Is it really so awful I told my DS he could grow up to be a mommy? - Page 4 - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-07-2007, 03:02 PM
 
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I haven't read the other posts.

I would have just said that he can be a DADDY and hold his babies all day long if he wants to, as he is probably scared that being a Daddy = being away, it doesn't need to be that way, and I would have assured him of THAT. Daddy's can be nurturing and hands-on and loving, etc.... I'm not saying that your husband isn't those things, but he sees what he sees as a three yearold.

He actually can't be a mommy as he knows a mommy to be, so I would never say that to a boy, but, that doesn't mean that you can't be gentle and understand what it's like to be three years old. I think your Mom might have went a little overboard by calling it a "lie" - but I also don't equate it to Santa.... Santa isn't part of the development of the self, whereas Mommies and Daddies is.

I don't think telling him that he can be a Daddy but not a Mommy is putting your child into a gendered box, it's reality.... and that's okay. You can make sure that reality isn't harsh and scary without talking nonsense.
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Old 03-07-2007, 03:05 PM
 
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OMG it is not nonsense. It is reality that a boy can grow up and be a mommy. Several posters on this thread know mommies that used to be little boys !

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Old 03-07-2007, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Trinitty View Post
I haven't read the other posts.

I would have just said that he can be a DADDY and hold his babies all day long if he wants to, as he is probably scared that being a Daddy = being away, it doesn't need to be that way, and I would have assured him of THAT. Daddy's can be nurturing and hands-on and loving, etc.... I'm not saying that your husband isn't those things, but he sees what he sees as a three yearold.

He actually can't be a mommy as he knows a mommy to be, so I would never say that to a boy, but, that doesn't mean that you can't be gentle and understand what it's like to be three years old. I think your Mom might have went a little overboard by calling it a "lie" - but I also don't equate it to Santa.... Santa isn't part of the development of the self, whereas Mommies and Daddies is.

I don't think telling him that he can be a Daddy but not a Mommy is putting your child into a gendered box, it's reality.... and that's okay. You can make sure that reality isn't harsh and scary without talking nonsense.
There are several problems with this logic. First, the OP's little boy said that he wants to be a Mommy not because he wants to give birth but because he knows mommies to be nurturing, soft, caring and around. In his viewpoint, daddies are missing for a good chunk of time. -Assuming that he misses Daddy, it is reasonable to think that he doesn't want to be a Daddy because he doesn't want his kids to miss him. The OP can't just say "daddies can be around all the time too and you must be a daddy, not a mommy" and expect the 3 year old to say, "I understand mother, you are obviously correct". Little kids are very literal and need concrete examples. Telling a child of that age won't be helpful, the child needs to be shown an example of a daddy who stays at home. Especially when it is something that is troubling. In general, I don't have a problem with just explaining something to kids but it seems that this little one is trying to work out some feelings and he should be allowed to do it.

My other issue, others have pointed out, is mommies do not have to give birth to be a mom. And last, it seems like the people who are saying, of course he can't be a mommy are doing so because they feel uncomfortable with a boy being called a mommy. This is because of gender roles. Maybe mommy should be redefined to be primary caregiver. Then the little boy could grow up to be a mommy and everyone is happy.
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Old 03-07-2007, 04:45 PM
 
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Are references to gender not allowed on MDC?? Is the title of the magazine this site is based on offensive because it is gender-specific?? Is it really "out there" for me to say that men are daddies and women are mommies?? I think not.

Sure, people who are born male or female can grow up to choose gender re-assignment. It happens. But that is so very rare that I can't really see the point of even factoring that into a discussion with a three year old little boy who obviously is close to his Mommy and might equate Daddy with "not being at home" or "not being there."

Thus, I said the OP could assure him that Daddies can be very close and nuturing and home and great and wonderful. I hope that fathering can be seen as just as nuturing and important as mothering.

Megan - I just saw your point of him being three and needing an example, very good point. Perhaps the OP has a friend who is a Dad and stays home? Maybe she could crash a playdate for stay at home Dads to show her son a real example? It sounds like it could be delicate though, one wouldn't want to make the boy feel worse that his Dad isn't around a lot, and one wouldn't want to make the Dad AND Mom feel worse about it.... but an example could help.

It's not crushing a three year old boy's imagination to tell him that he can be a wonderful Daddy.
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Old 03-07-2007, 05:06 PM
 
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No, I think it's "out there" to insist that a three year-old should be corrected when he says he wants to grow up and be a mommy, for various reasons that (to him) have really very little to do with gender in the physical sense.
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Old 03-07-2007, 05:10 PM
 
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Again, no one is saying fathers can't be as nurturing as mothers.

So what if being transgendered is rare? It happens. There is nothing wrong with having a discussion about it, even with a 3 year old. Hell, it is more common than becoming president, but I don't think anyone here would ever tell their kid they couldn't be president because it is so rare.

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Old 03-07-2007, 05:24 PM
 
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So, "correcting" a three year old by saying that he could be a Daddy but not a Mommy is pointless and potentially confusing..... but explaining transgenderedness to a three year old is age-appropriate and would be understood?

I disagree.

Again, I don't think it's the end of the world to just let it slide with a little boy saying he wants to be a Mommy by not saying anything at all, but out-right *telling* him that he could be a Mommy is (except in the most extreme situations) incorrect and I think that could be confusing, and that's why I said what I would have done in in this situation.

Little kids are learning the basics when they are that age, and it's okay to be gentle and straight forward. It really sounds to me like he misses his Dad being around and needs to see that men and fathers can be primary care givers.


Edited to add: Yes, there is a difference between someone who is transgendered and someone who is President of the United States.

Someone who is transgendered just IS. You can't strive for it or try for it, you just are or you aren't and you would find out eventually, but it would be inevitable and still very rare.

Technically, EVERY American-born citizen has the CHANCE to become President by striving for it. Rare, yes, but it is something that can be attained, thus, it usually enters the "what I want to be when I grow up" discussions.
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Old 03-07-2007, 05:30 PM
 
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You did nothing wrong, I think you provided a wonderful, loving and kind answer, just the kind of answer I would want my sons to give when they are grown up.

My four year old says all the time, "When I grow up and I'm a Mommy..." then sometimes he'll say, "When I grow up and I'm a Daddy...". He really has no understanding of gender roles - he even "nurses" his dolls even though he does seem to understand that Daddy doesn't have "real" nursies.

I don't correct him when he talks about growing up and being a Mommy and I would be angry if someone did. Your mother is totally out of line.

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Old 03-07-2007, 05:31 PM
 
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So, "correcting" a three year old by saying that he could be a Daddy but not a Mommy is pointless and potentially confusing..... but explaining transgenderedness to a three year old is age-appropriate and would be understood?
Well considering my trhee year old understands transgenderedness at her level, yeah I do think it can be appropriate and understood.

Telling a child that he can be a daddy, but not a mommy is simply a lie, and not one I am willing to tell my child.

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Old 03-07-2007, 05:35 PM
 
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While you are at it, explain quantum mechanics to him. You wouldn't want him to be not aware of the complexity of the universe. You might scar him.
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Old 03-07-2007, 05:54 PM
 
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The word "mommy" is just that. It's a word. He can be a mommy a daddy a squirrel, a rabbit... My five year old son wants to be a ballerina. It's all words. Did I tell him that ballerina is a girl ballet dancer? Did I explain that he can't be a girl dancer? I don't really care. He can be anything he so desires. And so can your son. And, quite frankly, at age three, he has no concept of the adult meaning of the word "mommy." To him, a "mommy" is someone who stays in one place, a safe, secure person. He wants to be someone who doesn't leave home.

That's the impression I'm getting from the OP.
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Old 03-07-2007, 06:01 PM
 
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The word "mommy" is just that. It's a word. He can be a mommy a daddy a squirrel, a rabbit... My five year old son wants to be a ballerina. It's all words. Did I tell him that ballerina is a girl ballet dancer? Did I explain that he can't be a girl dancer? I don't really care. He can be anything he so desires. And so can your son. And, quite frankly, at age three, he has no concept of the adult meaning of the word "mommy." To him, a "mommy" is someone who stays in one place, a safe, secure person. He wants to be someone who doesn't leave home.

That's the impression I'm getting from the OP.
I agree!

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Old 03-07-2007, 06:22 PM
 
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Its amazing how this issue has taken such a turn. I do not think that it is beyond a three year to understand gender-I think we under estimate kids when we think they do not know the differences between boys and girls (they just may not know the extent of these differences). So is telling him that he can being a loving, caring father as well really a bad thing? I feel at times we get caught up in the "wonder of childhood', that all reality is just tossed out the window. At what age do we let our kids in on the secret of "the real world".
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Old 03-07-2007, 06:26 PM
 
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I might have missed a post, but I haven't seen anyone say that is bad to tell him that he could be a wonderful daddy.

If it were me, I would explain how he could be a daddy and do everything mommies do or he could be a mommy.

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Old 03-07-2007, 06:26 PM
 
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I personally don't want my kids to have to be bogged down by "realities of the real World" any sooner then they absolutely need to, what's wrong with letting them be a kid with all the wonders of imagination that goes along with it?

Just yesterday morning my DS came to me picking the sesame seeds off his bagel and asked if we could go plant a bagel tree. At first I explained that bagels really don't grow on trees but then he came back with, "Well let's just plant them and see what happens." What a fabulous way to approach the World! I'm not about to crush his dream of a bagel tree with a bunch of reality. I might even plant a tree in the spring and put some mini bagels on it as suggested by a friend.

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Old 03-07-2007, 06:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by GoodWillHunter View Post
The word "mommy" is just that. It's a word. He can be a mommy a daddy a squirrel, a rabbit... My five year old son wants to be a ballerina. It's all words. Did I tell him that ballerina is a girl ballet dancer? Did I explain that he can't be a girl dancer? I don't really care. He can be anything he so desires. And so can your son. And, quite frankly, at age three, he has no concept of the adult meaning of the word "mommy." To him, a "mommy" is someone who stays in one place, a safe, secure person. He wants to be someone who doesn't leave home.

That's the impression I'm getting from the OP.
ITA!

He's three, he's expressing a feeling, and your mom is out of line. I think that you did the right thing. And, ya know, he didn't say that he wanted to be a woman (and there would nothing wrong with it if he had) -- he said that he wanted to be a mommy.

If he were older, say pre-teen or so, and still wanted to be a mom or a woman, then I would have the talk about transgender. At three, that's not what he's trying to express. Little ones have so few words at their disposal, that IMO it's unfair of adults to try to push our perspectives on them based on their choice of words.

Give your cutie a hug and keep an eye on your mom.

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Old 03-07-2007, 06:30 PM
 
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I personally don't want my kids to have to be bogged down by "realities of the real World" any sooner then they absolutely need to, what's wrong with letting them be a kid with all the wonders of imagination that goes along with it?

Just yesterday morning my DS came to me picking the sesame seeds off his bagel and asked if we could go plant a bagel tree. At first I explained that bagels really don't grow on trees but then he came back with, "Well let's just plant them and see what happens." What a fabulous way to approach the World! I'm not about to crush his dream of a bagel tree with a bunch of reality. I might even plant a tree in the spring and put some mini bagels on it as suggested by a friend.

That's priceless! And what a wonderful perspective on life!

Amanda and Dh, ds 09/00, ds 08/03, ds 10/05, and ds 05/08, and 3 :
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Old 03-07-2007, 06:33 PM
 
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This has been a very lively discussion I think the OP's question has been adequately addressed thanks to all of you that cared enough to put in your 2cents.
This thread is now closed, but will remain on the board so it can be referenced.

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