Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Maternal Influence

My girls and I were watching a new Strawberry Shortcake movie this evening, and it suddenly dawned on me that the characters my daughters like are influenced by my own childhood. Why it's taken me so long to have this startling light bulb moment, I don't know.

I'm one of those parents that refuses to buy my kids character branding. You won't see my girls in a Disney Princess or Hannah Montana shirt. They do have accessories or notebooks or pens but definitely not clothing. They don't have character themed bedrooms or sheets or anything like that. I just don't like it. Strangely enough, they've never asked for it either.

So, it becomes obvious that often what our children buy into, in terms of branding, is largely due to what we as parents like as well. You know the Mom that loves Dora. She watches it with her child. The kid has a backpack, has Dora clothes, bedding, books, movies. Why? You could argue that the child also likes Dora, of course. But I bet it's Mom who puts it on more times than not. That's understandable, right? I mean, you KNOW that whatever show your child develops a keening for, you are going to be forced to watch over and over and over again. It might as well be something that you like! Mom's choice!

As for my family, my girls have always been interested in characters that are not the hype at the moment. In fact, they have always had movies and toys that some of the other kids didn't even recognize. Madeline, anyone?

My daughters have always loved Strawberry Shortcake. While Strawberry certainly has a following, she doesn't seem as popular as some of the other toys for girls out there. I don't see most of my friends with the Strawberry house and furnishings, the dolls, and more dvd's than I care to count.

They've also always been into Madeline. We have movies, books, dolls, clothes, felt boards, and the doll house furnishings. We even have a barking Genevieve. We have many, many of the cartoon movies. Really, I have to be honest and admit here-Madeline is one of my favs. Correlation? Of course not.

Lastly, and this makes me kind of sigh with bliss, is Hello Kitty. We have alarm clocks, clock radios, fork and spoon and chopstick sets, cups, plates....well, I'm actually embarrassed to even go on with the Hello Kitty stuff. Other than in Asian markets, I think my family keeps Hello Kitty stocks up. Have you seen Hello Kitty and Friends movies? The TV show? Jewellery? Paper umbrellas? Books? And again, WHY the fascination in my household of all things Hello Kitty? That's right, folks. Mama has a thing for the cat. C'mon. Admit it. Hello Kitty is one cute, little character!

Take a look around your home at your child's interests. I guarantee you that somewhere in what "they" like is something "you" like, or liked as a child. There's nothing wrong with that. I know my maternal influence on them is going to wane and eventually disappear at some point. For now, I'm lording it over them. And they WILL like it. Dora and Disney Princesses be damned!

1 comment:

  1. My husband would be the one that influences my daughter with all of the UT Longhorns stuff! She loved Strawberry Shortcake and Madeline. I think with her being a redhead she could identify with them more than some of the other characters. In fact, she loved Ariel another redhead too. Now we have hit the preteen years so she has outgrown most of that.