How To Handle Your Son Playing With Dolls and Girls Toys
It is a common concern: your son is playing with a pretty pink doll, or similar feminine toy, and could do so for hours. Possibly he is rarely interested in boy toys such as cars or playing sp...
It is a common concern: your son is playing with a pretty pink doll, or similar feminine toy, and could do so for hours. Possibly he is rarely interested in boy toys such as cars or playing sports. You might catch him playing dress-up with his sisters, here they come down the hall, the sisters looking like beautiful princesses and then your son, nicely decked out in pink princess heels with matching princess dress and tiara.
A mother or father might be concerned about how normal her son is, and how he will get along with other boys. It may make the parent-child relationship difficult, a parent not willing to role play a princess game with their male child playing a princess. Some families depending on their beliefs may be concerned about the child's sexual preferences, and how this might impact a parents hopes of their child carrying on the family name and reputation.
First, to address this issue in a generic manner - it IS normal for boys to play with girl toys depending on the age. For example, a child of approximately under the age of 6 has little identity in terms of male vs. female and what that means. They see a toy, it looks bright, colorful, or shiny, they want to play with it. This is especially true if their playmate that is available happens to be a girl.
You may want to consider taking action with an older child if they have yet to form any specific identity. For example, most kids over the age of 6 will begin to form opinions or preferences toward male vs. female. A child might tell you he will not use the pink cup and wants the blue cup as an example.
If you have a younger child and you are concerned, the best thing to do is to allow some of this feminine play. If you constantly deny it, it may turn in to a behavioral issue where the boy will play with girl toys because it pushes your buttons.
A father might show his preference to participate in play with the son if the father is able to play a male character. It is important not to say anything insulting or derogatory, but simply to be firm in the preference. For dress-up, you should be sure there are appropriate clothes available for the boy, and to suggest that those clothes go well with the dress up game being played - princess, prince, etc.
An older child you can use similar techniques, but if it persists, you should consider talking with a therapist or other specialist to have assurance that everything is normal.
Autistic children, or kids on the spectrum (aspergers, pdd-nos, nld) may be a little more tricky. They often take longer to form their identity and it is difficult for them to make friends which contributes to the problem. Have patience, and be sure you have a resource for you and the child to discuss concerns or issues such as a therapist.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Scott contributes content to the AAIG web site, and loves to spend time with his three children.