Children using CP to Learn

There are many games children play in which they assume adult or parental roles. While it is play to them, it is certainly an important part of their learning process, progressing from child to parent.

For example, girls in particular played “house” with their dolls. Many dolls were in “baby” form so that the girls could learn about feeding them, changing diapers, bathing, hugging, putting to bed, etc… all the things that mommy does. Of course, when dolly misbehaved, the child might among other things, spank them.

Now such roleplay seems to be highly discouraged in many circles as stereotyping.

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I was never interested in dolls certainly not in the baby needing looking after form! Never wanted to play house either, but I can assure you despite my lack of maternal skills as a little girl I do seem to have grown up not to be a total useless adult in maintaining family and home, neither have I added to the UK divorce rates. I have been married for many a year or as my husband likes to put it `could have murdered you twice over and still be out by now

Although I had no interest in playing mother and collecting dolls I did have a collection of various stuffed toys, those were put to good use in role-play.

I can remember playing teacher with the teddies as my pupils. Just like my teacher, when teddies had been naughty they were dealt with by the way of a smacking. Unlike my teacher, however, for some reason, I used a hairbrush on them. I have no idea why I should have done this.

At the time of playing teacher I was still in the infants I had never been or even seen any child smacked with a hairbrush, the infant teachers just used their hands to smack. My parents did not use a hairbrush to punish me, never heard of anybody getting smacked with a hairbrush. Quite where I got the idea from to use one on the poor Teddies I really don`t know!! Child role play is a fascinating thing.

Elephants do seem to be keen on chastisement in children`s books. Was it Goliath that was smacked by his mother for shaming the herd? I am sure Dumbo`s mother walloped some child and ended up behind bars. I suppose Elephant`s trunks do come in handy for such things.

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I find your comment on the hairbrush fascinating because this is so commonly shown in American PCP, in postcards, advertisements, etc. but as you say, not really a British thing. You were very resourceful to discover that this item could have another use! The slipper appeared the common replacement for your locale, as it certainly was where I grew up. I have seen quite a few boys parentally slippered on the bare when I was a child, so this was something completely normal.

You know, as you get older, you seem to more easily forget recent events like, “what did I have for dinner yesterday?” but it’s true, you do start to remember more distant, and earlier memories. I had only three really fervent spankings worth mentioning, two with a slipper and one with a leather belt, all on the bare (all prior to age 8). But, thinking back now, for some reason my mother didn’t like to use her hand – I don’t know why. As I said above, she attempted to use the carpet beater once (over the pants). But I recall several more minor spankings, all on the bare, with some other implements like a wooden spoon, and even a fly swatter! (These appeared to be implements of proximity depending on where I was when the offense occurred!) .. but hairbrush, no I never had that used on me nor had I ever seen that here either.

I have a lot of ephemera on this emotive topic… but I feed it out in small packets that is directly related to the subject being presented!

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I completely fail to see the problem. Why should girls not play with (toy) guns and cars? My husband and I even taught our daughters to use real ones and our younger daughter is a much better shot than her boyfriend! When they visited to celebrate our wedding anniversary, she went off shooting with her father whilst I assisted her boyfriend with preparing a meal. My cookery (a girls’ subject) skills are limited to knowing the correct end of a tin of beans to open and it was only my knowledge of physics (a boys’ subject) that enabled me to ascertain that.

I mentioned meeting that type of sexism (here) when I wanted an electronics kit for a Xmas present. My mother was insistent I wouldn’t like it and wouldn’t be able to use it because “it’s for boys”. I can’t remember now but she probably pointed to a picture on the box showing a boy using it as “proof”. (I thought it was just to indicate that it was so simple, even a boy could do it. )

There’s nothing wrong with boys playing with dolls either. It’s not unknown, even today, for women to die in childbirth. If that happens, the father needs to know how to care for the baby.

When our children were younger, our respective work commitments made it better for my husband to stay at home looking after them while I was off <s>gallivanting</s> working around Europe.

Are you suggesting that boys, who traditionally were never taught domestic skills, grew up to be “utterly useless adults”? If boys are now learning skills that, traditionally, only girls learned, it allows them to have a wider skill. At the very least, it provides them with a wider range of choices from which to find something they can excel at. The same applies to girls learning skills traditionally only taught to boys.

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There has been a notable shift from generations gone by, that both males and females are learning to perform all these roles. That’s the way it should be. In our home, my wife and I still have some tasks that one of us generally takes the lead in, but nothing, and I mean nothing, is purely performed by one … except for breast feeding when our boy was in infant, as I did not have the requisite equipment to perform that task!

As the pendulum swings – there are going to be overreactions to everything, not just disciplining methods I think any child should play with and learn anything that comes naturally to them and they have an interest in, regardless of which sex the toy may once have traditionally been intended for. But equally, I think it is a mistake for someone to take that attitude that, because a toy may have traditionally been intended for a girl let’s say, then it should be intentionally avoided for their own girl, simply because of stereotyping from days gone by.

Yes, everyone wants careers, professions and noble personal pursuits. I believe, and I may be alone in this, that the noblest pursuit on the planet is noneof the forementioned. It is the person (and it can be mommy OR daddy) who has the ability to stay home and raise those children.

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Excellent article! Don’t forget that, as children, we also played ‘Mums and Dads’ and ‘School’. Both involved copious doses of smacked bottom. Without being able to verbalize it, were we actually learning to cope with the real thing if and when we overstepped the mark? Or did we simply find spanking a relatively innocent pre-adolescent thrill? Interestingly, it was usually the best-behaved players (in real life) who did their utmost to qualify for the “teacher’s” or “parental” attention.

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I was never a fan of baby type dolls and although I did get given them, I never requested them as presents so I am unaware if anything like this doll was available in the UK.

I had a doll that was fed water via a bottle then squeezed to make her cry silent tears, I`m sure she peed as well but she was bit anatomically challenged because I swear she peed out of a hole around the back. It was impossible to get enough water into her via bottle feeding, so she had to go under the tap!

I hope this `spank me` doll fared a little better. I do feel a bit sorry for her having to wear a `spank me` invite on her clothes, talk about creating a victim! and her little bandy baby legs they were never going to support her chubby little body as she bent ready for a spanking, no wonder she has fallen on her head in the illustration. I imagine she had to be bent like that to make the tears flow. I suppose her lot could be worse, she could be water boarded before having the life squeezed out of her like her British cousins. And just because they didn’t have spank me written on them didn’t mean they were immune to a good hiding, we needed no invitation.

We all used to play teachers and mummies, I said before on this thread I used to smack my poor teddies with a hairbrush despite having absolutely no experience or knowledge of a hairbrush ever been used for anything other than its intended purpose. Although we girls would be the ones playing teacher and punishing our poor dolls and teddies at a drop of a hat, I certainly hated to see anyone getting smacked in class, I`d breath a sigh of relief if a child was let off an offence but at play I never gave the teddies a second chance. The boys, I think, felt cheated if someone was let off a smacking yet to my knowledge had no interest in playing role play games that involved smacking.

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While my comment above about republishing this was half in jest, I did research it. Being originally published in 1957, it fell out of copyright (because no extension was registered, I research that too) and became public domain. However, HMH Books for Young Readers (sandpiper books) republished it in 1998. Further, I found that “The Lonely Doll” is a registered trademark of Dare Wright Media, LLC, so the rights are murky, to say the least… meaning stay away! …and it’s already been reprinted, as you also noted anyway…

I found the reprint on amazon with 106 reviews, some of which were negative. What I found most interesting is that the 1 of 5 star ratings were not given by people you might think were ideologically opposed to spanking, or even portraying it in children’s literature, many reviewers said as much! Rather, as the synopsis you linked refers to, it is more about sending a message that unless you do as I say, I will abandon you. “What if he goes away and takes you with him? I’ll be all alone again”

There was also some objection to the sexist remarks “isn’t it just like a girl to cry because she got spanked!” Once again, people don’t realize that they’re projecting attitudes of the 2010’s back into 1957 – a different time, a different world.


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do have that book actually and the sense of abandonment pulls at you more than the doll having a spanking for writing on the mirror.
In general I hold with with the notion the best toy is the one that the child wants rather than is normal for one of its own gender but the drive toward removing any reference to gender and erasing of things designed more to appeal to boys  does trouble me.