Stumbled on Thingamababy via link-blogging and I happened to read this wonderfully thought-provoking piece on the whole princess thing. Don't forget to check out the comments!
Then a week or two ago, yet another manifestation of examined parenting on a variety of issues, from jewelry and electronic books to TV time and candy. Read "A comprehensive of all the things new parents don't really have control over, but attempt to control anyway"
1. Licensed characters — The Doras, Spidermen and Hello Kitties are restricted with rare exceptions. I don't see the need for them, or for marketers to be telling my kids what's important. We have Winnie the Pooh books and a Thomas the Train set, but our daughter hasn't interacted with those characters in other products or media.
Yesterday we were in a Target store when our daughter asked, "Why is Tigger on the shampoo?" I'm so proud of her. "Because someone who makes that product thinks it will sell better if they put that character on it."2. Candy, juice, soda and other sugary treats — Cake is for birthdays. Candy and juice are for special occasions. Life is so much easier, kids so much healthier and dental bills so much lighter when children don't expect and don't ask for sweet things.
17. Jewelry — Simple jewelry has been among the items in our daughter's dress-up bin since the beginning, but jewelry as a public accessory won't happen until age 13. Yeah, it's an arbitrary number. My belief is that jewelry as a means to make oneself attractive is a mature thing to be using, and I prefer to let kids embrace their childhood as long as possible. They have the rest of their lives to be adults.
Granted, our daughter's thought process is more like, "Ooh, it's sparkly, I want to wear it." A necklace is on the same level as stickers to her. However, wearing it is establishing a practice, a habit, an activity that carries well beyond toddlerhood. Today it's for one thing, tomorrow another. Right now, clothing mostly serves a utilitarian purpose for her, so I'm not about to give her high heels or a low-cut shirt just because she might (I hope not) consider them neat.