A Doll’s Lesson

by Debbie Twomey on March 14, 2013



What can a doll teach your toddler? How can a toy teach a lesson? And how is that lesson different when it comes to allowing your son to have his own doll?

This is a long standing argument for generations of parents—whether to let their young sons play with dolls. I can think of many good reasons why it is a good idea but one major one is the many tales of guys who were not capable of nurturing when they became adults.

I myself, have witnessed  a situation where a father objected to letting his toddler son play with a doll which makes that toy even more interesting and now, they do not understand how to interact with that toy because it is now taboo. It was not a healthy message and caused quite a rift between the parents and tension for one precious little boy.

It is still considered inappropriate for little boys to play with dolls and in this day and age, that belief is a bit misguided. Children imitate their parents and this includes helping with cleaning, dishes, even cooking (age appropriately) and taking care of babies.

If all they see is their Mommies nurturing and being gentle, this may be a sign that the father figure is not sharing that role and it is really necessary. A boy child learns just as much about nurturing from fathers as they can from their mothers and this will help them to develop into well rounded adults.


Reasons why giving your toddler son a doll to play with are a positive step:

You do not instill negative messages about what is inappropriate for boys to want to play with

Help develop a nurturing nature for your son, one he can share once he has his own children

Prepare them for fatherhood

Help them accept and care for new siblings

Raise a well-rounded child

Do not fall into stereotyping traps that have been going on for too many generations

Allow your son a choice to be gentle as opposed to always roughhousing

Can go along ways to erase male chauvinistic messages


Why a doll can play an essential role for boys about to become big brothers:

Prepares a child for the arrival of another attention seeker (baby) and helps them understand a baby needs attention too

Helps them to feel included if they have their own baby to care for especially once the baby comes

Helps them to understand they need to be gentle and quiet with a small baby

Gives them their own outlet for loving so they do not always want to be holding new baby

Guides them in how to properly care for a baby and not throw it around like most of their toys

If you have a particularly active little boy it is best to show him how to calm and be quieter when around new baby—practice with doll. Show him how to dress, comfort and put doll to bed so he can share these when baby comes

It goes a long way in breaking gender constraints just as letting a little girl play with trucks would

Pretend play with a doll does help develop cognitive skills

Learning to dress and undress dolls helps with fine motor skills and later helps boys to dress themselves

Dolls also can help assist little boys in potty training (as well as girls) help them to learn how to feed, bathe and body part identification


Dolls can be instructional for little boys in preparing them for a new sibling. But, what people need to understand is a doll has many more lessons to teach all children. All children can benefit socially by learning how to nurture. Dolls aid is lessons of interaction with family and people who care for your child. A doll can help rehearse caring for a new sibling—not only can your son practice before the baby comes but can care for his baby right along with his parents.

I suggest reading Charlotte Zolotow’s book “William’s Doll” for parents wondering if their son playing with a doll seems wrong. Children learn from their environment and by watching their parents and a doll has many valuable lessons to teach them.



"I have dedicated my life to the care and welfare of children. I feel privileged to share what I have learned with you. I am also committed to continuously learning.  I will keep informed of the latest information in parenting children from newborns to teens and pass it on to all of you.”   I will also use that same passion to help you create a dynasty generate increases in your business with straightforward and specialized media managing skills that guarantee your connection and scope will grow. Keep up to date reading our posts and discover valuable insights that can make parenting and succeeding in the business of the blogger– the most exciting adventure. (Debbie Twomey)
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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ellen Barbagallo March 14, 2013 at 5:27 pm

Great information!  So much to learn from reading this blog and totally agree.


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