My husband and I have one child, a boy, who just turned four years old. Our son loves to play with dolls, and play dress up, as well as toy cars and “good guys/bad guys.”
My husband has a problem with some of these type games. He believes that we have to take any toys away that are “for girls,” punish our child, and redirect him “appropriately.”
The problem, Violet, is that I do not agree. I believe children use their imagination and will make toys out of anything, without assigning any “male” or “female” dynamics to them, only utilizing these things as toys.
Why should we limit our child’s imagination because my husband believes his own friends will think his son is a “sissy?” I thought this type of thinking had died out long ago, but here it is in my own home. Should I “direct my child” differently with his toys, or let play things be play things?
Please settle this argument for us, Violet,
Dear Boy Momma
I think it has been long proven that the particular toys children engage with do not make them any more or less masculine or feminine; however, I do not live in your home.
My belief is that there should not be an argument, but since there is a difference of opinion, when it comes to your son’s play things, it should be treated like every other marital disagreement, with respect, compromise, and open discussion.
Discuss with your husband what it is about the toys being “for girls” that potentially bothers him, and why he believes toys are gender specific. Discuss how negotiable your husband is to the idea of equal playtime for all toys, allowing your child to pick their favorites and develop their own personality and imagination.
All of these things should be talked about, as co-parents, and agreed upon outside the hearing of your child, to prevent any kind of issues for the child as they select toys, moving forward. (In other words they will not think “daddy doesn’t like this toy” or “this is supposed to be for girls”.) Avoid any thinking that could lead to shame or association of doing wrong by selecting a toy.
It’s a small world, after all, and we should all practice great love within it,
Dear Violet is a relationship advice column, covering both domestic relationships and familial relationships, as well as friendships. If you have something you want to get advice about, write in and get a third party, no ax to grind perspective. Welcome to Violet’s world. Send questions, comments or concerns attention: Ask Violet c/o Gonzales Inquirer at firstname.lastname@example.org.