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Do You Use Your Dolls as Replacement Children?

Apr 9, 2012

    1. This question is for people who do not have children of their own.

      I Do not have children and the possibility of me having them is very unlikely. I see my dolls as my "kids". I was wondering if anyone else does this too?

      Does it give you something you were lacking not having children?

      Would you pay as much attention to your dolls if you suddenly had kids?

      Do your dolls make you feel better or worse about not have kids of your own.

      I personally don't mind being childless, but sometimes I feel like I wish I had even just one. My dolls make me feel better and worse at the same time. They give me something to "Mother" (I don't like animals so much and adoption is not an option) but it makes me wonder what my children, if I had any, would really be like, look like, ect.

      I just wondered what other people like me feel about Dolls as Substitute Kids. Do you think it's wrong?

      I saw a documentary a few years back on people who had those hand made baby dolls that looked just like new borns. I remember thinking, "wow, that lady is crazy" and now I find myself doing almost the same thing. Granted I dont go out into public with my dolls in a stroller and let people think they are alive, but still.

      How far is too far?

      Do you think it's healthy or a sign someone's "not all there"?
    2. You might remember that all of the shoulds and shouldn'ts of a culture are not blanket rules. They often come about because the main culture doesn't understand or doesn't approve of fantasy and magic. And yet, truly, the world is wide open when it comes to believing whatever a person wants.

      Children cuddle dolls and teddy bears. Does anyone stop them? No. Do children believe they are alive? Probably they do believe they are alive in a fantasy way. They project something of themselves into their teddies and dolls because they provide comfort. Dolls and teddies don't talk back, criticize, or otherwise act negatively.

      In the same way, a doll or teddy is often a comfort and a delight to an adult. I dress my dolls to my own taste in clothes and wigs. I've noticed that some of the clothes I buy my dolls are similar to clothes I buy for myself. The wigs are the same colors and styles I'd like to wear. So some of my projections are on my dolls and I cherish them in a way that I cherish myself.

      I know there's a line separating fantasy and delusion and my logical mind is clear about that. However I've seen the twinkle in a dolls eyes when she gets a particularly nice outfit. The world is alive and how a person chooses to see it is their own personal business. Please feel free to be as fanciful as you want to be.

      "It is astonishing, really, how many thoroughly mature, well-adjusted grown-ups harbor a teddy bear--which is perhaps why they are thoroughly mature and well-adjusted. ~Joseph Lempa~"

    3. Dolls are fun to dress up and play with, but I certainly don't see them as replacement children. For me, dolls are nothing more than a play thing. The are not animate objects with needs and demands.

      My personal opinion on the subject is that equating dolls as a good substitute for children is the same as equating pictures of food as a good substitute a meal when your starving. It's not going to satisfy you if you have a real longing for offspring. It will, on the other hand, be enough if your longing is actually a whim or daydream. It may also offer temporary relief, but it will not be permanent.
    4. There's already a whole bunch of threads about this kind of thing, I think.
      Personally I don't see my dolls as substitute children. I don't see them as substitute anything- they're dolls, they're a creative outlet for me, they're fun things to look at, write about and play with. I don't like children, for the most part, and don't want any of my own. My dolls are all creepy, and mostly murderous or deviant in some way. If they were children, they'd be very messed-up ones!
    5. Unless I can have children can be forgotten in a closet for weeks and only taken out to play dress up and that you can sell as soon as you're tired of them, then no, my dolls are not substitute for children.

      I heard about those super realistic baby dolls too. and honestly they creep me out. I don't understand why someone would want to own something that look like a stuffed baby!
      it literally look like it's the real thing, but it's dead and preserved. and some people take them in arms and carry them like they are real living babies. and most of the time it's to cope for something like the death of their own baby!
      I think a therapy would do those people much better than holding on to an inanimate object to forget the pain....
    6. I don't have any kids, but I couldn't possibly see dolls or anything else as any kind of substitute. I call my cat "my baby" all the time, but I don't mean it literally. She's an awesome cat, but still a cat.

      But, you know, whatever works for you~!
    7. Nope. My dolls are dolls. I have no need for replacement children, I have cats and I have ten nieces and nephews. If I want to play with a kid, I can easily do so. My dolls exist for my enjoyment and creativity, and they are a fun way to spend that money I would have to spend otherwise if I did have flesh and blood kids. I like it better this way. :lol:

      Plus, no one will call child protective services if I don't pay any attention to my dolls for days/weeks at a time.
    8. I think there is nothing wrong with treating your dolls as substitute children if that's what floats your boat, and if you really feel you missed out on something by not having them then I would say "don't give up hope".

      I have never had even the slightest urge to have children and at 48 I very much doubt I will have any now! I don't have any regrets. I have never wanted to be a mother and considering the amount of prejudice I faced when I was younger from just about everyone who realised I was serious (so many people felt the need to voice their opinions on the matter of my "freakishness") it would be ironic if I now started to treat inanimate objects as surrogate children.

      I have pets and get pretty irked when people refer to me as their "mummy" or say that I have a cat or a dog as a child substitute. Take the most PC person and they will tip toe round the subjects of sexuality, race or religion but mention that as a woman you don't want children and you might as well have said: "I want to eat children and sacrifice them on my altar to the devil". Which I find really, really hypocritical.

      I am rather sick and tired of the armchair psychologists and their pronouncements (often rather loftily to my face as though they are trying to "cure" me of this delusion that I don't want children) that I only like Chihuahuas because they are tiny and dependant because I secretly want a child... yawn!!! I have 2 nephews who I am very close to and countless good relationships with the children of friends and that's as much contact with small people as I want thank you. So, all of my dolls are adults, at least that's how I see them. I only buy SD's and tend to make the faces look more mature than a lot of face-up artists do. For me they are clothes horses and outlets for my dressing up fantasies. Surrogate children, NO WAY!
    9. I kind of do, to an extent. I call my dolls "my kids", especially my first two, Amir and Loki. Of course, I know they aren't REALLY living children, and the characters are actually mature adult characters (ok, Loki's not THAT mature...>.> ) but both of them are "too old" to actually BE my kids.

      But I DO understand the "mothering" or "nurturing" thing. I do talk to them, cuddle them, buy them things, have bedrooms set up for them, etc.

      What one does with their dolls is their business. I don't think it really "goes too far" unless the person seriously cannot differentiate between a real living child and a doll. Some owners see their dolls as art for display only, some as collectibles, others as playthings, others as "kids". There really isn't a wrong way to enjoy your doll.

      as for feeling bad about being childless? NEVER. I, personally, am childless because I absolutely cannot stand real children. I do not have the patience for them or have any desire to have any. So I guess the dolls give me an outlet for what teeny bit of motherly instinct I might have, but without the frustration of listening to crying, changing diapers, dealing with sick kids, discipline, etc. It's nice to be able to shut the door to the doll room for a few hours and go do what -I- want. Or fawn over and "spoil" one doll and ignore the others for awhile with no repercussions. :)
    10. I am child free. I try to keep my life as child free as possible, with the exception being the children of close friends and an extremely small number of some of the children in my family. I really don't like kids and have never liked kids, nor have I ever wanted one of my own. Perhaps if some fantasy world existed where I could have one arrive at my door, fully grown, without me ever having had to carry it, birth it, raise it, nurture it, or provide for it. And even then, it would still need to meet criteria I set forth before I would be willing to have a relationship with it.

      My dolls are dolls and aren't substitutes for anything. Pretty things to look at and fun things to collect clothing and accessories for.

      If you feel dolls fill some void in your life, that's cool for you. Just don't project those same feelings onto other doll collectors. As a 31 year old woman, I get enough flack as it is for choosing to not breed, and I really don't want it from other doll owners or for that stereotype to be held against me.
    11. I DO want children and my husband does too. I love them and I work with children constantly. I prefer them to adults any day of the week. It's just difficult for us to have them on my end of things. ^^;

      My dolls are not substitute children, though two look like they could be. My real skin and light brown BIDs are the caramel and mocha latte shades children of ours would have, and the dolls look a little like us in some ways. All unintentional. It's both endearing and unnerving to be honest. XD

      ~Does it give you something you were lacking not having children?

      Not really. Dolls are just captive audience. XD They can't complain about the clothing, hair, shoe choices you make and you'll never have the possibility of a sassy mouth to correct. :p

      ~Would you pay as much attention to your dolls if you suddenly had kids?

      If I suddenly had kids I'm not sure that the attention I pay to my dolls would change. They don't actually get much attention. I'm not a particularly handsy collector and most of mine are sitting prettily on a box beside my bed. They only get handled if I feel like changing an outfit, taking a pic, or taking them somewhere. They'd probably stay as they are for the year immediately following the child's birth and then be boxed until the child was older. My attention would be given to the real, living being that needs me.

      ~Do your dolls make you feel better or worse about not have kids of your own?

      The only time I feel the teensiest bit wistful is if I find a particular doll accessory or something that I would absolutely love to have for a real kid, after I arrange the hair a certain way, or I wonder if a child of mine would share my love of dolls. -shrug- It passes and is no matter. It's a far easier feeling to deal with than having a child slip and call me mom.
    12. Kinda. I can't have kids, can't afford to have a kid, would have to sell all my dolls to afford the adoption fee of one. I don't want to adopt though. I want my own. Call me selfish, but I AM adopted. I know no one blood related to me so why couldn't I want that? But I do leave the dolls alone for a long period without doing a thing with them. I see babies and all and want it, but then they get older and annoying. It varies with me.

      But always dreamed of having kids. I never was officially told I couldn't, but I did look up when told I have cysts on my overies and it said I'd have a hard time. And now that I'm almost 37,that's never going to happen. It's why most of my characters have kids. So I've given up that dream.

      I do baby the little dolls however.
    13. I can see where dolls can be a substitute for a child/baby. Yes they are just dolls, and you can ignore them and all that, but that could be some of their appeal. You have a 'child' when you want it, and when your to busy or don't have time, your not neglecting a real thing. I thought about adopting when I was younger, but now I feel to old and to tired to keep up with a child. So I can understand the whole substitution thing. You get a lot of joy from the dolls that is easy to compair to the assumed amount of joy you would get from a child, but without the downfall of having an actual child.

      I think the line would be when you treat the doll just as you would a child, and expect others to give it the same treatment (as if it were a human child).

      (Note: My dolls are just dolls.)
    14. Ohhh god this old chestnut again. Here, this is the last time the armchair psychologists took a swing at the giant pinata of this topic : Clicky for thread.

      I'll cover my feelings on this with the simple statement that if it makes you happy to think of them that way, that's great for you, perhaps it fills a gap you feel and that's all you need.

      It is also worth noting, however, that you will meet a certain level of resistance to the idea of people generalising all doll owners along those lines. Those of us who are of a certain age and childless catch enough of this ridiculous and often immediate assumption elsewhere to be willing to put up with it within our hobby too and I'll be honest and say that it irritates the crap out of me when that's the immediate go to thought of people when they learn I don't have kids or pets.

      Personally, Kim pretty much wrote it out for me up there:
    15. Do You Use Your Dolls as Replacement Children?

    16. I am very fond of and rather emotionally invested in my dolls (they are sources of pride as art projects and occasional stress buffers), but I don't really think of them as "child replacements." To an extent, dolls do fill a void - they eat money and time and I enjoy them, but the attachment I have to my dolls isn't the same as what I know I would feel for a child.

      At the same time, I am aware of a kind of underlying push to organize my collection as a little "family." My 1/3 girl is the "caretaker" for my flock of tinies and I have plans to obtain a 1/3 male doll to form a (somewhat) conventional family unit. I just turned 29 and don't have children or even a boyfriend. It doesn't mean I don't want those things, but I haven't actively pursued them either (I focused on school, and now my career, to the exclusion of courting).

      The other issue I have with any of my current collection in the role of pseudo-kid is that none of them tweak the part of my brain that says "ooh, a baby." Even the tinies, who have child proportions and who I characterize as being children, are really too small. If I ever got all motherly on a BJD, it would probably be something like a Lusion doll.

      I think the cut-off is, as a few other have said, expecting others to treat your doll as though it really were your child. A few of my former co-workers used to refer to my dolls as being "my kids" but it was jokingly manner, because I talked about my dolls as often as they did their real kids. (One of them razzed me about being a "bad mother" because I left all my dolls at home, to which I replied that I owned a larger doll who "baby-sits.")
    17. Since I got my first doll in 2002 and didn't have an actual child until 2010, I feel like I can still post in the thread since I remember how I felt about my dolls pre teh toddler.

      Do you see your dolls as substitute children

      I never saw my dolls as substitute children. They're dolls. I always wanted to have various types of dolls when I grew up and I like my dolls, but they just don't give anything back to you. Now, if someone wants to argue whether at times I saw my cats as substitute children...

      Now that I have an actual child, it's not even close.

      Does it give you something you were lacking not having children?

      No, my dolls were always dolls.

      Would you pay as much attention to your dolls if you suddenly had kids?

      I thought having a child wouldn't change how much time I spent with my dolls but I was wrong. I spend even less time because with a child you just have a lot less time. It's now a treat to get to read DoA and getting to spend time responding to people. It also has made me rethink my collection and what I want to own.

      Having children and mothering a doll is really only so much like having a real child, even having a pet is only so much like having an actual child.

      Kids are an emotional drain ( As well as emotional reward, nothing beats seeing your child smile at you.) in a way that a doll can never be.
    18. Does it give you something you were lacking not having children?

      Probably. I have never wanted to have children, though.

      Would you pay as much attention to your dolls if you suddenly had kids?

      Absolutely. I hate babies. I'm not too fond of small children or teenagers, either. Any kids I "suddenly had" would be stepchildren and would be cared for by either their biological parent or a nanny, and absolutely not by me in any way.

      Do your dolls make you feel better or worse about not have kids of your own.

      See previous answer...
    19. I actually found myself thinking this the other day. I was trying hard to convince my husband (this was a couple months ago) that spending $500 or more on a doll (a BJD I wanted and now currently own :) ) is okay. And when he was casually mentioning it to his mom (how I wanted a doll), she said that before he was born, she owned several very expensive porcelain dolls and didn't see anything wrong with it. She said that I may want the doll because I want a child. (Me and my husband have been married 2 years, I'm 25 and he is 27).

      My answer to that (I wasn't there when they had the conversation) was no. I didn't want the doll because I didn't have a kid. And there are days when I want a kid and a lot of days when I don't haha. (Me and my husband have decided to wait until we were ready).

      In ways, I do see my two girl BJDs (and one other on her way :) ) as my children. I like to dress them up and take pictures of them and care for them. I sometimes find myself having "motherly" emotions about them. But I don't think that it is weird for that to happen, or that it is weird if someone does see them as their children..to an extent. (As long as they really don't believe it's their children and that they talk haha).

      I do enjoy coming up with ideas about their personalities and their "back stories." So, yeah. My answer is a yes and a no? lol I love my dolls so much!! xD And even if I did have kids, I do not think I would abandon my dolls. I would just place them much higher on the shelves haha.
    20. *looks over at Cherry*

      ...what do you mean, "replacement" children? :D

      Seriously, I have never had children, except of the four-footed and furred variety. The fact that I imagine Cherry calling me "Mama" is an aspect of her personality, rather than a substitute for the real thing. Still, if I had a daughter, I would kind of want her to be a bit like Cherry--looking at the world with eyes wide open, tough enough to take a few hard knocks, and able to stand on her own two feet without leaning on anything or anyone.