Dear Dr. Bill,
My 7-year-old daughter has been nagging me for a Bratz doll. I don't feel that the doll provides a good example of how a girl should dress (very short skirts, crop tops, a lot of makeup). I've told this to my daughter, as an explanation of why I don't want to buy the doll. She has persisted, and says said she can put different clothes on her--but that doesn't fix the makeup problem. Should I give in or stick to my guns?
I would stick to your guns. One of our most important tasks as parents is to shape our children’s morals and values. Our culture makes that job a lot more difficult, particularly when much of the media and merchandizing aimed at kids is promoting adult sexuality.
As a result, children are forced to grow up much too fast and deal with issues that they aren’t emotionally or intellectually prepared for.
If you feel “Bratz” dolls are inappropriate for your daughter, it’s your call. Tell her that your decision is based on the fact that she is precious to you and you want the best for her in life. Explain to her that sometimes things we think are good for us can actually harm us.
Bratz dolls may seem attractive and desirable, but they send messages that may hurt her in the long run. Empathize with her disappointment, but explain that there are times in life when we don’t always get what we want.
If she continues to nag, you will need to implement a consequence, such as taking away a privilege. Today’s kids have become masters at the “nag factor.” One study found that ten percent of 12-13 year-olds admit to nagging their parents more than fifty times for products they’ve seen advertised!
Nip nagging in the bud, or soon you’ll have a “nag monster” on your hands.
Thanks for writing Susan. If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” tab on the Culture Connection page.