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Why I Allowed My Little Daughter to "Play Princess"

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Marissa is the writer of ThePracticalMommy and the blog Mommy Knows What's Best. She is a stay-at-home mom to four and was a teacher.

My little princess dressed like a princess, just shy of two years old.

My little princess dressed like a princess, just shy of two years old.

Inspired by the Royal Wedding

All of the hoopla (yes, hoopla) about Kate Middleton marrying Prince William got me thinking about a controversy dealing with our daughters and princess play. The controversy, as I read it in several articles around that time, is that princess play, if encouraged too much by parents, could incite little girls to grow up to only be shallow, beauty-is-skin-deep, prince-charming seekers.

It prompted me to ask this question online: Will you let your daughter pretend she is a princess? I was curious about what others thought about the whole matter. Everyone who answered felt the same as I do: of course, we’d let them play the princess!

Playing princess or playing firefighter or chef or teacher is all part of creative play, of which the imagination of the little "actors" should be encouraged in this age of TV watching and computer-crazed kids. Here are the sections I will cover as to why I allowed my daughter to play as a princess:

  • Let little girls play freely.
  • Watch out for Prince Charming.
  • Sugar and spice are nice.
  • My wish for my daughter.
  • Closing thoughts.

Let Little Girls Play Freely

But back to the princesses. I played princess as a little girl with my sister, wearing old costume jewelry and dressing up. In fact, I was going to marry Prince William, who is just one year my senior, and my sister would marry Prince Harry, who was her age. We were going to live in the palace and wear pretty dresses, and I was going to grow up to become the queen…

So was my imagination. My Barbies were princesses. We had Ariel dolls, Cinderella dresses, Princess Jasmine accessories, the game Pretty, Pretty Princess, etc. We learned how to play “How Many Steps Before the Queen," playing it almost on a daily basis in our backyard.

My mom simply let us play. She let us be as we were, and didn’t force us to believe that it was a fairy-tale dream that we should chase our entire lives since it might have been preferred to our middle class status. We weren’t “Toddlers in Tiaras” nor were we encouraged to wear makeup or do anything that would make us grow up too fast. We were allowed to be little girls with little daydreams.

And then we grew up. I decided I no longer wanted to wear dresses and that I wanted to play sports. My sister and I played basketball and volleyball. We played baseball in the yard with our younger brother. Again, my mother simply let us play. We were healthy and having fun.

Watch out for Prince Charming

Academics came first above all as we grew up, as it would lead us to better places as we matured, but dating was discouraged until we were at least sixteen years of age. My parents warned us, as many other parents would, not just to look for a Prince Charming who would sweep us off of our feet at first glance. Our dates, who might eventually become our mates, should be kind, responsible, honest, God-fearing, and loyal. Did we get boy crazy at times? Sure. But the criteria my parents encouraged for our dates was always in the back of my mind.

The Prince Charming of my life came right after my sixteenth birthday. He was a friend who came to like me for me—the nerdy, sporty self that I was. And he passed the test: he met all of the criteria. After seven years of courtship, we wed, and I wore a pretty tiara.

My Prince and Little Princess, better known as my son and daughter.

My Prince and Little Princess, better known as my son and daughter.

Sugar and Spice are Nice

When it was time to have children, I decided I only wanted boys. I didn’t much care for pink nor did I want the responsibility of raising a daughter in this day and age. My first baby was a boy, just as I had hoped: a frolicking, bouncing, active, puppy dog tails and snails kind of little boy. I have had so much fun playing with him, pretending to be on safari, finding bugs, building tents, watching the clouds roll by, playing t-ball or just running around playing tag.

And then she came. My second child, my reason for writing this article, came without notice, three weeks early as if she was already having her say about her little life. My perception of having a girl changed the moment she was in my arms. She was precious, beautiful in pink. She was my little princess.

My little troublemaker

My little troublemaker

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My Wish for My Daughter

I knew on the day my daughter was born that she could play princess or any other game that she wants, just as I did. She can pretend she is stuck in a tower while Prince Charming is on his way to save her. She can dress up and pretend she is a queen ruling a land far far away. She can roll around in the grass and chase after her brother as they play make believe in the yard. She can play house with her dolls and kick a soccer ball. She can watch the clouds roll by or stop and admire the flowers. She can build sandcastles and chase butterflies. She can build a tent and number the stars. She can go wherever her imagination leads her.

I’m okay with that. I’m okay that she can grow up as I did, learning through play the way to navigate through life and follow her heart. I want her to find her own version of Prince Charming, one like her daddy who cherishes her for who she is on the inside. I want her to find who she is and be who she wants to be. Someday, when she reads this, I hope she understands that I want whatever becomes the very best for her in her own life.

I want her to live happily ever after, just like me.

Closing Thoughts

I'll leave you with this poem from William Butler Yeats, entitled "When You Are Old":

When you are old and gray and full of sleep
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true;
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead,
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

William Butler Yeats

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Marissa


Marissa (author) from United States on May 18, 2012:

Neetuar, thank you very much for your kind comment! :)

Marissa (author) from United States on May 18, 2012:

ishwaryaa22, thank you very much for your kind comment! :)

Neetuar from India on May 17, 2012:

Interesting hub! Letting children be creative and bring up their imaginative characters into play is very much children-like. I agree they should be let be their imaginative characters. Your growing up days you have shared give all hopes that your children will also grow up to be like you...ya the practical mommy that you are :) Thanks for sharing!

Ishwaryaa Dhandapani from Chennai, India on May 17, 2012:

I enjoyed reading this wonderful hub! It showed the caring and understanding you as a mother! Like you, I too had played princess dramas with my cousins and did lot of imaginative things. Being imaginative is an integral part of innocent, carefree and happy childhood. Nice to know about your life. Your little prince look very cute and your little princess look so adorable! Thank you for writing this uplifting and amazing hub! Well-done!

Thanks for SHARING. Beautiful, Awesome and Interesting. Voted up and Socially Shared.

Marissa (author) from United States on April 12, 2012:

Peggy W, thank you very much for your kind comment! I did have a wise mother growing up, and I do try to be a good parent, letting my kids be as imaginative as they want. :) Thanks again for reading and commenting!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 11, 2012:

It sounds as though you had a very wise mother when you were growing up, and you have taken up the importance of being a good parent as well. Kids should be allowed to play and imagination is a great part of it. Wishing your little prince AND princess happy days ahead...and you as well! Voted up and useful.

Marissa (author) from United States on January 10, 2012:

sunkentreasure, that's absolutely beautiful!! Thank you for sharing that with me! :)



Bless your children with the power of prayer

Celebrate their uniqueness

Feed them encouragement and inspiration

and let them feel they are greatly loved.

Teach your children the beauty of kindness

Enrich them with the wonders of nature

Fill their hearts with joyful melody

and always be their friend.

Clothe your children in goodness

Make their world full of nice surprises

Help them to follow their dreams

and thank God they came into your life.

© Bernard Levine

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on December 02, 2011: are welcome. I love to associate with talented people and you are that. For sure. Take it easy and dont work too much. Remember, you have a life to life. Peace.

Marissa (author) from United States on December 02, 2011:

Thanks so much, kenneth avery! It's nice to hear from you again. :)

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on December 01, 2011:

12/1...PracticalMommy...another winner! Amazing structure. Lay-out is great. Voted up and away. I tried to leave you my note of thanks for following me on your 'contact ThePracticalMommy' slot, but there isn't one on your profile, so with your permission, I am leaving it here for YOU . . .

A Special Hello to My New Creative Writer Friend, ThePracticalMommy. I am GLAD that you are in my world. And pray that you will not be too bored with my hubs. Write me anytime. I love to hear about what my friends are doing.

And now, YOUR Note of Thanks . . .I would like to offer YOU a SINCERE THANK YOU for following me. I am very new to Hubs. I TRULY VALUE my followers and I shall NOT take YOUR Warm Gesture for granted. Hopefully, my hubs will be educational, entertaining, a bit dramatic and many times funny. But NOT negative, abusive, or demeaning.

If at any time my hubs offend or upset you, simply tell ME FIRST, and I will remedy the situation pronto.


Sincerely, Kenneth.

PS: Please feel free to send any tips, suggestions, information that you feel can benefit my writing abilities.

Marissa (author) from United States on November 27, 2011:

mmm-mama, isn't it amazing how a little baby can change your outlook? :) I just bought an adorable little, very pink tutu for my daughter to wear for her first birthday party!

Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

mmm-mama on November 26, 2011:

Sooooo beautiful!! I felt the exact same way as you did, I always wanted to have only boys because I thought it would be so much easier. Then my second child was a little girl too, and I completely changed my mind! Now she's 2 and always pretends to be a princess and a ballerina, and LOVES pink, and I wouldn't have it any other way! Reading this totally made me tear up :) Good job! She is a lucky little girl :)

PS- Your kids are adorable!

Marissa (author) from United States on November 18, 2011:

KellyPittman, I can't even imagine my baby girl as a nine-year old! I can imagine it is bittersweet to see your daughter want to be grown up already. :)

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Kelly Pittman from South Louisiana on November 17, 2011:

Absolutely agree. My daughter is nine now, and starting to get over her princess-ness. Bittersweet. Looking forward to reading more.

Marissa (author) from United States on October 29, 2011:

OfTheHeart, thanks for reading and the kind comment! :)

Stephanie from New York on October 29, 2011:

Insightful and meaningful hub. That picture is adorable!

Marissa (author) from United States on October 27, 2011:

rsusan, thank you so much for your very kind comment! I definitely will be there for my princess and my prince through thick and thin. After all, that's what moms (and dads, of course) do. :)

Rika Susan from South Africa on October 26, 2011:

Your kids are blessed to have a mom like you, ThePracticalMommy. This is a beautiful hub right from the heart. May your princess get her 'happily ever after', but whatever happens, I am sure her mom will be there for her through thick and thin.

Marissa (author) from United States on October 26, 2011:

alphagirl, I do know all too well what you mean about middle schoolers and feeling like you're on a roller coaster with them... ;) I think you're right about how wanting to be a princess is a passage of age, one that gets overthrown by other interests as the kids age. I'm sure when my daughter goes through it all I'll miss it after a while too. :)

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Mae Williams from USA on October 26, 2011:

I think and from raising my own daughters that UNLESS our kids stop watching Disney, cinderella, princess Diaries, all little girl may want to think and be a princess. I think it is a passage of age. I thought it was cute when they were 2-4. But by 5, I think we hope they grow out of it. My kids grew out of it when they got involved with sports like soccer. Then suddenly being a princess is not cool. I also think toys and other games make it a self fulfilling prophecy when they are young. It is really hard to escape.

when I look back I kinds miss the princes stuff. Life was simpler and magical! Now mine are middle schoolers and boy I am on a roller coast ride! LITERALLY. You taught that age and so you know what I mean.

Marissa (author) from United States on October 26, 2011:

Ms Louise, thank you very much for your kind and thoughtful words! :)

Ms Louise on October 25, 2011:

This is a beautiful wish for your daughter. You have the wisdom that comes with age and yet the innocence that remains in the heart of a child. Well written.

Marissa (author) from United States on June 17, 2011:

princesswithapen, I'm glad the hub helped your lousy day day turn good. Thank you for reading and for your very kind words! :)

Marissa (author) from United States on June 17, 2011:

reena_yadav, thanks for reading and voting up! :)

Marissa (author) from United States on June 17, 2011:

seriousnuts, I'm glad you agree. Playing superheroes with super powers must have been fun still, even if you were the sidekick. It must have been great to have your sister to play with and learn with. Thanks for commenting! :)

princesswithapen on June 16, 2011:

Although I'm not a mother yet, the vibes from these words are very strong. I can feel that these words are coming from a true and loving mother.

Great hub, practical mommy. This read has made a lousy day turn good.


reena_yadav on June 16, 2011:

Hi ThePtacticalMommy,

It was great reading this hub although I am not a parent yet. While growing up, I was never interested in role play, I would just play football or soccer with the guys in the neighbourhood. As they say here, "A son is a son until he finds a wife, however a daughter is a daughter for life." Voted up !! :)

seriousnuts from Philippines on June 16, 2011:

I am not a parent, but I enjoyed reading your hub. I always imagine how to raise my children if I do become one. And I agree with you. Your hub also reminded me of my own childhood days. I never pretended to be a princess, I don't know why. I would role play all the heroes with super powers I've watched along with my twin. And I'd always get to play the sidekick, not that I wanted to, but just to give in to my twin's wishes.

Marissa (author) from United States on May 14, 2011:

FaithDream, thank you for the nice comment and for reading!

FaithDream from (Midwest) USA on May 13, 2011:

Your hub is priceless. How precious our children are when they are young. Keep on believing in your children and one day they will grow up & look back and say, Mom you were the best!!

Thanks for this beautiful article.

Marissa (author) from United States on May 04, 2011:

Thank you, chuckandus6! The picture is this year's Easter picture. :)

Nichol marie from The Country-Side on May 04, 2011:

Love the article and picture is adorable

Marissa (author) from United States on May 02, 2011:

I completely agree with you, glogeousmom. Thanks for the vote!

Glo L Bernadas from Philippines on May 02, 2011:

Dreams do come true, even if it don't come true to life in fairytale kingdom. Great hub. Voted up.

Marissa (author) from United States on April 29, 2011:

That's quite a kingdom you have there, denise! How blessed you are. Thanks for the comment and for reading. :)

Denise W Anderson from Bismarck, North Dakota on April 29, 2011:

I agree 100%! We help our children grow to be productive adults by allowing them to experience creative play. I have six "princesses" and three are now queens with their own little kingdoms.

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