4 yo boy loves everything "girly" - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 33 Old 01-23-2014, 06:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My sweet gentle almost 4 yo son loves everything "girly".  He loves princesses and fairies (but also trucks and tractors), wears his favourite pyjamas (a pink nightgown) every night (crisis if it is in the laundry!), no longer wants me to cut his hair b/c he wants it long for pigtails, and more and more asks to wear skirts and dresses (he has a 6-yo sister, so there are lots of 'girly' clothes available!).  He is always playing pretend, and regularly pretends to be a girl, asking us to call him "Lily.'  He very much wanted to wear a dress and a flower in his hair to church on Christmas Eve, so we let him.  Both my husband and I are quite comfortable with it, we believe if there is any problem, it's with society's gender expectations, not with our little sweetheart. We have always told our three children, "There are no rules for girls and boys in this family."  It may be just a phase he is going through, maybe he will always prefer more feminine things, or maybe there is something deeper starting.  We're just going with the flow and letting him work out who he wants to be.  BUT of course this is not as easy as it sounds in public or even with our extended families.  I have already asked my father not to say anything to him about wearing a nightgown, and ever so gently defended him to my husband's grandmother when she told him a boy couldn't be a princess. Does anyone else have a child who crosses gender lines?  Any advice on how to handle negative reactions from others?  


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#2 of 33 Old 01-23-2014, 06:26 PM
 
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I think you're doing the right thing! I have a 3 year old son who wears "girly" dora shoes, likes his hair long and happily plays princesses. I honestly don't feel like it is an "issue". Our children are THEMSELVES and that's all. I LOVE how you say "There are no rules fo girls and boys in this family." Funny you mention your sons pink nightgown. We were given a big bag of handmedowns and there was a pink my little mermaid pajama set in there- he immediately stripped down and put it on, absolutely in love with it (he had never seen the movie..just loves princesses and pink!) it was a size too small, so it's been passed on to another family but he wore it for awhile.

 

I don't feel my son has any gender confusion- he knows he is a boy, he understands that boys have penises and girls don't but THINGS do not have a gender. I will support my son in bring his true self however that looks and defend him to the last! 

 

I will be interested in hearing how others reply regarding dealing with negative comments/reactions from others. In our culture now more than ever things are gears ONLY toward boys or ONLY toward girls which I think is unhealthy. Children are children and any human should be free to wear or enjoy whatever they like. We had issues with my family telling my boys (now six and three) early on that they shouldn't like girls, they shouldn't play with girl toys, etc but I nipped it in the bud immediately. I know some of the extended family still talk about us but I just don't allow them in my life! My mom was jumped on board- my son is insanely in love with Dora the Explorer. He says she is his best friend. My mom made him a dora cake for his birthday and he almost had a heart attack :-D

 

It sounds like you have a sweet little guy there and I'm happy to see you are supporting him being his true self!

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#3 of 33 Old 01-23-2014, 06:51 PM
 
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Both of my older boys went through a phase where they liked pink and girly stuff. But they never dressed as girls or pretended to be girls. Maybe I'm the odd mom, but honestly I would not allow that any way. Same for my daughter. They can like whatever they want to like, play with whatever, but dress up.. I would not be comfortable with that, just sayin...

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#4 of 33 Old 01-23-2014, 07:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 3LilChunklins View Post

Both of my older boys went through a phase where they liked pink and girly stuff. But they never dressed as girls or pretended to be girls. Maybe I'm the odd mom, but honestly I would not allow that any way. Same for my daughter. They can like whatever they want to like, play with whatever, but dress up.. I would not be comfortable with that, just sayin...

 

What would you have done if they insisted on it? You say they can like whatever they life, but not dress up like a girl.. what if they felt uncomfortable NOT dressing as a girl? Are you uncomfortable with it because people would talk or because you couldn't accept a non-gender typical child? Just wondering.. I hear this response a lot actually, that's OK for a boy to play with a barbie but "no boy of mine is going to wear a dress"

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#5 of 33 Old 01-23-2014, 07:19 PM
 
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If they insisted then oh well. If they insist on a having a pet pony that doesn't mean that they're going to get their way. Children are just that, children. They need guidance and direction from their parents. If I and my DH do not guide my sons on how to become men, who will? It is my job to raise children who can transition easily into adulthood. Honestly what man can go to a reasonable job in a dress?
IDK about you, but I would be disgusted to find my DH dressed up in my clothes. So, would you be able to marry a man, that wore dresses?
Kids don't stay kids long. This is when they are forming and learning. They will be grown before you know it and all their lessons from childhood hopefully stuck.
I honestly do not believe that its wrong to teach and guide your children.
I also *know* I'm not that odd because I've NEVER ever, not even once seen a cross dressing child. So go ahead and gang up on me if you must. It always turns into this...

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#6 of 33 Old 01-24-2014, 06:33 AM
 
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Ruthie, I don't have any personal experience with kids of my own yet, but as someone with lots of non-gender-conforming and trans friends and loved ones, I just wanted to say that I think you guys are taking just the right tack with your son. The lesson you have a chance to teach your child right now is that who he is, his feelings and his view of himself, are respected and important. Oh, and that you love him unconditionally and will stand up for him always. Those lessons will last a lifetime, whether this is just a phase (which it often is), or something more.

I would guess that I live in a quite different social context than 3lil, for sure (a very liberal town in a very liberal state), but in my UU church (my main exposure to kids your son's age, and another layer of liberal), we have two little boys that I know of in the 3-5 age range (both with older sisters that they look up to) that regularly wear dresses/other "girly" clothing to church. Both are treated like every other child in our congregation, with love and respect.

For the record, I don't think there's a thing wrong with a man who wears dresses, or a woman who was born a man who wears dresses, or overalls, or anything she darn well pleases. And, if your son ends up in either of those categories, he's going to find lots of people in the world who love and accept him as he is.

I think the reality is, when it comes to things like gender identity or gender expression, no amount of "guidance" is going to stop your child from feeling the way that they feel. Being told it's wrong, or not allowed, is just going to mean they learn to hide who they are from you, and believe what they want and need is wrong, and internalize self-hatred. You can't shelter them from a society that's going to tell them that they "aren't doing it right," but you can have their back 100%. And it will matter....
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#7 of 33 Old 01-24-2014, 06:59 AM
 
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I think people will think it's weird, but they will get over it.  It's good to get this out of his system with the people who love him, before entering school and being questioned by kids who don't know him yet.  (he will probably have other interests by then)  So, learning the hard way from his loved ones is going to bring him along gently.  

 

The most common thing I notice, and this tends to make the family mad is people will assume he's a girl.  On more than one occasion, I have met a child who crossed gender lines, and I'll say "he" or "she" because I think the child is a boy or a girl.  If I can't tell, I'll say nothing.  But, I get annoyed with the parents who get angry at ME, when I was saying something nice to the child, but mistakenly said "he" or "she".  

 

We had a neighbor kid who was all boy...the stereotypical rough boy.  But, his name was Adrian, and he had waist length beautiful black hair that any woman would be jealous of.  He had long beautiful eye lashes and he was just pretty.  (In the 90s, unisex clothes were common)  But, his mom would get really obnoxious about reprimanding anyone who suggested He was a girl.  I always hated that....it's not the fault of the other kid or their parent that they can't tell the difference, so just politely correct them.  

 

I think you are handling it all wonderfully.  He will feel safe to be whoever he wants, and he can freely explore at home with you.   I was very much a tomboy, and preferred comfortable clothes as a child, which meant boy's clothes.  Girls clothes were not meant for playing rough.  So, for many years people thought I was a boy.  Even in junior high, in the winter, people still thought I was a boy because I would only wear sweatshirts instead of sweaters.   It didn't bother me at all.   My feelings were never hurt by other people's comments.  My Mom was more bothered by it than I was.  I can't remember a single incident that hurt my feelings.  

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#8 of 33 Old 01-24-2014, 07:03 AM
 
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Ruthie, I've met a lot of little boys who wear dresses.  I've met men who freelly admit to having enjoyed wearing dresses as kids.  I've watched bands of little boys in dresses playing war games.  I've watched big burly men throwing around telephone poles while wearing kilts.  I've also met grown men who could barely take care of themselves because they were so tightly wound up about "being manly" and not doing anything that might be construed as "girly".  My opinion is that what your son is doing is normal and healthy, and that he'll be a happier healthier person throughout his life because he has parents who accept him instead of trying to mold him into their idea of who he should be based on his genitals.

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#9 of 33 Old 01-24-2014, 07:34 AM
 
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When my son was 2.5 maybe 3 years old his hair was starting to get long. He was starting to get called a girl occasionally by the grandfolks crowd. I didn't know how much to correct the "shes". I wanted to defend my son and not offend the mistaker. I also wanted to sweep it under the rug. Well that didn't always work. Anyway. I think I over corrected once and these folks were so ashamed to call a child by the wrong gender they really must have thought they just damaged the child.
So days latter we're shopping and cart by this shirt and my son expresses interest. So we stop and look at it. It's stripped with black, green, purple, and pink, lines. I tell him I'm willing to buy it for him but folks are more likely to call him a girl. He says "I don't care. I won't even correct them." Blew this mamma away. Of course I bought it for him. But such serious social understanding for such a little one. My son is 6 now has even longer hair still loves all the colors and I leave the correcting to him. Sometimes he does. Sometimes he doesn't. And no we don't live in a liberal town.
You're doing great Ruthie!
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#10 of 33 Old 01-25-2014, 05:34 PM
 
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My son went through this when he was 4 years old and I supported him. He is now almost 9, healthy, adjusted, very happy, confident. He knows he is loved and supported. He looks just like a normal boy. He is interested in boy things (legos) and seems to respect girls/women. I try to talk about gender issues that come up in our context frequently with him.

 

I let him wear whatever he wanted. He cried for a tutu dress in a store and I bought it for him. He insisted I buy him a princess set with high heels, wand, tiara, etc. He insisted I buy him princess dolls. I did all of this. 

 

He wore the tutu the first day of preschool. Everyone thought he was a girl. He would tell everyone that his favorite colors were pink and purple. I never reacted, just supported. I asked his preschool teachers not to laugh or say anything about the fact that his favorite color was pink (favorite color seems to come up a lot at that age).

 

His dad (we are not together) felt incredibly threatened. He accused me of brainwashing our son and was not supportive of what our son wanted. One day when our son was wearing his pink top with ruffles and a butterfly on it and was due at his dad's house, I said to son, "Dadda has a hard time understanding your shirt. Do you want to change your clothes?" My son said, "I WANT people to understand!!!"

 

A family member who has a PhD in psychology was so concerned that she pulled me aside and told me that I was setting my son up for gender confusion. I trusted my process of providing unconditional love and support instead. It strikes me that oppression and suppression of exploration could indeed create problems.

 

He grew out of it by the time he was 5 I think. Just an anecdote for you.

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#11 of 33 Old 01-25-2014, 06:03 PM
 
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That's a beautiful story Emma. Thanks for sharing.
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#12 of 33 Old 01-26-2014, 02:48 AM
 
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My son will be four in May and he is very gender neutral I would say. He loves playing with "boy" and "girl" toys and if we had more girly clothing that fits him (his sister is only 15 months), he would totally wear it. He loves his Strawberry Shortcake books. He also loves diggers and will only wear pants that are "worker" pants and says things already like, "that's only for boys". (His idea) I do think that your son is a little more into traditional girly things than probably the average 4 yr old boy but I love that you and your husband support him unconditionally! I know my sons dad would be much more uncomfortable than me and would put up a stink about pigtails but while it would be a bit tiring dealing with family and the general public and their opinions, I like to think I would take your approach. It sounds like if he did feel like he was questioning his true gender, he could speak to you when he was old enough to understand that. Lucky kids you have:)
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#13 of 33 Old 01-27-2014, 12:08 PM
 
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My son was a lot like this when he was 3-4.  He's been outgrowing it slowly.  He just turned 9 and still has long hair (like Daddy!) but now chooses "boyish" clothes purposely because he prefers that his peers recognize him as a boy and don't question him a whole lot.

 

His preschool classmates often asked him questions like, "Why are you wearing girls' shoes?" and a teacher taught him a good response: "It might be mostly girls who would like these shoes, but this pair is mine, so they are boy's shoes." :thumb

 

We frequently encountered strangers (for example, on public transit) who would refer to him as "she"; it still happens once in a while, actually just yesterday: "Oh, her hair is so beautiful! [to his shorter friend who was with us] And your hair is very cute too!  Are you two sisters?"  His friend just said no, and we moved on, laughing about the people who think so strongly that long curly hair means a girl that they don't notice his gray coat, black church pants, and navy blue boots....  Anyway, when he was younger and much more dressing "like a girl", he wanted me to correct anyone who used the wrong terms.  I told him I would not do that unless I thought it was important; if he wanted people to know, he could tell them himself.  Although we argued about this quite a bit, in the long run I think it showed him that the sex of a person does not matter all that much in casual public interactions.

 

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 I also *know* I'm not that odd because I've NEVER ever, not even once seen a cross dressing child.

headscratch.gif How would you know?  If you are in the supermarket and see a child with shoulder-length curls wearing a pink T-shirt, purple pleated skirt, and glittery shoes with ankle straps, do you assume that is a girl, or do you consider that it might be a boy?  Personally, I assume it is a girl, but because I do not know for sure, I would not claim that I have never seen a boy dressed this way.  It is a LOT harder to tell the sex of a child by non-genital body parts, voice, etc., than to tell the sex of an adult.


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#14 of 33 Old 02-10-2014, 07:39 AM
 
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I highly recommend the blog "raising my rainbow" www.raisingmyrainbow.com to anyone and everyone. A kindergarten teacher cousin of mine sent me the link back when my son was very gender-non-conforming, and that mom's stories helped give me the language and strength I needed to deal with the very small-minded people in our very small rural town.

For my son, the hair and the skirts were just a phase- though I think he would have kept the hair if I hadn't eventually told him he would have to start brushing it himself. And he still loves pink- who wouldn't? It's a bright happy color in an otherwise dreary "boy" palette of greys and black and navy blue. KIDS WANT COLOR! All kids, not just girls!

 

And now? My daughter (two years younger than my son)  told me a couple weeks ago that she wanted to be a boy, and would I please cut her hair and call her my son? I asked her why, and she responded that boys get to do all the fun things, like climb trees and build things and play football. I don't know where this came from, since I am the ultimate tomboy myself, and my daughter has been doing these things since she could walk. So my husband and I showed her all the female role models we could find that did those things (there are quite a few if you bother to look). She did get the haircut, and she is no longer asking to be called a boy, she is happy being a girl with short hair who climbs and plays football.

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#15 of 33 Old 02-18-2014, 08:11 PM
 
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My 4-year-old loves dresses and skirts. He also likes bows and nail polish. And motorcycles and blocks and Legos and cars and pants and shorts. He likes skateboards and bikes and balls and snakes. And unicorns and princesses and fairies too. I don't think it has anything definitively to do with gender identity or sexual orientation. He just has some current preferences that may or may not "stick."

He has his own tastes and he's pretty adamant about what he likes or doesn't like. I generally let him make his own choices although I may guide him from time to time. For example, he's free to wear anything he wants at home during playtime but he must wear pajamas at bedtime. And he must wear shoes outside. And sweaters or jackets if it's cold. And some clothes are appropriate for preschool whereas others are not.
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#16 of 33 Old 02-21-2014, 09:03 AM
 
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Originally Posted by 3LilChunklins View Post

If I and my DH do not guide my sons on how to become men, who will?

 I would be disgusted to find my DH dressed up in my clothes. So, would you be able to marry a man, that wore dresses?

I also *know* I'm not that odd because I've NEVER ever, not even once seen a cross dressing child. So go ahead and gang up on me if you must. It always turns into this...

 

This attitude is extremely damaging to boys.

 

 

 

 

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#17 of 33 Old 02-21-2014, 09:28 AM
 
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This attitude is extremely damaging to boys.





. In your opinion. What if my kid only wanted to eat jelly beans and McDonalds? Is that not damaging? Now I might be the bad guy in my kids mind when I refuse to allow him to make this unhealthy choice and offer guidance to healthy choices. But ultimately I have done my job as his mother. This is essentially the same concept in my mind. If children are making choices without their parents guidance that is what is more damaging IMO

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#18 of 33 Old 02-21-2014, 09:50 AM
 
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. In your opinion. What if my kid only wanted to eat jelly beans and McDonalds? Is that not damaging? Now I might be the bad guy in my kids mind when I refuse to allow him to make this unhealthy choice and offer guidance to healthy choices. But ultimately I have done my job as his mother. This is essentially the same concept in my mind. If children are making choices without their parents guidance that is what is more damaging IMO

 

This isn't a very good analogy (bolding mine).  If I made a list of foods that will best help my children have healthy bodies, jelly beans and McDonalds probably wouldn't be on it.  However, in my list of lessons, guiding principles, and characteristics that will best help my children become good people, what they wear isn't anywhere close to being part of it (this applies to both my son and daughter).  That my three year old son likes to dress up in fairy clothes will have no bearing on the man he will become.

 

 

OP: I wouldn't worry about your son or what others think. 

 

EnviroBecca: I LOVE your son's preschool teacher's response.  She sounds like a gem.

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#19 of 33 Old 02-21-2014, 10:38 AM
 
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If my kid ONLY wanted to eat jelly beans and McDonald's, yes, I would steer him away and insist that he eat some healthy foods as well--just as I have insisted that he routinely wear the clothes he has, which are boys' and unisex clothes in my opinion, instead of toss them all aside and wear nothing but glitter tutus and high-heeled plastic shoes.

 

But I am happy to let my kid eat a few jelly beans or a fast-food meal once in a while, to see what they're like and to have direct experience of their effects, just like I let him go out in public wearing a skirt sometimes and experience how that changed the way people treated him.  The "girls' shoes" he wore daily for a while in preschool were purple and had ankle straps, but they also had good grippy soles for rock-climbing; I would not have bought them for a child of either sex if they hadn't.

 

I have offered guidance about his choices, both in gender-typed clothing and in food, but I sometimes allow him to make an INFORMED choice about what he will eat or wear.

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#20 of 33 Old 02-21-2014, 10:52 AM
 
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P.J., that video addresses a very important topic, but I don't see anything in there about clothing choices.  Related to the overall social construct of masculinity, I want to make sure you're aware of Boys Advocacy & Mentoring, which I think is a really great program.


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#21 of 33 Old 02-21-2014, 11:56 AM
 
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This isn't a very good analogy (bolding mine).  If I made a list of foods that will best help my children have healthy bodies, jelly beans and McDonalds probably wouldn't be on it.  However, in my list of lessons, guiding principles, and characteristics that will best help my children become good people, what they wear isn't anywhere close to being part of it (this applies to both my son and daughter).  That my three year old son likes to dress up in fairy clothes will have no bearing on the man he will become.


OP: I wouldn't worry about your son or what others think. 

EnviroBecca: I LOVE your son's preschool teacher's response.  She sounds like a gem.
That's *exactly* why I chose those two particular foods. You obviously didn't get my analogy because you proved my point perfectly by trying to disprove me. Thank you wink1.gif
Anyways, I wish threads like these would specify *support only* if that's what they are seeking. Instead of leaving it open ended for all input, but only wanting support. Which is fine! Just warn people that you don't really want an opposing view point. K unsubbing *again*

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#22 of 33 Old 02-21-2014, 01:03 PM
 
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No, I would have to agree with 3LilChunks on this one. Children will be children and love to explore everything around them, but as a parent, it's our job to guide our children to what's right and what's wrong. Just because a child wants something and we don't give it to them, doesn't mean it will be damaging to them. Sure, you may have little boys that prefer the color pink, and like to play with girl toys more than boy toys, but dressing them in dresses and high heels is setting them up for confusion later on. I may be the only one here with this perspective, but as a Christian I feel as though gender roles are already defined, and not something that can be chosen. Not saying that little girls can't play in the mud, or little boys can't play house, (some of my favorite childhood memories were made playing outside and getting dirty! :) but it's important to show them certain things pertaining to their gender are not acceptable. I think it's wonderful to foster the character your son is becoming (I've met a couple boys like this and they always seem to be more caring and gentle) :) But I think dressing up like a girl is crossing the line a bit.

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#23 of 33 Old 02-21-2014, 01:20 PM
 
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That's *exactly* why I chose those two particular foods. You obviously didn't get my analogy because you proved my point perfectly by trying to disprove me. Thank you wink1.gif
Anyways, I wish threads like these would specify *support only* if that's what they are seeking. Instead of leaving it open ended for all input, but only wanting support. Which is fine! Just warn people that you don't really want an opposing view point. K unsubbing *again*

3LilChunklins, I don't think crayfishgirl misunderstood your analogy. She says that she doesn't consider her son dressing in fairy clothes to be an unhealthy choice, so the comparison to junk food doesn't make sense. In contrast, you clearly consider an adult who has a healthy body because they weren't permissively allowed to eat whatever they wanted as a child to be equivalent to an adult who has been molded to adhere absolutely to society's strictest gender roles through being taught as a child that it's not okay to express who they are. Truly, I don't disagree with you that it's our job to mold our children--I think I just fundamentally disagree with you about what I'm going to be trying to mold my child towards. (Oh, and how disgusting a man wearing a dress is/isn't.)

Also, gotta say, I'm not sure what part of RuthieJ's questions "Does anyone else have a child who crosses gender lines? Any advice on how to handle negative reactions from others?" after making it clear that she and her DH were completely fine with their son's current gender presentation suggested that she wasn't looking for support. It sure sounds like a request for support to me. I mean, she didn't title the thread, "My 4 year old refuses to behave like a real man, what would you do to fix him?" or "What do you think about the changes in gender roles in modern society? Worst thing since the varicella vaccine?"

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#24 of 33 Old 02-21-2014, 09:15 PM
 
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After reading through this thread, I would have to say my own 4.5 year old boy crosses gender lines. I've just never thought of it that way. It isn't an issue for us. He is running around these days with hot pink nails and toes, fresh glitter strands in his long hair that the sitter put in the other day because he loves them so much. He frequently dresses up in dresses at the house. Loves tutus. Pink is his favorite color. Ballet is his favorite activity, he actually takes two classes a week and adores it. He was heart broken when the costumes came in a couple weeks ago and all the girls got beautiful purple tutus and he got a purple shirt to wear. Perhaps it has never crossed my mind before because I had two DDs before the first boy entered our house. We frequently have half the neighborhood teens/tweens over doing their hair, makeup, nails. DS1 just joins in willingly. If I didn't have 5 girls running around my house daily and DS1 was begging for his nails to be done, it probably would of crossed my mind previously about him "crossing gender lines" but this is just our life. 

 

DS1 is on the spectrum. He doesn't see girls and boys, he just sees kids. He plays equally with everyone at school. Girls often adore him because he isn't a "rough and tumble boy". The last school birthday party we were invited to, I turned around and looked at the table of children lined up eating cake and suddenly realized that it was entire table of girls and then sweet little DS1! He was the only boy the birthday girl had chosen to invite out of the class of 22 kids. He was clueless and had a fantastic time. He wouldn't of cared had he even known he was the only boy. 

 

I've known many gender crossing children, of both sexes. Almost always was it just a phase they grew out of. 

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#25 of 33 Old 02-21-2014, 09:59 PM
 
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I love my gender crossing adult friends. So if it isn't a phase that's fine with me.
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#26 of 33 Old 02-21-2014, 11:40 PM
 
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I've been thinking about this a lot lately.  My DS1 will be 4yo next week.  He asked his great grandma fora pair of pink galoshes with white daisies on them for his birthday, and asked his papa and I for a rainbow tutu.  He's got longish hair and is frequently being mistaken for a girl.  I am getting a surprising amount of support from our community, which frankly took me aback a little.  We moved to Idaho just over a year ago, and while I appreciate that people are willing to accept his/our non-conforming ways, in New Mexico it was a non-issue.  He is starting to notice that where we live now his choices are different than many boys his age because of the attention he gets mostly from other mothers ("Wow!  I REALLY like your boots.  You are SO cool for choosing pink boots!").  I never really thought much about his gender until we moved here and he clearly doesn't fit in with the boys (who are very aggressive and coarse).  I am really glad that he isn't experiencing negative judgements, but why are adults judging kids at all?  That just teaches children to do the same, perpetuating the same old stigmas and paradigms.

 

When people mistakenly call DS1 (or DS2, who is only 5mos, for that matter) a girl I don't correct them.  If DS1 feels the need he is welcome to, and has on occasion.  I worry that boys might infer that there is something WRONG with being a girl if I correct them and the 'offender' becomes overly apologetic.  I try not to over think it though, because he doesn't, you know?  He just is who he is right now, and likes what he likes.  I'd be pissed/hurt/upset/angry if someone told me that what I liked, or worse, what I was (!) was wrong.  I assume the same for him.  I like it when someone compliments my style, but not because it's ME enjoying a certain style.  I assume it's the same for him.  "Nice boots!" would be fine, it doesn't have to be "What a great thing for a boy to wear pink!  Way to go!"

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#27 of 33 Old 02-26-2014, 02:56 PM
 
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Both of my sons went through a stage at age 2-6ish where they loved dresses, pink and purple, had painted nails, etc. It's not that they preferred "feminine" things, they just had an open mind. And like someone else said, boy clothes are so drab! I'm surprised more little boys don't refuse to wear them. I let them wear whatever they wanted and they moved on to the stage where clothes don't mean anything to them, unless they're uncomfortable. My youngest son (now 11) does have long, beautiful curls, and is sometimes mistaken for a girl. He rarely corrects people, and doesn't seem to care.

 

My daughters have both wanted buzz cuts at around 6 or 7. Neither of them wanted to take care of their hair, and they didn't really know that to most people, hair is a very important aspect of being a girl! My oldest wanted to grow hers out when she found that people would think she was a boy. My youngest had her feelings hurt by other kids teasing her about looking like a boy, but we worked out that she would make a joke about it by saying, "Why thank you! I look very handsome today!" and march around looking silly. Short hair really brought out her delicate features anyway, so she also got lots of compliments.

 

In a world where "girl" can be used as an insult, I feel a responsibility to instill in my kids, the idea that feminine is good enough for everyone. People say that gender roles are considered equal but separate, but I don't believe that. People don't like to say it in polite company, but when they restrict boys from dressing "like girls", they are worried that he will debase himself, and humiliate his family, by lowering himself to acting feminine. As a woman and a human, I call b**sh*t on that belief.


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#28 of 33 Old 05-25-2014, 08:36 AM
 
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We are at that point with the ds. I just let it go and support him. No one stressed when I was a kid and was a total tomboy. The upside is that he and my dd are getting along great.
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#29 of 33 Old 05-25-2014, 12:48 PM
 
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P.J., that video addresses a very important topic, but I don't see anything in there about clothing choices.  Related to the overall social construct of masculinity, I want to make sure you're aware of Boys Advocacy & Mentoring, which I think is a really great program.


That sounds great! Thanks

 

Whether or not the film addresses clothing choices, it is the same theme: categorizing behavior as masculine or feminine and shaming children who don't fit the stereotype, and the dangers of those ideas. To my view, shaming a boy who wants to dress in "girly" clothes fits into that.


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#30 of 33 Old 05-26-2014, 04:43 AM
 
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Recently I took my kids to a family restaurant, and they had special kids cups that you get to take home and reuse.  My 6yo son specifically asked the waitress for a pink cup, and at the time, it totally went over my head that there was anything wrong with that.  The waitress looked at me questioningly, and I thought it was just that she didn't realize that I let my kids order for themselves.  The waitress said they were out of pink cups, but she could bring an orange one.  Anyway, later she did come back with the pink cup saying she found one in the back. 

 

Much later on, I realized this was a gender issue, and I felt a tiny bit angry.  Just a little bit, the way people need to press stereotypical gender attributes on to children.  I see it from my son's perspective, that he wants a particular thing, and might experience truly unfair denial.  And this thing he wants, the pink cup, is not an unreasonable request, it's not loads of candy or an expensive vacation or something unhealthy for him.  He could have the blue cup, or orange, or any other color, but to deny pink IS sexist.  It is in the same ballpark as a little girl going to a toy store and attempting to buy a GI Joe for herself and the cashier refusing to make the sale. 

 

He loves his pink cup by the way.  He was just drinking water from it yesterday after the first time I let him ride his bike around the block alone (again, and again, and again, and again....) 


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