boys and dolls - FamilyEducation
boys and dolls
06/26/2007 at 15:54 PM

        Hello  I have a son who is three years old  and he has two older sisters ages six and seven and they love to play with their barbie dolls . My situation is that my son wants to play with them how do I explain to him that dolls are for girls or should he grow out of this stage?        please reply thanks                                                    happy

is there anyone out there that can help me with this situation or am i being paranoid?   my 3 year old son wants to play dolls with his sisters. what should i do?


Hi Happy.

Your son wants to play with his sisters. It sounds like he is well socialized. My son plays with dolls too--they're called action figures, though. They fight each other, talk, and save people. When I was a girl, I played matchbox cars with my brothers because they outnumbered me just like your daughters are older and outnumber your son. I would let him participate.


Thanks mspila,     I  guess that I did not look at it that way ,  now that you mention it ,  when he plays with his trains or his cars  he will put the doll inside to drive  and sometimes he will have them do karate or fight spiderman.                                                        


Hey happy,


Welcome to the boards.  I think that it is fine for kids to play with toys that are not traditionally for their gender.  I love to see a little girl playing with a truck and using her imagination in that way and I love to see a little boy playing with a doll and using his imagination in that way.


Someday, hopefully your son will be a father and perhaps because of his playing with dolls and with his sisters he will be all that much better at fatherhood!




I think it;s o.k. for boys to play with dolls. When I had my second child my son who was 18 months also wanted a baby.  We bought him a boy cabbage patch doll and he took care of it for a while and then soon grew out of it.  I think teaching your boys how to take care of a baby makes them a great father and a great big brother


Why would it be a problem for a boy to play with dolls? I work with 2 year olds and most of the boys spend time in the home corner every day , and they all love playing with the dolls, bathing, 'feeding' and putting them to bed. Role play is so wonderful for them. They are actually working out situations for themselves. Listen discreetly to what they are saying. You will probably find yourself reflected in what they say. I work in a Froebelian nursery, and we consider that play is a child's work. 80% of anyone's learning is done by the age of 5. This is a critical learning period for him. I bought my youngest son a baby doll when he was 4 as he loved playing with them at nursery and he was 18 at the weekend. It didn't do him any harm. 


I just don't agree that dolls are strictly for girls and that boys shouldn't play with them. That would be like teaching your children that some jobs aren't appropriate for girls (and vice versa).


  I completely agree. My daughter plays with "boy toys" much more than she plays with "girl toys".



I would'nt worry at all my son was mad for dolls when he was that age and he had no sisters he is now 8 and only into boys toys!


we have two children a girl who is 5 and a boy 3 he loves to play with his sister i think that it is wonderfull i think that will make him more understanding and loving to girls to fix this situation i bought him a little people doll by fisher price it's interactive he wears a little fireman costume teaches how to tie button and so on but this doll was created for boys they also have one for girls it's just a thought


Here's a funny one I just remembered.  I had 4 daughters and then a son.  When he was about 3 or 4, he started talking about when he would have babies, and it was clear from the phrases that he thought he would be the one that actually bore the babies!  I was astounded!  I had raised 4 girls through this phase, and of course, when they said those things, I just let it pass.  I had to sit him down and explain the facts of life.  I took the opportunity to go over ALL the facts.  I figured he would just ignore the parts he wasn't ready to hear.  I was right.  He had always liked girls, and after that, he started picking out the ones that could be his wife and the mom to his children.  


It's been a while since you posted this, and if your son has not grown out of it yet, he will. He, ( just like all children that age) neither care nor care to understand such things. And just as a Dad should be willing to play with his daughters as he does his sons, this is a normal human interaction. It's when "life" interupts and makes it "weird" that it becomes so. Enjoy this stage, and bring it up to his first girlfriend!


I own a child care service and fathers get very upset when they see their sons playing with dolls. My reply is that they are practacing to be good fathers. I have never known a good father that will deny their daughters play time just because it is dolls or Barbies.


I have a three YO son and five YO daughter, and intellectually I know it is normal for my son to play with dolls and dress-up.  My problem is arising because I see other kids starting to tease him about it.

Although it is mostly older kids, I am getting anxious for him to "grow out of it" because I hate to see his feelings get hurt.  Also I am getting anxious because it seems like this is making him a target for being pushed around (maybe not physically but he's always being told what to do by other kids and generally goes along with them).

So the dilema, do I start teaching him to change the behaviour or is it reasonable to start teaching him to be more assertive?


This is an old topic but I can't help but throw my 2 cents in.  I have three boys, no girls.  All three of my boys have had a baby doll at one time or another.  It started with me buying my first son a doll just before I had my second son so that he could learn about babies.  Years later I had to buy my second son one because he kept stealing his brother's.  And this last year I bought my youngest son (now 2 yo) a doll and a doll stroller because he picked them out himself when we went to spend Christmas gift cards at TRU.  The stroller is hot pink-there was nothing else to choose from-and he pushes that thing everywhere.  Every now and then I'll get a comment.  Some nosy stranger will ask him if he is a boy or a girl.  The nerve!  I quirk an eyebrow at the person and say in a dry tone that he is, in fact, all boy and that I do not believe in limiting a child's play or emotional development by restricting gender specific toys.
I'm not saying this is how it will be for everyone but, I'd much rather raise 3 sensitive and loving boys than 3 dumb jocks who come home from work, pop open a beer, flip on the tv and ask their wives where their steak is.  Also, what is the fear of boys playing with dolls?  Is there a fear that it will, perhaps, turn their sexual preference down the line?  I have had many homosexual male friends and not one has ever said "Yeah, I remember when I was 2 and my mom bought me a baby doll, that's when it all started..."  It just doesn't happen that way.

For SGREENE that posted above me:  teach him to stand up for what he wants and believes in.  My oldest son (8yo) has just this year started dealing with bullying, verbal and physical, because he'd rather curl up with a book or play a game of chess than play a game of ball.  He is short, skinny and wears glasses and the poor kid has a target painted on his back, I fear.  We spent a little time with him in Tae Kwon Do where the instructor went over mental excercises telling the kids that they are good people, they are the best, they can do anything they put their minds to, etc.  He also taught them how to stand up to people who tease or bully.  Since then, my son has had no problems and he has a much higher self esteem.  It's a matter of invoking confidence into your son that he is an amazing guy and the teasing will start rolling off his back, eventually causing the kids to get bored of teasing him. 

My son is almost 8 now and he has a doll collection.  Of course his dolls are: Chucky, ventrilloquist dummy, woody, monster, scary rag doll and many more. 


When he was 5 his father (who abandon him from birth) cam into his life for 8 months or so.  At that time, my son was a bit of a momma's boy and his dad told me he was a sissy who plays with dolls.  His dad did not stick around too long when my son was not the tough boy he must have imagined. 


My son is now almost 8 and he has a bb gun (for when we go to the cabin), he has cars, a rock collection, stuff to capture and observe bugs and spiders and YES, he still has his dolls...


Boys don't play with dolls and men don't raise children....  <---Just kidding


Let us raise our children to be capable people in all aspects of life.  


 It has always bothered me that our girls are not told they may get married or they may not.  They may have kids they may not; either way is fine.


So with boys it should be the same play with cars and play with dolls, you will need to know how to do both when you are grown. 


Thanks, As a dad i do realize this is really my problem not my son's. I do appreciate the input though.

There is nothing wrong with boys playing with dolls. My son is 100% boy and plays with dolls. He prefers boy dolls but has some girls that he makes me play with. He even has a Disney princess that he recreates stories with of course there is usually a dragon involved too! I don't think you need to worry. I think it is a shame that they make toys gender specific. I had to search everywhere for a kitchen that wasn't pink. It is actually silly since the majority of great chefs are men!

My sons have a kitchen set that they love to play w/. Also, they both go to playgroup where there are boy and girl toys. I noticed my youngest son pushing a doll in a baby carriage, but I didn't make a big deal about it. Both my boys loved the toy vaccuum too. In school, my oldest wld feed a baby doll with a bottle. I think this teaches responsibility, and shldn't be looked down upon. My boys love their trucks and trains, playing in the dirt, bugs and all that fun boy stuff too. I wldn't be concerned. I think if you make a fuss about this, it will only discourage these boys' creativity and learning. Relax and enjoy your kids for who they are.

I love watching my boys play dolls or my girls play cars. Who decided that dolls are only for girls? My sons make great pretend fathers or babysitters. And there are so many times when there are commercials for My Little Pony or something else typically "for girls" and my sons, ages 5 and 6, will say they want it. They just want to play and use their imaginations, which is what they are supposed to do. And when all the kids are playing together, be it with the dolls and kitchen or with the cars and trucks, it is wonderful that they can bond like that!