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When Transformers Come To Stay- What to Do About Unacceptable Toys!

Posted Aug 24 2008 10:44pm

Look what we got!

My son received Transformers as a birthday present!

Isn’t this just great?!

As you can see by the scenario he created, my son is not real hip on exactly what these little guys do. But, he knows a few of their names and now a few more since he requested I read the names of the other characters helpfully shown on the back of the package…right under the words.. “collect them all!”

He knows there is a movie, which he MAY NOT SEE, called Transformers. He knows the other kids run around the playground at school pretending to be these guys. But, this is, I believe the first time he has actually seen or held one. (One of the benefits of a long ago fight with the cable company is no commercial television to reinforce purchasing these types of toys.)

But…now what?

And so I search the web for answers and find this:

Having standards about acceptable and unacceptable toys poses a dilemma. What do we do about presents that violate those standards?

First, we must determine if the present violates a conviction or a preference. We might prefer toys that aren't battery operated, but is this a conviction? We may prefer toys made of wood rather than plastic, but is this a conviction? Just because we would never select the toy ourselves, are we unwilling to allow our child to play with the toy? Is there something inherently harmful with playing with a silly plastic noisemaker?

What if the toy violates one of our convictions? What if the gift has already been given?

Thinking about this a little, I decide, these particular toys do not violate my convictions…so far. It does perhaps embarrass me a bit since I RANT ABOUT TRANSFORMERS on this blog ( here and here and here .) But, that’s not the same as violating my convictions!

What exactly is my problem with Transformers?

Now, I have to answer that question instead of safely ranting in the blogsphere…darn!


1. I think the characters with guns and scary looking stuff are images that are too violent for preschoolers and should not be marketed to them.

2. I think the movie Transformers should have been edited to receive a “G” rating – If you are going to license toys for toddlers for a movie…the movie should be one parents would want their children to see.

3. I think that character toys with an extensive back story that center around violently attacking each other leave little to the imagination.

4. I really dislike plastic toys made in China . They break, they may contain harmful chemicals…I rant about them a lot.

Do any of these things really count as conviction?

My son is 6, no longer in preschool. My son has never actually been to a movie theatre and we carefully monitor videos. He doesn’t know the back story. The ones we received don't have scary looking weapons just scary looking claws. We certainly have other toys around made in China . (Those annoy me too!)

After careful consideration, I decide to let our Transformers visit, for awhile at least. Hopefully he will tire of them without reinforcing TV commercials and friends with entire collections. Hopefully, they’ll break – they are made in China , right? Hopefully I can sneak them away when he tires of them.

In the meantime he sleeps with them on his nightstand….any suggestions?

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