Do you like your children playing with dolls?
Some dolls are better than others.
We have an important member of our household called Dolly. Dolly is a traditional baby doll who was given to my daughter when she was two, and is still a favourite now that she's 11. Dolly goes on sleepovers, gets a new outfit every Christmas and must not, under any circumstances be left behind on family trips.
Wendy wrote in a previous post that she would be uncomfortable if her daughter was playing with dolls beyond age 10, but I think that this is preferable to acting too old for your age. Many of my daughter's friends still play with dolls, though these days they tend to give them makeovers and hew hairstyles rather than play mummys and daddies. Playing with dolls comes under what experts term "small world play" - literally, your child is re-creating the world around them in miniature. So if you see your child playing with little figures, cars or teddy bears, you'll get a great insight into how they see their life and relationships. How your child 'parents' their toys is a reflection of what they pick up from how you parent them. And if you're having behaviour problems with your child, one way to address this is to subtly encourage more small world play, as this will give you an insight into what your child is thinking and why they behave the way they do.
So all in all, dolls are good. But are some dolls better than others?
Our basic baby doll is looking pretty old fashioned these days. As a new doll boutique opens in London, dolls are more popular than they've ever been. You can get a Tudor-style doll, Matilda, designed to look like a real child, aimed at girls from eight to 12 (and parents with deep pockets to afford the £89.99 price tag). For those with particularly strong stomachs, there's the fantastically creepy Living Dead Dolls, for the child who likes to play Halloween all year round. What kind of small world does that recreate?
If the Tweeters I asked are anything to go by, the humble doll can provoke pretty strong reactions amongst parents. Author and broadcaster Daisy Goodwin takes a hardline view: "I banned Bratz. If given one as a present I would leave it near the dogs" which prompted austentwit to recall "My mother banned Barbies back in the day - I craved them terribly". So does banning a particular type of doll only lead your child to want it more?
Mother of two Angela Cheung says: "I think the idea of Bratz is terribly wrong - like promoting the word 'brats', and that's like promoting bad behaviour to me. But Moxie dolls are cute, they have very pretty faces. Playing with dolls encourages role play so it's okay."
What do you think, would you censor the dolls your children play with? Is there an age limit when it comes to playing with dolls? Or do you let your child choose?
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