We know that when parents show an active interest in their kids' lives, they are more likely to feel secure and self-confident. One way to empower a child in this way is so simple: Play with them!
It's the power of play that Mattel, Inc's Barbie campaign, "You Can Be Anything" is focusing on with its "Dads Who Play Barbie" messaging. The campaign (originally launched in 2015) has focused on how Barbie is still relevant today—the era of women marching by the millions to showcase their power. Today, Barbie invites dads and their daughters to play together with the classic toys as a way to build their invaluable relationship, which no doubt has a lasting impact on girls for life.
The adorable "Dads Who Play Barbie" spots feature six real dads and their little girls getting silly with different play scenarios that remind me of how my husband interacts with our three daughters. You just have to put your pride on a shelf and go for it, funny voices and all. Because when kids see parents really invested in their imaginary world, the impact in their real world is huge.
Indeed, playing together has lasting effects far beyond that moment of getting down on the carpet and playing Barbie. The scenarios dads act out with their daughters—in which Barbie is an archaeologist, or a teacher, or a firefighter—are fun but they also send girls the message that they can be anything. They can do anything. Just as there are no limits to what dads and daughters can imagine for Barbie, there is no limit what girls can become. And that's pretty exhilarating if you ask me!
Psychologist Linda Nielsen, Ed.D., a professor of educational and adolescent psychology at Wake Forest University who has written about the research on father-daughter relationships for more than 25 years, told Parents.com she's a fan of the message Barbie is putting out there for young girls and their fathers. "When daughters have communicative, supportive, nurturing relationships with their dads from early childhood on, they are more self-reliant, more self-confident, more successful academically and financially, more willing to attempt challenging tasks, and have better relationships with the men in their adolescent and adult lives," she said. "I am impressed by the work the Barbie team has done in creating commercials that provide such a creative avenue for dads and daughters to enhance their relationships."
Join the conversation online by using the hashtag #DadsWhoPlayBarbie.
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Find her on Facebook where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of coffee.