real men play with dolls

Real Men Play with Dolls

<em>Dear Mr. Dad: A few years ago, I read an article you wrote about why dads should play with their daughters. My husband is a pretty traditional guy and has a real problem playing with our four-year old the way she wants to play—meaning tea parties and dolls—not the way he does—meaning sports and superheroes. How can I encourage him to get over himself and do what’s best for her? </em>

<strong>A:</strong> The place to start is to give your husband some of the specifics about the many ways his playing with his daughter will help her. First of all, it’ll make her happy—and that’s incredibly important. Second, he’ll be helping her learn a variety of skills that will come in handy as she grows. Some are pretty basic, like the fine motor skills she’ll use for buttoning, snapping, tying, and so on. Others will have longer-term effects, such as empathy, imagination, and the practical soothing and caring skills that will help her when she has a family of her own (many, many years from now). There’s a growing body of research out there that shows quite conclusively that daughters of dads who play with them a lot grow up to be more assertive (in a good way), have more (and better) friends, get better grades in school, are more self-sufficient, and are less likely to smoke, abuse drugs or alcohol, go to prison, or get pregnant as teens. What man wouldn’t want to give his daughter all of those benefits? Whatever dignity your husband thinks he might lose by playing with dolls is a small price to pay.

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Armin Brott

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Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.

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