Curiosity is the hallmark of childhood. Boys and girls from very young ages are here to explore and test, in order to find out what their preferences are, and what society will tolerate. Traditionally it was thought that little girls should play with “girlie” things – dolls, toy kitchens – and little boys should play with trains and trucks, and Batman action figures. But nothing is further from the truth.
Girls, more and more frequently, are expressing an interest in the mechanics of planes and cars, as boys, more often than used to be, are showing an interest in dolls of both genders. The exploration of the human body and how people interact, is not particular to gender.
Little boys who want to play with dolls, should not be denied. Denying them this kind of play may impact their self esteem and cause feelings of shame that are very damaging to a child.
There is nothing worse to a child’s emotional well being, than making him feel there is something wrong with him. Society’s “norms” are changing rapidly and so must parents adjust their thinking about what is appropriate for their children. Boys that want to play with dolls – and more importantly, being allowed to do so – is part of this shift. There is no reason why a boy should not be permitted doll play. It is a way of learning how relationships are formed, as much as it is a way of learning about the human body. It is a perfectly healthy way for boys to want to play, and can only enhance their appreciation of the opposite gender.