Student Essay

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In the article   Gals and Dolls: The Moral Value of “Bad Toys” the author, Marni Jackson, uses several examples to show how overbearing parenting can be destructive to a child later on in life. The first piece of evidence she uses is from psychoanalyst Alice Miller. Who writes that any “system of moral values imposed on children is damaging” and uses the example that many of the world’s most notorious criminals grew up in a rigid and strict household. Jackson is careful to point out that Miller is not suggesting absent parenting, but instead fair treatment, that will help a child develop a stronger sense of justice than they would have with “moral correction”. Jackson than uses the example of children’s toys, and how simple parental awareness and guidance reflects Miller’s view about parenting. Jackson uses two controversial examples, the Barbie doll and toy guns to show how a parent’s treatment of the toys can shape a child’s development. She uses the compromise between her and her son’s opinions on toy weapons (she allows fantasy imitation weapons) to show that her guidance and reasoning has shaped her son into rejecting violent television shows. She uses the Barbie doll to show that while parents think it is anti-feminist and damaging to the self-image, girls are more aware of reality than parents give them credit for. They know that Barbie is unrealistic, but use her to act out real life stories. Jackson seems to be suggesting in her article that parents who force adult views and values on a child can be damaging. She recognizes that parents have a social obligation to shape their child, but makes a compelling argument that too constrained and overbearing parenting can actually be destructive.

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