Is 'Princess Parenting' Really a Problem?

Filed under: Opinions

Is your daughter on a princess pedestal? Image: amazon.com

Almost from the moment they are born, little girls today are bombarded with princess paraphernalia. Crib sheets, bottles, bibs and blankets all come in pink girly-girl versions and often feature words like "her highness" and images of royal beauties. It only gets worse as they get older. What parent of a toddler girl doesn't have at least one princess dress-up outfit complete with sparkly plastic shoes and a tiara?

Most of us see the princess phenomenon as harmless fantasy play. But there are some who believe that parents who allow their daughters to enjoy this frilly pink pretend world are in danger of raising narcissistic little divas who expect the world to revolve around them.

One such person is Jean Twenge, an associate professor of psychology at San Diego State and co-author of "The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement." In researching the way parenting affects children, she determined that the the current princess obsession that so many little girls - and their parents - have bought into can lead to problems.
Twenge found that while college-age women display fewer narcissistic traits than their male counterparts, the girls are catching up fast. And, in her opinion, the princess phenomenon is at least partly to blame.

"It just encourages parents who put their kids on a pedestal - and who encourage their kids a lot and rarely criticize," she says. "You could label that kind of parenting 'princess parenting.'"

As a parent of a child who has moved beyond her royal obsession, I think blaming princess products for poor parenting is a stretch. Whether your child is currently into princesses, Pokemon or fire trucks, it's all about context and guidance. Even the sparkliest princess wand in the world is powerless against responsible parenting.

What about you? Are you concerned about the princess message your daughter is receiving? Do you try to steer her away from all things royal, pink and sparkly? If so, what would you rather she be doing during playtime?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.