Its a certifiable fact that kids love toys. But what about when real life starts to creep into their toys? There is a little faction of the toy industry dedicated to “therapy toys,” and among this category you can find divorce toys. This realization came from a blast from the past: and American Girl doll.
Trip Down Memory Lane
For those of you who don’t know, the American Girl company was founded in 1986, and their main product is dolls. These dolls can come custom made to look exactly like the owner, or however the owner wants. In addition, the American Girl company sells books, magazines, movies, games, and more. It’s basically a girl empire, with the fighting words being “Follow your inner star,” and “Celebrating girls and all that they can be.”
So what’s so special about American Girl? Well, for starters, the dolls are just amazing, and the aspect of choosing what your doll looks like makes any girl’s heart beat increase. Then there’s the American Girl characters. These characters come complete with a backstory, special clothes, toys, pets, and offer girls a type of role model and person they can identify with, even though these characters are from different time periods.
For example, there’s Kaya, a Nez Perce girl from 1764; Addy, a girl who escapes slavery during the Civil War; then, my old personal favorite, Josefina, who lived in colonial New Mexico in 1824.
And the latest American Girl is Julie, a girl whose parents are divorced in the 1970’s.
Is This Real Life?
Divorce is a huge topic, especially when children are in the picture, so it makes sense to put real life topics out there for children to become acclimated with. In fact, this way of thinking has taken over child teaching methods and even their toys.
For example, there is a dollhouse that can split into two households, just in case a child’s toys want to get a divorce. The Detacho Playhouse, created by Ben Forman’s company Ben Forman Designs, can be divided into two separate homes. The Detacho Playhouse also comes with a variety of characters to populate the house, including stepparents, stepsiblings, and more. The dolls have hairpieces that can be switched around to reveal happy faces and sad faces.
The driving idea behind toys like this is for the child to feel accepted and comfortable with their family situation, and to be able to express their feelings and thoughts.
Other Therapy Toys
Children have a wide assortment of entertainment, toys, and books centered on various topics, like divorce, to choose from. Sesame Street now has a successful divorce webseries, Caillou has TV shows addressing the topic, and there is a slew of books (Some of the titles are priceless: “I Have Two Homes,” “Nobody Asked Me!,” and “Was It the Chocolate Pudding?”) to reassure children of divorce that they will be okay.
I’m sorry, but when I was a kid (and a kid of divorce, at that), I didn’t want my toys to resemble real life. My Barbies did zany things I dreamed of doing (namely, flying, being mermaids, and riding magic horses). My toys were my time for imagination and impossible feats, not rehashing or dwelling on my realities. But maybe children are more practical these days. After all, haven’t you noticed modern child TV shows tend to be more geared towards explaining real life events and learning-based? Maybe in this world our children just have to grow up a little faster.