think it's ok for a parent to remove boy toys from a little boy and encourage girl toys only. Give Stefanie a break, people. Some of you are totally blowing her quesion out of proportion!

Nichole - posted on 12/09/2010

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i have one 3 yr old
His favourite colour is pink, and when we visit a friend who has a little girl, his fav thing to do is dress up in her tutu and fairy wings!!!
If a well meaning friend told me that was weird i would tell her that she has stepped over the line. Every child is different and the most important thing with children is that they are loved , happy and safe - not what gender specific toys they play with. Who knows, this time next year he could hate everything and only want to play with cars..life is hard when you are an adult, lets keep it simple for our kids.

Sandy - posted on 12/08/2010

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Okay, I guess I would need clarification, if she is pushing it on him it's one thing and I would say she shouldn't do that. If she is buying him what he asks for that is another. I would probably be concerned also, but on the other hand if my son wanted a doll, I'd buy it for him. He plays with dolls at daycare, as do the rest of the boys (heck he even breastfeeds his babies). but I agree with you, if it is being pushed on him, that is a concern. To me, I have an issue with the movies in general, but are tv is hardly ever on when the kids are awake, so a three year old sitting in front of a tv for 2 hours in one sitting is crazy to me!

MICHELLE - posted on 12/08/2010

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When my nephew was 4 yrs old he cried for a barbie doll he saw at the store so my sis in law bought it for him he was very happy he played with it for months then got tired of it he is now 12 and still a normal happy boy. A toy is just that a toy my own son asked for a baby doll and kitchen set I asked his dad about it and his dad said if it makes him happy then we will buy it after all isn't that what it is all about. To many people put a label on things and think boys should only have cars and trucks while girls should only have dolls and dishes my niece is 4 and begged to be Jack Sparrow for halloween they are children and don't see things as boy or girl just as fun or interesting life is to complicated as it is and your friend is only allowing her child to enjoy it while he can.

Sara - posted on 12/03/2010

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I have 2 boys, and they don't own any barbies or dolls, but they do play with them. I work in child care, and my children attend child care, where it is stressed that the children are offered all toys to play with. Boys are allowed access to dolls and the dresses in the dress up clothes, and the girls are allowed access to the trucks and action figures. The idea is to let the children of both genders discover who they are and what they enjoy. As a teacher I don't encourage a child to play with a certain kind of toy, but to play with what they enjoy. When you think about it, if a boy is playing house, he is really preparing for his later role as a father, as a girl is preparing for her role as a mother. I would suggest that you encourage your friend to buy toys focusing on the child's interests, not to encourage a specific kind of toy.

Stefanie - posted on 12/01/2010

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Ok I respect all your replys and I would like to clear the air.I never said anything about being gay.It was Vicki who brought it up.I want to know and I a have been reapeting my my slef every time i post here 'Encourage to what point?"When my son asked me for a castel I thought about it and then I had an idea my son only see's what he and his sister has for toys let me show him something more so I got out the ToysRus flyer and showed him other toys he may like and the batman castel he saw it and his eyes lite up and i asked him agin do you want a castel also he said no and all excited batman castel and its big like me..My son did not know about other toys out there on the market except for what was in our house and
other friends may have..So by showing him other choices at an age so young he doest need a barbie castel. Plus i did say my kids play with each others toys and im fine with it actully I said it was normal and i do encourage and supporte them and I also give them more varity.Now I also said my freind is a good mom .Well last night my friend called me and told me that she is pushing it to far with her son and really its her that got all excited about the barbie house and princesses cause her daughter was never really into it all that she rather petshops ponys etc..etc.Plus she noticed that her son is really crying alot about it..because she is a singel mom she feels that not have a male role model around she kind let it go to far...the babys father started getting upset about it all.because he did not understand where all this was comming from for his son to have tantrums and fits over a coloring book..She told me she really encoraged it to much for her self also and that she is now not buying a barbie house he already has a barbie castel and dress up clthes and princesses she is going to leave it be and introduce hime to some more unisex toys...So you see everyone who missed the point here and went all crazy on me...'ENCOURAGE TO WHAT POINT" are there other parents out there doing the same thing???To me most toys are for both genders but someparents figure oh they like this toy that toy at the age of 3 its so easy for them to notice whats around them until we show them there are ohter toys out there they really in the end dont get to have a choice because there so use to playing with the same things.And I also think and agree boys should have a feminine side to them and it does give them good self esteem.I agree with all of you but because maybe I ddint give you the full extent of the bigger picture you all thought I was over reacting but I no my freind how she can be sometimes this is why I respected all your comments and thoughts because like I said before I never heard or seen this kind of behaviour before i a boy.My boy plays dress up and plays with his sister and i encourage that I like to see them play together its really nice to see them happy and actully getting along.Anyways thank you all once more for the comments.

Jessica - posted on 12/01/2010

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I dont see aproblem with it either. It could just be a phase that he will grow out of. And if he does grow out of it and the girl toys are pushed on him , then that would be different. And I was always told that boys playing with girl things always made a more sensitive man when they grew up. Thats what I'm hoping for anyway. My son loves playing with baby dolls and barbies and pushes them around in a stroller. He plays dolls with all his little friends (who are all girls) and he also plays with cars and trucks. I wouldnt worry to much about him playing with girl toys or mom buying them for him. Like I said if he grows out of the girl toy phase and mom doesnt change with it, then you might want to say something.

Melissa - posted on 12/01/2010

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Stefanie, you said that strollers are unisex toys because fathers push prams so that would make Barbie Dolls and Barbie Houses unisex toys also because fathers are around girls and live in houses.

It's best not to analyse what your friend is buying for her children, it's such a small thing to worry about. She is just providing her son with the toys he most enjoys and letting him play as children do. This is the one time in his life that he should be able to play and be who he wants to be without being judged.

"It's so much easier to turn a child straight than it is to make him gay" have a little think about that :)

Just my opinion x

Stefanie - posted on 11/30/2010

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Like i said before its normal to me that if you have girl things in the house and the boy plays with it thats fine ..but when your out there buying all kinds of girl stuff its to much for me to wrap my brain around..Jodie says she has bought her daughter a tonka truck and watches bugs..that fine to me i do the same with my daughter plus its
a unisex toy...Vicki you are getting your son a stroller and i think thats fine too because its a unisex toy also because fathers push strollers i get that. But i feel when its pushed on to much i feel it could become something more.I'm all for the gay so really its not that i just feel he's a boy he should be playing with boy things and its okay to play with girl things to but to a point really..Like my son he wanted a doll like his sister so i got him a boy doll with zippers and buttins and clothes that come off with a cap..but i wouldent get hime pink girly doll..you see we can as parents encourage and support are kids yes its good...like agin my son wanted a castel for christmas so i found him a batman castel and i got him extra super heros and one of them was super girl..then he wanted a barbie so i got him the ken doll so he can play with his sister...so you see this is what i mean and many of my friends agree with this.But if some parents like to buy barbies and princesses and castels and frilly dolls and not encourage boy toys at alll then so be it....like I'v said before I'v never seen these things before. Normaly I respect my feinds thoughts on things but this I'm haveing a hard time with thats all and i guess I just have to get over it its not my son in the end anyways right.

Vicki - posted on 11/30/2010

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My only problem with it would apply to girls as well. Barbies and princesses are such unhealthy unrealistic examples of women that I wouldn't encourage them for children, regardless of their sex. I have no problems with generally 'girl' gendered toys being encorouged for boys though. I'm planning to buy my boy a toy stroller for Christmas, he loves one that a friend of ours has.

For people who say it's not normal or right, they need to question what it is they are worried about. Are they worried about the boy being feminine, or oh no gay! Even if barbies did cause homosexuality why is that seen as a bad thing? (not targeting you with that comment Stephanie, you're obviously out to learn!)

Stefanie - posted on 11/30/2010

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I guess its because I'v never seen or heard of it before, everyone I no with a boy tells me its not normal and I havent delt with this typ of thing before.She is a good mom .I guess I was not sure if encouraging it to that point was good ,but if you all say its fine and normal then I guess it is.Thank you all for replying..:)

Tracey - posted on 11/30/2010

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at that age it is ok if your child plays with toys that are more for girls. they should have a variety. I havent heard so much barbies but I have heard of little ones playing with tea sets and fantasy items.

Stefanie - posted on 11/29/2010

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Thank you Jodi I see what your saying dont get me wrong here i'v bought things for all three of my kids that were for diffrent genders, my six year old love her brothers 4 wheeler and plays with his nerf guns and watches batman so on and so forth..and so does my son likes to play with my daughters barbie house and watches her movies too..plus he has a doll like his sister.....thats all normal stuff but when your child is crying to watch and play and all he can talk about is princesses and he does not want to play with his brother and his toys to me thats to much..encouraging it as in the toys are there already and he likes it thats fine but to go out and buy a barbie house and barbies could that encourage him to think if this is okay and mom thinks its fun then how about dressing up.(he has princesses dresses also and crowns..etc...) I feel that if we encourage to much it could become something more and i understand to support them in the things they do really..I just find it odd that when my kids get together that he does not want to play with my son and he gets mad and rather play with my daughter..I just think there is a line between encouraging and supporting to a point.

Jodi - posted on 11/29/2010

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I don't see why not. I buy my daughter tonka trucks, we seek out bugs to investigates, play in mud puddles etc etc. She has a john deer peddal tractor to ride (that we bought her) and all sorts of things of that nature. My nephew owns some dolls, some Disney princess movies and what not, he just turned three. Now, if your friend is forcing him to play with gender stereotyped toys, I would disagree, but there is a pretty big line between forcing and encouraging/supporting. If he wants to, what's the big deal? Playing with dolls/action figures helps children work out the world, they recreate what they experience and it helps them to understand it. It can be a great tool to aiding in coping with emotions and working on social skills in a a non-threatening, intimidating setting for children. Pretty much everyone I know who has a son, ha bought them female gender sterotyped toys and they are all fine. Pretty much everyone I know buys their daughters male gender stereotyped toys and they are fine too. I don't see the problem I guess.

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