Shocked, confused and angry are all of the emotions that are running through your body when your young boy ask if he could have a Barbie. Wait! He means a Ken doll or GI Joe, right? Nope. He means Barbie. He wants the long flowing blond hair, puckered pink lips and bright blue eyes. Rather than opening up a can of “Whoop Ass” you may want to think about this request and find productive ways to address this budding curiosity.
Don’t Make It Bigger Than It Is
Literally. Don’t go getting your panties in a bunch by making the doll bigger than what it is. And don’t go automatically assuming that your sons interests in dolls links directly to his sexuality. Looking at it from a negative point of view will only feed his curiosity. Instead, embrace it and find positive ways to explain your beliefs about who plays with dolls and who doesn’t.
Buy a Barbie
This may seem like you’re giving in and going against your beliefs, but denying him will only cause problems in the future. If it’s the long flowing hair that interests him, then find him a Ken surfer doll with hair and still purchase the Barbie. Once you do, instead of leaving him to play alone; join him. During your play time reinforce your beliefs in gender roles in a positive manner. You can even display more interest in Ken and point out what makes him so great!
Redirect His Attention
Find other things that may interest him. Remember he’s a growing child and right now his personality, characteristics and traits are still in formation. Explore other activities that he may be interested in like drawing, cooking or anything else that isn’t extreme or macho because it’s obvious he isn’t ready to take on that role just yet. Finding creative and fun activities can be an asset to this budding boy’s future!
Only time will tell what becomes of this unexpected interest, but addressing it in a respectful and positive manner is the starting point!
Written By: Tahanee Roberts