Life Advice



Ask Amy: A toy kitchen brings up stereotype questions

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My husband and I have a daughter, “Emma.” She is three.

We are thoughtful and responsible parents (at least we think so…).

We have a question about gift-giving.

Our daughter goes to a nursery school program a couple of mornings a week, and it’s going very well.

While at school, she loves to play with a miniature kitchen set. It’s got a little sink and a pretend stove with pots and pans.

We told my sister that we are thinking about getting a version of this for our daughter for Christmas (my sister also has children), but she is strongly disapproving because, as she says, this sort of toy “reinforces gender stereotypes.”


Now we feel weird about it and decided to seek your take.

– Wondering Parents

Dear Wondering: Many parents are concerned about reinforcing gender stereotypes … right up until that moment when their toddler son really loves to play with his cousin’s toy bulldozer, or their daughter falls in love with a Tiny Tammy doll.

Are you willing to deny your child the joy and learning experience of playing with an object she really loves in order to please your sister, or to pat yourselves on the back about adhering consistently to your powerful ideals?


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