Pioneering Parents: Letting Your Son Play With Dolls

By Samuel Prince @PhiSammaJamma

“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” –Benjamin Franklin

Security is a fallacy. I’m hoping this isn’t news to you, and while I won’t champion the philosophy of anarchy, understanding this truth as an axiom is fundamental to growth.

This is especially existential in the realm of parenthood. Being a parent today is difficult. Parents tackle the challenge of raising children in a society whose values shift with more frequency than tectonic plates.

That the compromising of our values has morally eroded our society is a conversation for another day. However, all one must do is look at the yoga pants fad for evidence. Ten years ago, any woman wearing yoga pants in public would’ve been deemed a harlot, for better or for worse. Today many places consider such attire work-appropriate.

The challenges parents face are daunting to say the least. Parents can no longer afford to be reactionary in the raising of their children. Children have the world at their fingertips, and are proficient in accessing all it has to offer by age five. By the time you react to a damning loss of innocence, it will be much too late.

The conversations and issues that must be had with children may seem ghastly at times, but there is no substitute. If we don’t address sex, homosexuality, drugs, gangs, and other perceived taboo subject matter with children, developing their value system and rational awareness, rest assured the world will do that for you.

By now I hope you are thinking, but what does this have to do with letting my son have a doll?

If as a male you played with dolls growing up, more likely than not you were pigeon-holed as gay. Fathers tried to do (and still try) everything they could to disassociate their sons from anything feminine. If your son ended up as gay, then you failed as a father.

I think we missed and incredible opportunity here as a result, and are still missing it due to how we define masculine and feminine. Who decided that tools were for boys, and that dolls were for girls (have yet to find that in the Bible)?

By pushing boys away from dolls I believe we may not hurt them, but certainly don’t help them. In a sense it disassociates them from the fatherhood experience at a young age. Young girls learn in part to be mothers by emulating their mother’s behavior with a doll. This undoubtedly assists in their growth and ability to nurture, while boys are being robbed of that opportunity (As girls are being robbed of the opportunity of learning how to be builders by not being allowed to play with tools).

Is absentee fatherhood a surprise when a boy’s first experience in fatherhood is after he has a child? Through structured playtime with dolls, I believe we can help boys practice and hone qualities they’ll need to be a competent father. And who knows, maybe, just maybe, we’ll chip away at absentee fatherhood in America.


  • Structured playtime: What does it look like?
    • Have your son teach the doll to shave. Encourage him to have the doll mimic him as he mimics you. You can touch on a litany of topics, including: potty time, feeding and changing the baby, and reading bedtime stories. This will give him a sense of OWNERSHIP AND RESPONSIBILITY, and of course like girls, he’ll eventually grow out of the doll phase. You won’t make your son gay (or your daughter if you teach her about building). Open your mind to different things you can do.

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