PARENTS

Do Little Princesses Have To Grow Up Spoilt?

02/06/2009 09:58 | Updated 22 May 2015

No matter how determined you might have been that your daughter would be her

own person, and not a stereotype pink princess, there's no denying that most little girls do love the pink stuff. And merchandising and media is there with a seemingly endless supply to meet their demands.

The amount of princess paraphernalia available for little girls is inescapable. My sister in law just had a baby girl, and when we went to buy something for the baby it was everywhere: clothes, bottles, bibs and blankets, all in frilly pink girly versions and often branded with slogans like "Her Highness", "Little Princess" and images of royal lovelies.

And as little girls get older, it only increases. What parent of a toddler girl doesn't have at least one princess dressing-up outfit complete with nylon flouncy dress, sparkly plastic shoes and a tiara?

You may view this princess obsession as harmless fantasy play, and a normal stage for most little girls. But there are some who believe that parents who allow their daughters to enjoy this frilly pink imaginary world are in danger of raising narcissistic little divas who expect the world to revolve around them.

On the pink-opposition team is Jean Twenge, an associate professor of psychology and co-author of "The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement." In researching the way parenting affects children, she feels 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 student-age young 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.'"

Having watched my daughter emerge from her pink princess-obsessive phase, I'm not sure that I agree. One of my friends allowed her daughter to parade around the shops on her princess outfit, as she reasoned "If you can't walk round Marks and Spencer dressed as Sleeping Beauty when you're five, when can you?" Surely we can let kids be kids without spoiling them?

Fitting in is extremely important to little children, and this is why they tend to flock to the same things. As they get older they develop their own interests and become less identikit. As responsible parents, it's up to us to guide them through these phases. Just because she dresses like a princess, doesn't mean she gets it all her own way all the time.

What about you? Are you concerned about the princess message bombarded at your daughter? Do you try to steer her away from all things pink and sparkly? If so, what would you rather she was playing?

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