Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Princess Parenting!

My newest collaboration with DadLabs.com...

Are you a princess parent? Does your baby girl have more princess paraphernalia than you can fit in your mini van? As a parent, it’s nearly impossible to avoid the inevitable onslaught of princess culture. In this episode of The Lab, Daddy Brad and Daddy Clay compare who is the bigger princess parent by adding up their daughters’ princess gear. From Disney games and Disney princess toys to princess costumes and unicorn stuffed animals, the two Dads compare who is the bigger Cinderella father. Author Jeremy Adam Smith discusses the impact that princess mania is having and the steps to maintain a healthy father daughter relationship.

In preparation for this episode, I chatted with a number of psychologists. "Many preschool girls go through a kind of princess phase," said Stephen Hinshaw, chair of the UC Berkeley psychology department and author of the new book, The Triple Bind. "At the 'right' time, this is not deleterious or promoting of narcissism. But if it becomes a preoccupation [i.e., an obsession], and if the 'princess treatment' begins to extend to the girl herself, and if it lasts beyond the 'normative' time, could be problematic." For a solid and interestingly neurotic feminist take on princess mania, see Peggy Orenstein's 2006 piece in New York Times Magazine.

Incidentally, today's USA Today mentions me and DadLabs and an all-star line-up of fatherhood researchers in a piece entitled, "New daditude: Today's fathers are hands-on, pressure off." It's well worth a read.

Thanks to Axel Hausemann for his camera and sound work here at DadLabs West!


Grammy said...

Cool! and funny!

Jim @ CoolStuffForDads.com said...

Ditto, cool! Very cool on the USATODAY.com article.

Veronica said...

Enjoyed your perspective of the video. I look forward to getting more familiar with your blog.

Currently over on Moment-to-Moment Optimism, we're covering the topic of raising optimistic children and optimistic parenting. I think you might be interested in our posts. Check us out!


Moment-to-Moment Optimism

Edward said...

I remember the princess years. With my first born son, now 11. I'd like to join your little community on our experiences raising a gender non-conforming son, if that makes sense to you.

I'm starting a blog with a west-coast mom (I'm an east-coast dad) on the shared experiences of our little community of a few dozen families.

Kristin A said...

I was a total tomboy and, anticipating the princess fixation, the first book I got for my daughter (even before she was born) was "Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots?" by Carmela LaVigna Coyle, illustrated by Mike Gordon. Wonderful balance to the glitter and pink of the Disney franchise with a girl that loves to climb trees, splash in mud puddles and wear hiking boots. At three and a half my daughter is now totally into the pink and glitter, but also loves to catch earthworms and do all of the above. Great advice from Jeremy Adam Smith.

Anonymous said...

This is funny, and I agree with Jeremy's advice about helping children to think for themselves. I would add that they need to feel for themselves as well.

At the end of the video, when one of the dad's is talking about the pointing thing coming out of the head of the unicorn being princessy, this actually seemed more like a "prince" than a princess to me? (If you follow my drift.)