Teenage Pregnancy…Are Childhood Toys Accomplices?

My “thinking place” is the shower.  It is amazing the things that pop into my head in there.  Is it because the water is drowning all the noise out therefore allowing my mind to be unleashed at 200 mph?  I don’t know, but anyway, last week somehow I started thinking about the jingle from the popular 1980s toy commercial Kid Sister/My Buddy.  If you don’t remember this is how it went:

Kid sister/My buddy, kid sister/my buddy
Wherever I go (s)he goes
Kid sister/My buddy, kid sister/my buddy
Kid sister/My buddy and me!

Cute, right?  Quick side note:  I think My Buddy was the first and only toy that made it ok for boys to play with dolls.  Afterall, he wasn’t a “doll,” he was your “buddy” lol…ok…continuing on.  So, as in typical Jes fashion, the mental wheels started spinning.  I thought about how our childhood toys could be linked to teenage pregnancy.  Of course this isn’t scientic, but see if you can go with me.

I know that God placed the nurturing nature inside of us from day one.  That’s not an argument, and we will naturally gravitate towards caring for something/someone.  We can’t deny that, but what would you say about our parents, media, and everybody reinforcing this over and over and over again possibly planting a small seed with our toys?  Think about it:  females have ALWAYS been mothers.  From the time we are able to walk just about, we have always had babies–baby dolls for clarity.  Everyone thinks it’s cute and is what’s “supposed” to be.  I mean, ever since toys have been in existence the toy industry has been setting us up!  Boys are supposed to play with cars and girls are supposed to play with dolls.  The dolls themselves aren’t bad, but what they are trying to promote is.  The doll’s names are like Baby Alive, Little Mommy Sweet As Me, Newborn Nursery Doll, Baby Wet Wet, Whoopsie Poopsie???  What do you think they are trying to tell us?!  Why does a 5 yr. old need to know how to change a diaper, give a bottle, put a baby to sleep, and stop her from crying??  See, I’m thinking that perhaps since we’ve been doing this our whole life, we think that “we got this” and having a real baby might be the same thing.  Of course every girl doesn’t think that, but maybe in the back of her mind the thought is there.  I remember in 8th grade, a group of girls were standing around and they were talking about how they wish there was a way that we could be pregnant and have a baby without going to school.  WHAT?!  Now, true, I have always loved kids–even when I myself was one.  When I was a little girl I loved babies, and as a teen I loved kids.  I always had an affinity for people younger than me.  Maybe because I was the oldest…maybe because I wanted to be a teacher…who knows.  Anyway, yes, I did dream about GROWING UP and having kids, but never once did I desire to have one as a child!  I thought they were crazy for even considering it.   See, I’m thinking that we get a false sense of confidence that is making entertain things that we have NO business entertaining!

So…what do we do?  The part two of my shower dissertation was that if perhaps we stop getting toys who are our kids and start getting toys who are our friends or maybe even our relative, then perhaps we can slow down our motherhood development.  I say “slow down” because it can’t be stopped.  I mean, this is 2009 yall.  We are bombarded with this EVERYWHERE!  Unfortunately some girls have to grow up with this in their own homes!  So although we can’t stop it, we can monitor and manage how we choose to encourage or discourage this in our homes.  This is why I love the Kid Sister/My Buddy concept.  They weren’t your kids.  They were your friend and your little sister.  What do you do with a friend and a little sister?  You play with them!  You don’t feed them, bathe them, change them, comfort them, and put them to sleep.  You just play with them!  They didn’t come with a bunch of accesories like hair brushes, bottles, pajamas, and whatever else.  The only thing that came in the box was THEM!  And you know what?  They were dressed in overalls & sneakers, so you KNOW that they were supposed to be played with.  You can’t play with some dainty little baby in a dress and Mary Janes.

So, perhaps if we have more “friends” like Barbies, character dolls (i.e. Dora), and teddy bears & stuffed animals, then maybe we won’t start thinking about becoming a mother until…well, unfortunately until you get to middle school and your friends actually start becoming real mothers!  It just breaks my heart how early our innocence is taken away!!  I’m constantly trying to think of ways that we can keep our kids KIDS until it’s time for them to grow up.  I don’t think there is anything wrong for a 12 year old to still be playing with Barbies.  We did!  I don’t think there is anything wrong with a 16 year old hanging out and PLAYING  with her friends riding bikes, swimming, and skating together.  What’s up with all this hanging out at the mall and having and going to parties nowawdays??  No wonder kids are the way they are now.  They are growing up WAY too fast!!  But anyway, what do you think about this?  Please comment.


2 thoughts on “Teenage Pregnancy…Are Childhood Toys Accomplices?

  1. uniquelyawesome says:

    You know…that’s a good point! If the sex ed teachers would concentrate a little more on WHY you shouldn’t have a baby instead of just explaining how it happens, do the week long project where you take care of the egg (or a bag of sugar at my school), and whatever else they do in TWO weeks, then maybe kids will think twice. The problem is that the teachers don’t make the kids think, and therefore there is nothing to consider when they leave the classroom. That’s bad business especially since most kids already have made up their minds in regards to what they’re going to do. I wish all teachers would realize what power they have and how they really can inspire and influence their student’s lives even with all the rules & regulations and the administration…but that’s another blog 🙂

  2. ACW says:

    Excellent post.
    I think it’s mostly harmless up until age four or five, but agree that by the time a child enters school, she should probably not be encouraged to mimic mothering.
    I think I was too old for the first My Buddy/Kid Sister dolls. Instead, I had a Fisher Price My Friend Jenny. Personally, I think baby dolls are all just creepy! … my kids have the Our Generation dolls, which are more in line with the ‘friend’ dolls to which you refer.
    I also think other people’s children can be one of the best forms of birth control. I think all mothers, when their children reach about age ten or eleven, should find the most obnoxious toddler they can find to invite over a few times a year.
    I also think that part of the problem is that our society has become increasingly independent… in that a household now consists of the nuclear family (if that). Most of our contemporaries and our children have never lived with extended families all crammed together, so they don’t know the level of responsibility that comes with having a child, not like previous generations would have at their age.
    Don’t get me wrong on this next part, because I understand there are a variety of reasons why a man or woman would find him/herself as a single parent, and I don’t know how I’d get along without my husband parenting alongside me. However, our contemporaries were, and our children are, surrounded by examples of single parents who strive *so hard* to make it look like they’ve got it all together… that from a child’s point of view, it must look easy.
    My closing thought is: thank goodness for my 9th grade biology teacher who, before delving in on his two-week lesson plan for sex ed, first had each of us calculate the costs of raising one child from birth to eighteen years, including adjusting for inflation, and compare those costs to income levels, at minimum wage, for one person and for two people. The take-home message? Don’t have kids until you can afford them, and preferably with someone to share in the responsibility.

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