Gifts for daughters dilemma

(52 Posts)
JumpJockey Fri 22-Nov-13 12:35:27

I have 2 dds, nearly 5 and nearly 3, both of whom have their birthdays close to Christmas so this is a very current issue...

I am doing my best to avoid excessive pinkness, girly toys, being princesses etc, despite best efforts of MIL to send pink sparkly party dresses at all opportunities. Now that they're old enough to ask for what they want, there is a lot of "I would like a princess dress up set and a handbag and some more dollies".

Is it unfair of me to give them these toys, because a) I don't think they're very good for them when we could give them lego or something more neutral, and b) they play with lots of this sort of thing at nursery/ school anyway, and c) MIL will doubtless send loads of this crap sort of thing? Is it mean to refuse the toys they specifically ask for because they're blimming awful?

Pistillate Fri 22-Nov-13 12:50:14

If you are not editing the toys from mil, then you are allowing them a bit of what they want. Banning it entirely is only going to make them want it more, and if you buy other things you are showing them that your idea of play is different... They will twig pretty quick.

In fact I think your situations not bad... You mil filling that gap allows you to only buy what you want for them, whilst they still have their wishes fulfilled.

JumpJockey Fri 22-Nov-13 14:27:31

A fair point! I just wonder whether we ought to be getting what they want, otherwise it seems like Mummy and Daddy are the meanies who don't listen to them. It's all a bit "my children will only have wooden toys even if they really like the flashing plastic stuff"!

HerrenaHarridan Fri 22-Nov-13 15:08:36

It's not mean at all.

You know they will still get the pink princess tat from someone else. They will have access to things that will help them express that side of themselves. You will however be providing them with the counter balance so they are never restricted to only pink princess crap.

IMO it's not about stopping them doing traditionally girlie things its about enabling their freedom of choice

JumpJockey Fri 22-Nov-13 15:34:23

I like that argument Helena! smile

whatdoesittake48 Fri 22-Nov-13 15:47:46

we used to have a rule that our children could have anything they liked (within our budget...) as long as it wasn't advertised on children's TV. This cut out loads of the crap usually aimed at them...and got us out of the cycle of buying the latest toy. They also had to use their imagination to work out what they really wanted.

Nowadays they just want money...or gadgets. it is very boring!

We use the same rule for food too - if it is aimed at children it isn't real food is a pretty good rule!

WoTmania Fri 22-Nov-13 20:28:06

As has been said they will get all the pink princess tat from MIL other people. By getting them other stuff you are giving them options. You may also find that while they want all of that at the moment those toys will soon lose their appeal and whatever you give them may well get played with and used more in the long run.

It's about giving them choice and variety not limiting them to pink and frilly.

birdybear Fri 22-Nov-13 20:37:07

why can't girls have pink tat if that is what they want?

SplitHeadGirl Fri 22-Nov-13 21:04:15

I've got my DD the Doc McStuffins set...it is very sparkly mind you!!

TBH I have to agree with Birdy...I don't really care too much that my three year old loves princesses...I have faith that she, with two feminist parents, will learn well and be strong and powerful as she grows up.

WoTmania Fri 22-Nov-13 22:26:17

But they will get pink tat - probably from almost everybody else. So why not give them other stuff as well. I find it quite depressing when boys get lots if useful interesting toys and girls get....dolls.
What's wrong with variety?

SplitHeadGirl Fri 22-Nov-13 22:43:21

Do boys get interesting stuff?? My son gets...cars, tractors, cars, cars, lorries and more cars......

He loves it, don't get me wrong, but interesting it is NOT!!

My daughters get jigsaws, playdoh, dress up, DVDs, doctor sets, lego...

APartridgeAmongThePigeons Sat 23-Nov-13 01:21:44

Grandparents are there to buy your children crap. Feed them crap. Let them stay up late.

Parents have to make an effort. You wouldn't just feed them cake if it were all they asked fo, right? And you wouldn't feel guilty about it either would you?

So why feel guilty about buying them educational or gender neutral toys? If they are pink devotees, what about getting them goldiblox?

madwomanintheatt1c Sat 23-Nov-13 01:53:11

What are you buying Ds, then, split? Shopping for little kids is easy. So much choice! How come your Ds only gets vehicles? I think mine only got car themed stuff once (except the remote control year, when they all got helicopters as well as those teeny tiny cars - we had to get three so they had one each - it was the girls that asked for them and we didn't want Ds to feel left out).

Ds is getting a pen knife and lego tower bridge. The dd's (respectively) are getting money for an international trip (and a rucksack to take everything in) and books (easy to please). Thankfully the pink days are past, which happens to all girls if you wait a year or two. grin their days of wall to wall pinkery and bling haven't affected their views on equality or their maturing tastes in the slightest.

Op, don't sweat it. And ask for a copy of Cinderella ate my daughter in your stocking.

madwomanintheatt1c Sat 23-Nov-13 01:57:40

On the goldiblox thing - as it's so trendy at the mo, it's making me a bit uneasy. I'm all for female engineers (dd1 is likely to end up as one, for a start, and my kids love to create Rube Goldberg machines out of anything they find laying around - it was last year's craze) but I'm finding the idea of yet more stuff targeted in a totally gendered way CRAZY!!!

Why do girls need goldiblox stuff? Why do you have to have special twee engineering stuff because it's for girls?

<sigh>

SoonToBeSix Sat 23-Nov-13 02:08:04

Yes it is mean, would you feel the same if you had a ds who wanted a pink pram?

ChippingInLovesAutumn Sat 23-Nov-13 03:08:31

Yes it is mean not to get them what they want (if you can afford it) - would you like it if your DH bought you a hoover because it was what he thought you needed and not the iPad you wanted?

You really can go the other way when trying to be gender neutral in your parenting.

WoTmania Sat 23-Nov-13 09:41:39

soontobesix - actually, I have boughht my sons pushchairs and dolls and made a sling for them because no one else does (not in pink though, I avoid things in gendered colours).
But with DD I buy her other stuff because everyone else buys the pink tat so she also gets a choice of things to play with.
I'm helped by the fact that I have dc of both sexes though as regardless of who it has been given to they all have access. In the case of the OP she has two girls so unles she provides other toys that's all they will get

ChunkyPickle Sat 23-Nov-13 12:06:05

I actually think that all 3 year-olds love that stuff - DS certainly loves everything sparkly, bracelets, necklaces a bag to carry it all in, he just gets given cars because he's a boy (which he also loves, but likes a change every now and then)

Girls just get the pink stuff pushed so much more, and at 3 they're easily swayed.

I agree with everyone else - you provide the toys you want to give them variety, and let MIL provide the pink and sparkly.

APartridgeAmongThePigeons Sat 23-Nov-13 21:44:22

You know I felt the same way madwoman, it felt quite patronising that they were making "engineering toys for girls" when they're were already engineering toys for children. But actually on thinking it through I realised there were very few "engineering toys for children" and actually just "engineering toys for boys".

By that i mean, in the boy aisle. With only boys on the cover. And when characters are involved only male ones. With boys on the television adverts.

So I was using the typical male is default thinking iyswim.

We have a toys r us advert in states at moment they show an aisle full if girls at the Barbie section and an aisle full of boys in the lego section angry

So whats wrong with marketing something at girls, for them, if its not some bullshit Lego friends thing where you Dont actually build anything?

APartridgeAmongThePigeons Sat 23-Nov-13 21:54:25

Also I don't think the advertising is "twee" at all. Pretty fuckin awesome actually grin

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFpe3Up9T_g

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyTQDX-ItiM

APartridgeAmongThePigeons Sat 23-Nov-13 22:06:29
zatyaballerina Sat 23-Nov-13 23:26:23

We've always bought dd a mix of boys/girls/neutral and allow her to choose her preferences. I really don't see how a pink princess dress hurts any more than a dinosaur or a gun. If they are deprived of something they want, it'll make them want it so much more. If your children are asking for a doll or dress up clothes, why would you refuse that in favour of something you want them to have? That sounds mean and strangely controlling tbh.

If there's some reason why you're desperate for them to have something 'gender neutral', you could get them what they want and what you want them to have, if they play will your preferred option, great, if not, so what?

madwomanintheatt1c Sun 24-Nov-13 00:30:27

Right, but the problem isn't marketing more engineering toys for girls (complete with girly packaging) it's making the existing packaging gender neutral.

I had exactly the same issue last year trying to buy Ds a rock tumbler. They are marketed exclusively for girls, with girls making jewellery on the boxes, and free dangly earring hooks inside the pack.

I've seen the Rube Goldberg ads - they are fine. And my kids make Rube Goldberg machines all the time. I think theya re pretty awesome. But the actual engineering toys? Damn me they are twee.

www.goldieblox.com/products/goldieblox-and-the-spinning-machine

Goldie the girl inventor?
Really?
Not just Goldie the inventor?
We have to make a point about her being a girl because that's like, sooooo, unusual?
That's reinforcing the stereotype by illuminating the fact that 'an inventor' is male, but a 'girl inventor' is female. Nuts.

TheRaniOfYawn Sun 24-Nov-13 06:03:08

The second GoldieBlox book has been causing a bit of a stir among my friends. Goldie makes friends with a princess and they design a float for a parade with lots of sparkly stressing up in frilly frocks.

I found that both my children loved pink sparkly stuff between the ages of around 2 and 5. One is a girl, the other a boy.

sashh Sun 24-Nov-13 09:34:18

I think buy them what they ask for.

You are discriminating (well that's a big word, but something like that in a small way) because they are girls.

If you had boys asking for pink you would probably be thrilled, so why shouldn't girls have pink tat?

I wasn't allowed mechano as a child because it was a boys' toy. I was allowed dolls, and I played with them, I also made them clothes.

I also played with mechano when noone was looking.

WoTmania Sun 24-Nov-13 13:01:10

Yeah, OP, how very unreasonable of you to want to balance out the pink tat from the MIL with a sellection of other things hmm

WoTmania Sun 24-Nov-13 13:05:56

*selection

JumpJockey Sun 24-Nov-13 19:52:53

Whoever said would I refuse a boy a pink pram, that's missing the point - it would be more relevant if I refused to buy a boy an action man with a gun, as that's what's marketed at boys and what they're "expected" to want, whetherthey do or not. DD1 said she wanted Minnie Mouse and Hello Kitty on her birthday cake - when I asked her what they actually do, she had no idea, had just seen them on other kids' lunch boxes, so even at 4 they are falling for all this marketing. It's not that she particularly likes MM or HK, she's just seen the advertising of the blasted stuff.

I do object to princess toys on the whole - when did a princess ever actually do anything? And likewise I won't be getting stuff like weapons, not because they're targeted at boys but because I don't want to be encouraging games that involve pretending to kill someone.

Sassh you're basically showing why I think it's important to counteract the whole "toys for girls" idea - why did you only play with meccano when nobody was looking? If you enjoyed it, why not just play with the stuff and that's that? If I only get them girly stuff, nobody else is going to give them train sets/lego/whatever, and they'll be missing out on the secret meccano as there are no boys in the house.

DropYourSword Sun 24-Nov-13 20:00:33

But why ask them what they would like if you're going to overrule it anyway?

APartridgeAmongThePigeons Sun 24-Nov-13 20:15:31

Right, but the problem isn't marketing more engineering toys for girls (complete with girly packaging) it's making the existing packaging gender neutral.

Yes, I agree that's annoying. But you are talking about someone trying to break in to a market where girls aren't being reached. It's business selling a product, with a good message but it's still not a charity devoted to ending gendered merchandising.

1. In other words, it's not Goldiblox the company's problem that the current makers of engineering toys aren't marketing to girls. And it's not something that they can or should have to correct. That's our jobs as parents an consumers to petition and boycott sexist advertising.

2. If Goldiblox were to create just another engineering toy that happened to be gender neutral I think it would still be naturally marketed at boys. The shops would place it with the other "boys toys". Girls would know it's not for them because they've already spent their formative years being told that unless it's pink it's not for them and that construction kits are for boys. And tbh it would probably be a harder sell when there are already so many well known construction toys brands out there.

3. Like I said I had the initial feeling as you but I actually think for children who are in to more "girly" colors this is probably a good thing. It uses their brain and really I think that's what matters. I certainly never stayed in the girl's section and I was consider a tom boy growing up but I realize that now a days it's much more difficult for young girl's to break out past the gendered bullshit. And if one day my daughter goes through a "girly" phase I'm much more likely to buy her a buy her a goldiblox set over a My Little Pony Doll.

As for this
A book series plus construction set starring Goldie, the girl inventor.

I read it differently than you. It could just as easily have been "Daniel the boy inventor/detective/wizard"

It's the emphasis on her being a child not that she has a vagina.

JumpJockey Sun 24-Nov-13 20:26:29

DropYourSword it's not as if we've particularly had to ask what they want, I'm being bombarded with "It's Christmas/my birthday soon, I want xyz" - all I meant was that previously dd2 was too young to express opinions, and dd1 was fairly unmoved by advertising/ peer pressure, it's all changed since she started school though.

Example - dd1 has outgrown her kiddy bike, we were offered one that a good friend's daughter is too big for. She says I dn't like it it's grey (actually silver) and I only like pink. Do we say Oh ok I'll spend twice as much on a new pink bike, or do we say Actually it doesn't make any difference what colour it is, if we get this you can have other presents with the money saved on a second hand bike?

Charcoalbriquettes Sun 24-Nov-13 21:21:06

Drop your sword. Do you really think it would be a good idea for the op to just assume that her kids want pink tat, not ever ask them, buy things they aren't interested in, and never ask what they are interested in?

You can only deny them what they want if you have asked them.... Who knows, they might say I want an abacus...

There are ways round things....
Dd wants a snow white dress up... Buy her a yellow skirt, white blouse and make a blue bodice for her... Thus avoiding the disneyfication and trip up frills.

Dd wants a handbag.... Buy a handy backpack so she can carry her own toys when she goes on a playdate.

zatyaballerina Sun 24-Nov-13 23:02:51

Most children would prefer a brand new bike of their preferred colour to a second hand one in a colour they dislike that allows their parents to buy them extra presents they don't want.

Your children will rebel against you to become bimbos obsessed with pink and all the frilly things you hate if you continue trying to control their wants and likes. Make sure you have the boys style toys in the house, just don't give it to them as their presents unless it's in addition to what they want or it's something they've asked for.

APartridgeAmongThePigeons Sun 24-Nov-13 23:32:54

Your children will rebel against you to become bimbos

hmm

CaptChaos Mon 25-Nov-13 09:12:49

* Do we say Oh ok I'll spend twice as much on a new pink bike, or do we say Actually it doesn't make any difference what colour it is, if we get this you can have other presents with the money saved on a second hand bike?*

You get the second hand bike for them and, if after a while they are physically allergic to the colour, get spray paint.

If your MiL is determined to buy pink tat, then you have an opportunity to buy things that will hold their attention and last, like Meccano and Lego sets, books, the bike. Your DDs will be playing with and appreciating those toys long after the doll's hair has matted and the fake nail polish has hardened in the bottle.

DropYourSword Mon 25-Nov-13 11:43:07

Charcoal Of course I don't think it's a good idea for the OP to assume her children want `pink tat`. And I didn't ask my question in an aggressive manner,I apologise if it came across that way. But genuinely, why ask them what they want and then when they tell you, decide that you don't want them to have it anyway. I really don't believe in asking a question you're not prepared to hear the answer to.

DropYourSword Mon 25-Nov-13 11:47:00

Ooooh, could I just recommended though as an awesome toy I loved to pay with as a child ) although I dint know if it's available any more) ... it was called TapTap. It had a corkboard, hammer, loads of colored shapes and tacks. You would create a picture by tapping tacks through the holes in the colored pieces. Ok, doesn't sound great here maybe, but I spent many a happy hour playing with my tap tap (and spirograph) without a hint of the dreaded pink!

EdithWeston Mon 25-Nov-13 11:51:36

Small children have only a limited view of all the possibilities that the world can offer them. They will ask, probably, for more things similar to or the same as they've seen and liked.

I think it's the parents job to provide more opportunities and ideas. And giving different types of toys, kits and dress up clothes is a way of doing that. Now, if you try to give them something similar to an item they have previously tried and rejected, then you're just going to frustrate and disappoint them. But if you go for something new and different, it's potentially exciting.

No child should be limited to 'only glittery' or 'only action'.

Idespair Mon 25-Nov-13 11:54:37

Let them have the pink shite from mil or whoever. Get them some other toys so they have a choice of what to play with. They'll probably choose the pink stuff - my dd picked this up from nursery aged 3. But pink will be uncool when they are a little older and you can charity shop the lot.

However I personally think that making an issue of not having pink will be remembered far more than a passing pink phase. Additionally, you are the role model, the real live person they watch every day. So re the pink and body image, it's far better for them to see you go out makeup free / in casual comfortable clothes at the weekend, not spending hours and £££ preening etc. this sends a far stronger message than banning princess stuff - much to difficult a message for a 3yo or 5yo to decipher. All they will think is that you are meaner than their friends' parents.

Idespair Mon 25-Nov-13 11:55:22

Tap tap and Spirograph are both still around.

DropYourSword Mon 25-Nov-13 12:37:04

I might have to treat a child myself to one for Christmas!

YoniMatopoeia Mon 25-Nov-13 12:54:05

Just to add goldiblox are massively overpriced in this country where I have seen them for sale... Compare to the US price.

ErrolTheDragon Mon 25-Nov-13 15:31:40

As I've got a 14 yo whose favourite subject is electronics, I'll pass on my two pennyworth.

Firstly, if you're being bombarded with requests, ok if they've arisen from nursery/school that's hard to manage but if any of it's from TV advertising then that's something to try to avoid. If they're watching without a parent, try to stick to the non-ad ones (or dvds); if you're there you can -laugh like a drain at-- gently steer them away from crappier choices.

Secondly, if you've asked them what they want, do get some of it (or suggest to MIL so she gets the right sparkly shit instead of random sparkly shit).

Thirdly, get them some other stuff *as well. It's not an either/or.

Fourthly, don't forget that a lot of play doesn't need much bought stuff - awesome constructions at a young age need large cardboard boxes and a helpful parent. Or the opportunity to build a den or hunt bugs etc.

Finally, who says princesses don't do anything? Find books/films where they don't just sit around; if they like you to play with them you can steer the role play. As soon as they're old enough you can get them doing real stuff - the 'dressing up' phase is short, so let them enjoy it. Ditto the dolls - the main thing is that its not to the exclusion of other activities.

About the bike, I'd be inclined to accept the silver one but then let your DD choose bell, streamers, stickers etc to customise it.

SPsWouldCatFishNev Mon 25-Nov-13 15:42:35

This is an issue I only see on MN.

You ask children what they want for Xmas, they say and then you say well no because you don't want to.

Some girls like pink shit amd some boys like blue shit. Whats the issue?

If my son asked for only stereotypical boy things then that's what he would get.

Its a non issue to me

JumpJockey Mon 25-Nov-13 15:44:56

I don't ban pink from the house, for those who seem to be characterising me as Millie Tant! hmm and in fact bought DD1 Hello Kitty PJs recently as a reward, as that's what she specifically pleaded for. And we have given them several dolls, a buggy etc.

Errol has pretty much nailed it. We don't watch commercial tv with the kids anyway, just Beebies/ CBBC so at least avoid the worst of that. And I do pass on the more egregious sparkly requests to MIL/other family members. That way they do get some sparkly stuff, and we give them other stuff. Will take a look at A Mighty Girl again for more active princesses...

That TapTap thing looks great, btw - thanks!

ErrolTheDragon Mon 25-Nov-13 15:45:50

One reason the issue arises is because 'blue shit' tends to be less shitty than 'pink shit'.

JumpJockey Tue 26-Nov-13 16:07:56

update for anyone who is interested in the tap tap art thing - I discovered something almost identical in this shop http://www.tigerstores.co.uk/ for £6, it looks fab smile thanks very much for the suggestion!

I think loving sparkles is part of being 3.
DS just went skippy with joy in the Christmas shop at sll the glitter and lights; he chose a sequinned bird tree dec and a golden sequinned glittery nest of eggs. He then came home and put on his lurex dragon cape, my silver sandals and his favourite red undies and a wizard star wand and said he was a butterfly fairy dragon who laid golden eggs grin.

TheRaniOfYawn Wed 27-Nov-13 07:14:09

I agree. I asked DS (4) the other day what sort of pants he would like and he requested pink with fairies in a sparkly winter wonderland.

Ragwort Wed 27-Nov-13 07:21:10

I agree with you - I have a DS but there are loads of things I just would not consider buying for him - Action Man/gun etc etc. Even if certain toys are not 'sexist', if I don't feel they are appropriate I would just not buy them. Eg; when he started asking for an X box or whatever the latest gadget was & I didn't feel it was appropriate I would just say 'no'.

As a parent we have the right to make those decisions, not just give into all their demanding or marketing/peer pressure. smile

ErrolTheDragon Wed 27-Nov-13 15:40:33

TrucksAndDinosaurs - fabulous, perhaps you should change your name to ButterflyFairyDragon?grin

Minnieisthedevilmouse Wed 27-Nov-13 18:00:04

The only people that get angst over this stuff is adults. Anyone else notice kids don't give a fig and just like what they like boy or girl?

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