Why it is so important to me for my own boys to play with dolls…

I don’t really talk much about my past or upbringing online as I usually like to stick to business but I guess the truth is there is no way of getting away from this one as my past kind of reflects exactly why I decided to make a go of RagHeroes. For those of you who don’t know, I grew up and spent nearly all of my life living in Sunderland, in the North East, before moving to Whitley Bay, still in the North East, around 5 years ago. I only moved as my husband is from Newcastle and refused point blank to come to Sunderland!lol For those of you who don’t know much about Sunderland, it is a very working class place with a history rooted in mining and ship building. The men up here, as lovely as they are, in my opinion are not very good at showing their feelings and think it makes them look ‘soft’ to do so. Of course, this is not all men but true for most that I personally know. Before becoming self-employed I spent over 15 years working as a counsellor and youth worker in various locations around the North East. One of the main issues we came across when working with young men was their inability to process their feelings and this was then projected as anger, which was often due to sheer frustration as they didn’t know how to show people how they felt. Myself, and many of my colleagues spent hours of time working with young men, showing them how to challenge this and how to articulate what...

Should boys play with dolls? A man’s perspective!

My name is Jan and I am a young people’s Counsellor and Student Counsellor at a well-known University. I am also married and have two young sons, age 2 and 4 years. My wife, Maria, has a business selling rag dolls for boys called RagHeroes, which has provoked some controversy so I am going to write about whether I think boys should play with dolls. It feels like one of those subjects which provokes strong feelings, should boys play with dolls? The dolls that my wife makes are Soldiers, Super Heroes and regional dolls like Super Geordies, so they are really made with boys in mind, but some Dad’s and a representative from a company that sells toys for babies have said they do not like the idea and that they will not sell.                                                                 “To be honest, I never thought this would be an issue…”   To be honest, I never thought this would be an issue, our kids just walk around everywhere with them and it feels very natural. They also like knights and soldiers to fight with, but then they like to have something to cuddle some of the time. I have noticed that they talk to the dolls as well which feels really positive. Is it something about them being soft and cuddly? If they were hard and plastic would that make them okay for boys to use? I suppose some of the answer...

Should little boys be ‘allowed’ to play with dolls?

As a lot of you will know I set up RagHeroes as I have two little boys who wanted their own dolls to play with, but after searching high and low they did not see one they liked.  They were all too girly, so we made some together, more boyish ones, and RagHeroes was born. As a mum of two boys and also partly influenced by my career in counselling, psychotherapy and play therapy, I strongly believe that all little boys should have access to toys which promote and nurture their caring sides.  I believe wholeheartedly this is an essential part of their development, if we want them to grown into teenagers and men who are able to express how they feel and deal with ‘difficult’ emotions.  I think allowing them access to toys, such as dolls for boys will encourage them to explore this side of their personality and to embrace it.  I’ve recently been looking at the work of Sandra Crosser (Ph D) who has studied the language development of young children.  In one of her articles when observing language development, she states, “Neither boys nor girls spoke much when playing with the toy vehicles. The most language interaction and exposure occurred as children played with dolls”.  This shows how important role play with dolls is for our children.  Delays in language development can cause problems with children not being able to express themselves, and in turn having difficulties when their needs are not fully met.  Little boys especially are known to talk later than girls, so there may even be more of a benefit in giving...

Welcome to Rag Heroes, where little boys are encouraged to show their caring side too!

Introducing Rag Heroes, a range of rag dolls, with boys in mind! Although we are sure your little girls will love them too! and Richard Branson certainly thinks they are ‘superb’! At Rag Heroes we want to challenge the concept that little boys should not play with dolls.  In fact, we actively encourage it!  We believe that little boys should have a means to express and nurture their caring side and we believe our dolls promote this!  ...