Guys and Dolls

Dolls are a cool way for kids to role play.
Dolls are a cool way for kids to role play. | Source

My little man has loved cars since he's been able to grasp a Hot Wheel. He watches full-sized ones from the front window and recognizes those he's familiar with, calling, "I see Grandma's white car! I hear Daddy's truck! There's Mama's red car!" He's excited on garbage day when the trucks stop to pick up trash and is constantly getting into Daddy's tools to fix his toy cars. So why is Daddy worried?

My grandson also plays with his big sister's dolls.

When Barbie climbs into her pink jeep with Ken, guided by Manuel's hands, his Dad hangs his head and mournfully states "My kid likes dolls." When I tell him that it's normal and all little boys play with dolls if they're available, he says, "I didn't. The only time I touched my sisters' dolls was to pull their heads off." When I point out that pulling the heads off dolls can be considered playing with them, he announces, "This discussion is over."

Action figures are okay, but girly dolls are taboo. On the flip side, Daddy is very proud when his feminine daughter wants to help fix cars. We tell our daughters they can do and be anything they want. We tell our sons that they can, too, as long as it's not something girly.

If men can get past the fact that their boy is holding a baby doll or a fashion doll and take a long look at what they are doing with them, they can get insight into the kind of man their sons are becoming. If women are part of a boy's life, it's nature to role play with female dolls as well as action figures. When Manuel is playing with a baby doll, he nurtures it the way he is nurtured. When Barbie and Ken climb into a car with my grandson guiding them, the conversation goes something like this:

"How was your day?"

"Good. After work I did my homework. How was your day?"

"Good. I fixed the car after work. What do you want for dinner?"

"Chicken."

"Okay."

They hug.

Role play is how children learn. Watching your children role play with dolls gives you clues as to what kind of people they're being taught to be. If the dolls aren't cussing, taking drugs or beating each other, you're doing something right.

Even if your son occasionally plays with your daughter's dolls.

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