Modest, Homeschooling Barbie: A True Story {Guest Post}

I don’t know if any other mom has faced this problem, but about a dozen years ago my daughter Maggie, then 5 years old, uttered the dreaded words, “Mom, I want to get a Barbie doll with my birthday money.”

Yep.  You heard me.  The one toy that feminists and traditional moms both hate.  My precious child, who loved her baby doll more than many mothers love their own children, wanted a BARBIE DOLL, the arch nemesis of everything I stood against.  What was I going to do?

Then there was my mother, who kept saying things like, “You know, Susan, if you say no, she’s just going to want it that much more.”  Ack!  Now what?

After some prayer and much discussion with my husband, we came up with the following plan, which I hope will help someone out there facing a similar situation.

We decided that she could indeed buy a Barbie doll, and that I would take her shopping for it.  When we got to the toy store, we made our way straight to the Barbie aisle that I had previously so carefully avoided.

Once there, I began the following sort of conversation.  As we looked at each Barbie doll, we discussed whether or not the outfit she was wearing was appropriate.  We talked about modesty and what Jesus would want us to wear.  We talked about being covered up.  I noted how pretty the long dresses are, especially when compared to tight pants or jeans.

By the end of the day, we had a Barbie we could all live with, and Maggie’s favorite new word was appropriate.

But while we were there, something else really great happened.  Maggie saw the set with “Teacher Barbie” and the two little kids at their two little desks, pointed to it and said, “Oooo!  I want Homeschooling Barbie next!”

Sure enough, the next time she got money for her birthday, she chose that for herself.  Even better, she walked right past the other “career Barbies” and never looked back.

The best thing, though, is that after a few months with each Barbie, she grew bored with them and happily returned to her baby doll, Mary Catherine.  Today Maggie is 17 years old and, while I haven’t seen little Miss Barbie in years, Mary Catherine still sleeps on her Mommy’s bed.

When Maggie heard that I was writing this, she asked in passing, “I had a Barbie?”  Mission accomplished!

In addition to being the wife of 1 and mom of 3, Susan Mathis blogs for and several other sites.

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  1. That is such a sweet story! Our Barbie’s have been mysteriously vanishing from the house, and by mysteriously vanishing I mean I’ve been donating them : ) We keep getting them used from friends, and I still just don’t like them, luckily my girls haven’t taken a shine to them yet. I love the teaching moment that you shared.

    1. Mysteriously vanishing… we’ve had that happen with several different types of toys. 😉
      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  2. Thank you! I love your insight.

    1. Glad you found this helpful, Suanna! Thanks for taking time to comment!

  3. You were able to pack so much goodness into that lesson. What a difference you made having a discussion about what was appropriate. Ultimately, you were both happy with the outcome! Nicely done. I hope your story provides inspiration and courage for moms who just aren’t sure how to handle this request when it comes.

    I am just grateful my daughters were too old for dolls by the time the Brat dolls came out. Yuck.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Kim–I thought Susan did an excellent job with her daughter’s request for a Barbie doll! (And you are so right about the Brat dolls, too!)

  4. Priceless! Although my daughter did have Barbies, I made all of their clothes, keeping things tasteful and modest. Thankfully, my daughter ditched her Barbie dolls before the new Monster High and Brats dolls hit the market. Those dolls are just disturbing.

    1. How wonderful that you were able to make clothes for your daughter’s Barbie doll! I remember my mom doing that for my sister and me. 🙂
      And I totally agree about the new Brats and Monster High dolls, too!

  5. I didn’t want my girls to get barbies either, and was very excited to find the “Only Hearts Club” dolls. Similar size GIRLS, not ladies, and come with little brothers or sisters if you like. Plus, most modest barbie clothes can fit them, so the barbie clothes aren’t wasted 🙂 Once my girls got them, they think they are much better than barbies because they are fully posable and can ride horses or hold their little siblings in their arms…

    1. Doreen, thanks so much for sharing about the “Only Hearts Club” dolls. I’ll be checking them out–they sound like a wonderful alternative to Barbie dolls!

  6. Dusty @To the Moon and Back says:

    My daughter loves Barbies, and we’ve had very similar conversations. Great job teaching her while she’s young! 🙂

    1. I thought Susan did an excellent job of guiding her daughter through this situation. Glad to hear that something similar is working for your daughter, as well!

  7. Great post! My daughter will be 5 around Christmas. Right now she LOVES baby dolls. So far, I’ve just told her Barbies are gross whenever we walk by them at the store. 🙂 But you’ve given me some great tips for if and when she asks for one. Thanks!

    1. I’m glad Susan’s story was helpful for you, Lynda. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. DaLynn McCoy says:

    What an awesome story! Fantastic methodology, and it’s great to read a story about methods employed and then results yielded.

    Very cute stuff there, and good job Mom!!

  9. Jacqueline @ says:

    Oh, Wow!
    I love this post so much!! Yes, Mission accomplished! You must have not been dogmatic and were instead modeling modesty in your attitude 🙂 May I ask you to consider regularly adding your wonderful posts on the ‘EOA’ Wednesday link-ups each week? It would indeed be a blessing and an encouragment to many.

  10. Congratulations & nice job of using an everyday situation in a toy store as a teaching moment & siding with Christ & not the world.