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Parenting a Princess

Posted on 19th Jul 2010 @ 1:35 AM

When a daughter is born, it feels like the most precious gift you can imagine has just been given to you. Her delicate little hands, her tiny arms and legs, her scrunched up face looking up at you can inspire feelings of complete bliss - and utter panic at the same time. Above all else though you will probably Iintuitively know that while parenting her is not always going to be easy, there is no denying that this little bundle of joy is now and forever your little princess.

AEClipettes0005_101DotsLIM_small2.jpgAnd beginning almost immediately, she is showered with baby gifts worthy of a princess’s favor. Nowadays, with all the hype about princess products, she’s likely to wind up with princess baby bottles, princess baby blankets, princess hair clips, and almost anything princess you can think of, in different shades of pink.

While most of us think nothing of this phenomenon (some of us even think it’s adorable), some would argue that this so-called “princess parenting” is detrimental to a child. Some people actually believe that parents who allow their daughters to enjoy a “princess pretend-world” might actually be raising narcissistic little divas, and that these girls might grow up expecting the world to revolve around them! 

Regardless of how you or anyone else feels, the “princess industry” has been booming continuously in the past few years. Retailers are cashing in on the hype, offering a whole range of products for girls with princess references. In truth, it is hard to find a little girl without at least one princess outfit complete with matching sparkly shoes and hair accessories.

Perhaps this is because mothers who were lavished with princess baby gifts when they were young, managed to grow up as sensible, responsible, successful women, and want the same kind of experience for their own daughters. Or perhaps it’s the exact opposite: mothers who grew up less privileged want their own daughters to have the kind of fun that they missed.

Whatever the reason, most mothers agree that all this royal role-playing is about giving their daughters confidence in themselves, realizing their value as unique individuals, and celebrating femininity. Or, at the very least, this is what they hope to achieve. “So what if I put a little princess hair clip on my baby? It just means that I see her as the fairest of them all. I want her to know how special she is inside and out. Hopefully, when she grows up, she’ll never feel otherwise.”

Naturally, guidance and moderation are key. There is merit in conservative parenting, lest we spoil our children rotten (although blaming narcissistic tendencies on glittery hair accessories would be stretching it!) In the end, it’s the parents who are in a unique position of influence, and we should always be mindful that it’s as easy to condescend to a child as it is to nurture her ego.

Personally, I don’t think indulging in a few princess baby gifts is such a terrible thing. All the frilly dresses and fancy hair accessories don’t magically transform a child into a self-absorbed, self-obsessed diva. However, we parents can accomplish that if we are not careful to allow fantasy and reality to play equally important roles in the care of our child’s sense of self.

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