On Trolls

So my eight-year-old son went to school the other day and was talking to his friends about what he put on his Christmas list this year (we start early in the Syp household). One of the things he wanted were some Troll dolls from that animated movie, because it’s all the rage in our house.

One of his friends started teasing him that he liked those “girly” dolls, and the teasing extended to the fact that my son — in addition to snakes, dolphins, and pokemon — said that he thought princesses were cool too.

He came home crushed, asking his mom to take the trolls off his Christmas list. She refused and had a long talk with him about toys being OK for boys and girls, and that you liked what you liked.

My approach was a little different. I took him to my computer and loaded up a few MMOs. LOTRO. Neverwinter. WildStar. SWTOR. I asked him what I played, and he said, “Girls.”

Yes I do, I nodded. Because girls — like boys — are pretty awesome. And I don’t care if anyone laughs at me for it, because I’m having fun. And then we joked around about what we liked best in the troll movie and moved on with our lives.

Don’t listen to the trolls, kids. Just enjoy them if you wanna.

10 thoughts on “On Trolls

  1. If everyone would approach the problem like this, there wouldn’t be transgenders. Those are created by
    – OK, then I don’t want to be a boy

  2. My kids decided suddenly last week that they wanted to make Christmas lists, so I don’t think yours are atypical. It’s more of a “if we are back in school, Christmas must be getting close” mentality.
    You did the best you could with the situation and had a creative solution. As much as you try to emphasize tolerance at home though, they are still going to face that social pressure at school because few want to feel or be “different” at their age.

    As Red Green would say, “I’m pulling for you, we’re all in this together.”

  3. I’d extend the explanation to make sure he understands the consequences that come with choosing to be different. I like to use the example of dyeing your hair purple. It’s not just about whether you like the color or want it, it’s also whether you want to deal with people looking and potentially reacting to you differently. Ideally people wouldn’t look or make assumptions because of hair color, but in reality they do, and the only thing you can control is the choice of dyeing it or not. A child might not be able to process the entire cause/effect pattern of a choice, but that’s part of parenting.

    Same applies with him being open about liking princesses or dolls as a young boy at school. You aren’t going to change young kids making fun of each other, often over differences or what is/isn’t perceived as ‘cool’, so the only thing you can control is how often you put yourself out there with those differences. If someone is very religious, maybe they wear a Yakima all the time, accepting and dealing with what comes with that. Others might not want those daily consequences. Again, they are making that choice and all that comes with it.

    Most of us do things we wouldn’t bring up in the first day of meeting someone. This is basically that, only in child form, and it’s a teachable moment from that perspective as well as supporting them in their interests.

  4. On a lighter note it reminds me of the episode of ‘King of the Hill’ where Hank keeps refers to his son Bobby’s troll doll collection as ‘troll action figures.’

  5. Clearly they havent seen Guardians of the Galaxy. Trolls are not only cool they are also retro.

    But great advice, toys arent Gender specfic. That’s all some Corporate marketing department. It’s good to let kids enjoy the toys they like.

  6. Make a troll character in EQ or EQ2 and show him that! Scariest character models in MMOs. Troll girls especially scary!

    Otherwise, spot on handling of tricky situation.

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