Bears, tigers, unicorns. These wild, ferocious, and extraordinary creatures can be found inhabiting almost every single child’s room. How? They’re not real.
The idea of stuffed animals has been around since the times of the Ancient Egyptians. While their sentiment has changed over the years, “stuffies” still remain a primary component of many people’s childhoods. The ongoing debate is when children should end their obsession with stuffed animals.
Overall, there are two major points of view about whether or not to keep stuffed animals around. Some people argue that high school students should completely abandon stuffies. Not only do they make young adults look immature, it is a sign of regression. Sigmund Freud, possibly the most famous psychologist of all time, explained regression as a common defense mechanism in which people begin to act like children to avoid anxiety-producing issues in their life.
“[S]tuffed animals are great for young children, but at some point you actually need to grow up and throw them out. I got rid of all of mine a long time ago because it makes me look childish. Now that I’m in high school, I’m trying to prove that I’m mature,” said Josh Bellue, sophomore at Leesville.
It is not uncommon for teens to be made fun by peers of for retaining childhood habits, like keeping stuffies around. Students may feel embarrassment and shame for owning toys once they approach an older age.
The counterargument is that every individual should make their own decision about when, and potentially if, to abandon stuffed animals. People also argue that toys may hold sentimental value, whether they are gifts from significant others or artifacts from good times during their childhood.
A teddy bear from a grandmother that passed away or a security blanket from birth has more personal significance than critics realize.
“I have a stuffed cat that reminds me of my own cat…I bring her everywhere when I can’t be home and it reassures me and relieves my anxiety a lot,” said Rachel Fearn, a Leesville sophomore.
Psychologists conducting studies commonly argue that sleeping with stuffed animals is actually perfectly normal and healthy. Meaningful toys are great at reducing stress and anxiety, similar to having a pet.
Of course, others may contradict this information with rationales of immaturity and naiveté. People that are more comfortable in their own skin and experience less stress in their lives generally don’t rely on stuffed animals for comfort.
While the debate may never end, stuffed animals continue to thrive throughout every generation. Their value is strong enough to build a lifetime bond for people, especially when it is reinforced by peers and family.