Advanced search

Gender oriented play

(53 Posts)
Bumperlicious Thu 04-Sep-08 08:21:07

Ok, so despite having several qualifications in psychology I never bothered to listen in Child Psych as I found it soooo boring (at the time!)

Anyway, my point it I should know the answer to this question, but I am just wondering about gender oriented play. At 14mo DD has latched on to a baby doll and carries it around, patting it on the back going "Ahhhh" and feeding it from her bottle or cup. It seems rather early for this sort of behaviour and I guess even if we consciously can't remember, we probably taught her to do these things. I'm just wondering if this is an innate thing in girls or whether given the same opportunity whether boys demonstrate the same nurturing behaviours towards dolls, especially at such a young age?

likessleep Thu 04-Sep-08 08:52:52

I gave my 10 month old DS a doll a week ago and he promptly and repeatedly hit it shock

BroccoliSpears Thu 04-Sep-08 08:56:24

Don't know but I'm interested too so will lurk.

berolina Thu 04-Sep-08 09:04:08

ds1 (3.3) has always been cuddly, nurturing, carries/pushes his doll around, etc. He has had the doll since he was 2.

She is modelling her behaviour on you. (Likessleep, I think that's just what you do at 10mo, isn't it?) Tbh I would expect a boy, all other things being equal (there's the rub), to do similar. This is a little older now but fascinating on this.

DontCallMeBaby Thu 04-Sep-08 09:10:15

I doubt there's a definitive answer out there - after all, radical feminists will claim there is no inherent differences between the sexes (actually the most radical of course will say women are intrinsically superior) while at the far extreme is the idea that women are hard-wired to nurture and not much else.

My current favourite anecdote on the subject though ... a couple of months ago my friend came to visit with her two boys (4 and rising 2), and another friend with her two girls (rising 4 and 1). Friend #1 turned up with some cars for her boys, saying to the older one that she didn't think there would be any toys here he would like (I just have DD). A few hours into the visit the three older children are in another room, and a voice floats through: 'but it is MY baby, and I want to put it to bed!' You got it - the 4yo boy.

seeker Thu 04-Sep-08 09:14:27

Until I had a child of each gender, I would have gone to the stake proclaiming that it was all about nurture not nature and children are blank screens onto which we project societal norms.....Oh I was tedious on the subject!

Then I became the proud mother of two perfect gender stereotypes. And they remain so at 7 and 12 - despite my best efforts. And I know there are lots of children who don't conform to the stereotyping - and even mine have a few non-conforming traits (ds is very nurturing of his soft toys and puts them to be with great tenderness and dd loves to get her perfectly done hair wet and muddy at Scouts on a Friday night) but I think that LARGELY they do conform. Society has a big part to play, but I am convinced that there is some hard wiring in there as well!

eandh Thu 04-Sep-08 09:16:34

I have 2 dd's we have a mixture of toys (dolls, kitchen, garage etc) however without fail everyday dd1 (4 on sunday !) will play with kitchen and play food and dd2 will push her baby in the buggy or play with dolly bits. The garage has only ever been played with once or twice (or lots by visiting friends ds's) if we go to my brothers house (they have ds) dd1 & 2 will go for th emost fgeminine type of toys he has (ie his hoover or puzzles)

mangolassi Thu 04-Sep-08 09:20:25

I'll be lurking too... dd is 22m and breastfeeds her stuffed toys. And cuddles them, and puts them to sleep.
On the other hand, she also differentiates between buses, cars, bicycles and trucks, and loves playing with them. And she also hits/throws things at times. So I think she's pretty balanced so far!

BroccoliSpears Thu 04-Sep-08 09:27:27

I believe that dd (2.4) is a typically girly girl because her primary role model is me. I will be interested to see if ds (4 mnths) also develops a liking for jewellery, makeup, dollies, cooking etc.

likessleep Thu 04-Sep-08 09:29:12

berolina, yeah, ds does just pretty much bang everything at the moment for noise factor, i just thought it was funny when he did it. grin

kys Thu 04-Sep-08 09:37:21

My ds is 3 and although 80% of the time he plays with "boys" toys, he does have a pushchair, kitchen, ironing board, hoover, dust pan, broom etc. All of which he has asked for. He spent hrs last nite bathing baby and getting it ready for bed.
He's in training to be the perfect hubby.

But hey bless him i think he needs to spend more time with dad, cos he also copies me with the eyelash curler, loves rubbing cream on his feet and wants a purse and handbag for when we go shopping!!

Bumperlicious Thu 04-Sep-08 09:41:00

Interesting thoughts so far. I guess I was just surprised at such nurturing behaviour from DD so young. She doesn't see a lot of other children so wouldn't have picked it up from them, but I guess it must be from us.

Most of her toys are just generic baby toys at the moment so not really stereotyped, but it will be interesting to see what sort of toys she chooses for herself as she gets older.

Oooh, I hope I have a boy next time just so I can embark on some social psych experiments <mwah ha ha>!

SummatAnNowt Thu 04-Sep-08 09:41:27

My own view is that it's a continuum.

Did anyone catch that episode of Child of Our Time with the boy twins. They were put into a playroom seperately but with a friend. The room had a play kitchen and dolls and the like in it. One twin played with it as it was and looked after the dolls. The other threw the dolls in the rubbish and up-ended the kitchen unit to make a rocket.

mankymummy Thu 04-Sep-08 09:43:56

My DS, just 3 is a real roughy toughy little boy but he regularly pretends his toy dogs/bears/cat/whatever are babies. He changes their nappies, baths them, puts them to bed. walks around with them on his shoulder saying... "shhhhh... alright now, all better"

He also does the ironing on his toy iron and ironing board, and has in the past had a hoover, microwave, still has a kitchen and regularly makes me dinner or a cup of tea.

My future daughter in law shall have no complaints !

Although having said that he's mad on football too ! wink

Pinkjenny Thu 04-Sep-08 09:46:20

Dd (16mo) is exactly the same, Bumperlicious. I found it odd when she started patting her doll's back and calling it 'baby', as she's never even been around babies, and I have no other dcs. I assume it's just copied from me, and the way I pat her back and nurture her.

juuule Thu 04-Sep-08 09:52:17

My boys have also done this. One of them tried bf-ing his teddy.
They've also stuck teddies up their jumpers pretending they were 'having a baby'.

Psychobabble Thu 04-Sep-08 09:55:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

juuule Thu 04-Sep-08 09:55:57

At various times both dds and dss have cuddled/cared for dolls/teddies and sometimes dragged the dolls/teddies around by limbs or hair when they were getting bored with whatever game they were playing.

Have also had dds and dss playing trains and cars. One dd in particular played constantly for a while with a road playcarpet and cars.

I've found they copy what they see and will play with anything that is available and looks interesting.

mangolassi Thu 04-Sep-08 09:58:01

Dd is mostly with her SAHD, I wonder if that's where the truck thing comes from (dp drives me nuts by spending 4x as long cleaning the car as he does cleaning the house, but that's another thread)

Bumperlicious Thu 04-Sep-08 10:06:52

DD is cared for by both my and DH part time equally so it will be interesting to see how that has an effect on her (or him for that matter, it won't be long I expect before I come back and find them both covered in make up and glitter - but that is a whole other thread!). He is already very impressed at her ball dribbling skills!

Shoegazer Thu 04-Sep-08 12:03:26

Hmm, DD 2.2 loves taking things apart to see how they work and always plays with the work bench and toy drills etc when we go into the early learning centre. She adores bugs and has a toy bat and 2 toy spiders of her choosing. However, she also loves her toy kitchen and playing princesses.

She is aware of gender at the moment. "We are girls mummy and daddy is a boy. Boys don't have boobies". But doesn't translate this to her play and is just as happy brushing my hair as she is lifting up the plant pots in the garden to find slugs.

Divvy Thu 04-Sep-08 12:14:00

dd is 18 months, and likes to play with toy cars and motorbikes, making the noises for each as she races them on the carpet.

We have taken her since birth to motorbike racing, and its always on the tv here a home.

she also likes to sit on our own motorbikes inthe garden when they are being cleaned.

but she also ikes cuddling her doll.

Karst Thu 04-Sep-08 12:46:36

Well, DD 2.5 is made about Thomas the Tank Engine, although I'm sure that that goes either way. I'm a stay-at-home dad so you'd maybe expect her to do more 'boyish' things in copying me but she doesn't. I suppose it really depends on the character of child.

babyinbelly Thu 04-Sep-08 12:59:51

I think they just copy what they see. DS age 2 spends most time with me and loves to change teddy's nappy. The other day teddy had nappy on. ds then took off pj's and put them on the teddy before taking him up to bed.

However an hour later he is trying to shoot me with an imaginary gun!

MatNanPlus Thu 04-Sep-08 13:05:46

Current toddler is 19m and loves playing with his kitchen, play food, cleaning and cars

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: