4 year old son wants "to be a woman" - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-10-2005, 10:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So this is an interesting phase! My 4 year old son has decided that he wants to be a woman. He talks about it constantly! When he was smaller we always giggled because he seemed to have a strange obsession with beautiful women. He would stop in his tracks with his mouth gaping open and say" mommmy sheeee's beautiful!!!" " look at her hair... she has beautiful hair". Mostly he is attracted to the stereotypical beautiful buxom blonde.... which is funny if you could see us! And my partner is sooooo far from being that type of guy. We always thought it was strange but funny. At around two he kept saying " i wnt to get me a woman like that someday" now that has changed into " I want to be a woman like that someday"
So I am curious, is this somthing that lots of 4 year old boys go through? He still likes boyish things (but we have kept him from regular violent games and toys that lots of boys his age are now playing with).... My instinct is to go with it. He picked out some lovely purple nail polish for himself today! I hadnt been in the makeup isle for years... so he doesnt get the idea from me! Just curious about others experiences?!

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Old 10-10-2005, 11:32 PM
 
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well...Im not sure about normal...but let me put it this way:
My son *just* turned five years old over this past weekend....*ALL* he wanted for his birthday was for me to make him a "boy dress" and a "boy skirt". My DH is having a cow...so is ds's papaw. THey are all worried about him...Im not so worried because I feel like its a normal phase....but if its not than he is who he is and I love him no matter who he is. But it does make for very interesting reactions from less open minded people.
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Old 10-11-2005, 12:59 AM
 
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Interesting. I have no experience with this, but I didn't want to just read your thread and run. It will be interested to see others' responses.

I am a 40 year old unschooling, belly dancing, artist-mama of one almost 8 year old. I just had brain surgery and blogging.jpg about it a bit because it's just so surreal.
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Old 10-11-2005, 01:04 AM
 
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My 6 year old has also in the past expressed wanting long hair like a girl, nail polish like his sister (the one time she had some), and has recently said that he would like to be a woman when he grows up so he can grow a baby in his tummy.

I think these things are perfectly normal and most probably don't say anything about sexual orientation or anything like that. There is a slight chance that it might signal something but I think it's slight.

I had a lesbian friend who told me that she knew she was gay ever since she was very young, 4 or 5, watching Wonder Woman and wanting her bad. LOL.

By the way, my son also does plenty of "boy" things, as I'm sure your son does, too. Good luck.
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Old 10-11-2005, 01:10 AM
 
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"Why can't I be fashion, Mommy? I want to be fashion like Hannah!"

-four year old nephew, oft-quoted by me when I look in my closet!

Mommy to kids

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Old 10-11-2005, 01:28 AM
 
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Sounds kinda normal to me. I mean--really--haven't *you* ever wondered what it was like to be of the opposite sex?

My older dd went through a phase about the same age where she said she wanted to be a boy. She got very upset when i told her she would not grow up and be a man, she'd be a woman. She is a natural athlete and she gravitates to the boys on the playground because they do the same activities she likes to do. OTOH she loves all things princess and pink. You'd be hard pressed to catch her in a dress most of the time, though.
Around the I want to be a boy phase I turned her on to Ani DiFranco. I showed her cool athletic women, rock and roll women, surfer women, snowboarding women. The "I want to be a boy" talk faded away. Maybe not because I showed her she could be a woman/girl and do things we associate with men, I think grew out of it *and* realized it was okay to outrun the boys. Now she loves being a girl. She made a "Girls Rool" flag recently.
I've known many a boy who loved his skirt and to have his nails painted, and was very comfortable with being a boy.

Don't worry about it.
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Old 10-11-2005, 11:18 AM
 
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My nephew loved to dress up in his sister's clothes. I remember it lasted until kindergarten or later because there was some discussion about the other kids teasing him (I don't think they did--I think various family members were worried). I think the boys' dad was NOT happy.

Anyway, he is 9 now and is a pretty basic boy. My guess is that homo-heterosexuality issues don't really become an issue until hormones start working at puberty. My nephew had an older sister and I think he idolized her. He has a pretty good fashion sense, which I would consider to be a plus! (maybe he could help me....).

One of my sons has loved purple forever. He is in first grade now and does not like to wear purple to school. On one of his homework assignments where he had to write his favorite color, he wrote "red", even though his favorite color is still purple. He basically admits that he doesn't like to say he likes purple at school. I let him run with it because he seems to know what he likes, and what he likes to tell his not-so-close friends about himself. I guess there is some value to learning how you want to present yourself in public. But it is a bit sad. Isnt' purple the color of kings? And I think men look great in pink shirts. Ack.
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Old 10-11-2005, 12:41 PM
 
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Yes, I think this is normal. My son was wont to gender bend when he was around that age--he would wear my old headbands and try to tuck his penis under, and nurse his baby gorilla, trucks, anything that was handy.

He is now 7 and still will nurse a crying baby gorilla or other stuffed toy.

To be honest, I was more worried about all of that than my husband was. Sean made the very good point that my son adored me and why wouldn't he identify with me, just as he did his dad?

The other day my girly 5 year old girl wanted to play prince and princess with me. There was a dragon lurking and the princess needed saving. She took her brother's Ikea sword and shield and brandished it about, while I was the fair maiden in distress. She was the prince. Very strong, with a low voice, had very good swordsmanship, she was very gallant and the dragon didn't stand a chance. She has also tried to pee standing up so she could be like her brother. This is my sweet girl who also has told me that my nipples "are great!!" and that she would also like to have breasts like mine so she can nurse too! (She weaned at 4)

My son is allowed to like pink and dinosaurs. My daughter is allowed to like pink and show me how strong she is when she imitates me and throws herself to the ground to do Pilates 100.

Most importantly, I think kids just need to feel good about how they are understanding the world. Trying out these different ways of behaving is all part of that.

I wouldn't be worried. No, that's not true--I would be a little worried and then I would remember all of my husband's good advice.

Crunchy check list:  2 homebirths (one accidental UC!), co-slept, no CIO, cloth diapers, home/un school, raw milk drinker (!) I am a walking cliche!! I even blog and knit...
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Old 10-11-2005, 12:46 PM
 
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I think it's entirely normal to explore the spectrum -- what's familiar and what isn't. Mothers/women are often familiar as the primary caretaker, so there's a phase of wanting to be like them. Men are often not quite as familiar, if they work outside the home, so there's that phase too. Heck, my little sister at age 4 wanted to be a table when she grew up. When my mother told her she needed to be something alive, she decided on the green carebear instead. :LOL
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Old 10-11-2005, 01:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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LOL! Cute stories. I am really not concerned. There was a moment after we put the nailpolish on and his gestures became off the scale flamboyant, as to not mess up the paint! :LOL His dad can seem pretty femminine at times too. At least we are living at this day and age where he can experiment with expressing himself without being ridiculed too much!

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Old 10-11-2005, 02:04 PM
 
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Your OP sounds just like my 4yo DD. She also wants "yellow hair and big nummies"
it seems to bother DH more than it does me. I just tell her that when she's older she can have whatever color hair she wants. I have no problems with it when my girls pick out clothes in the boy's section, I wish it were so easy for boys to express their individualities as well.
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Old 10-11-2005, 11:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marsupial
well...Im not sure about normal...but let me put it this way:
My son *just* turned five years old over this past weekend....*ALL* he wanted for his birthday was for me to make him a "boy dress" and a "boy skirt". My DH is having a cow...so is ds's papaw. THey are all worried about him...Im not so worried because I feel like its a normal phase....but if its not than he is who he is and I love him no matter who he is. But it does make for very interesting reactions from less open minded people.
Off topic:
This might ease your dh and ds's papaw's minds.

Edited to add: not that they need easing. Ergh. So hard to say things correctly. I just think that kilts are , y'know?
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Old 10-12-2005, 02:21 AM
 
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Ds1 went through that as well...it seems to be passing...for better or worse.
Seriously, I hope he doesn't push it all down deep inside...

Anyway, ds (almost 6) still loves his "pretty nails" though he does seem to be dropping more & more of his "girl interests" since school started

BJ
Barney & Ben
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Old 10-12-2005, 02:50 AM
 
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My four year old son, also went through this.....is still a little into it. He always wanted to be the mom, the sister, the girl pirate, etc. in his imaginitive play. Dh was a little squeamish, but chose to go along with it. Ds also went through a year or two where all he wanted to do was pretend to cook....he has more dishes than I do! All of that has balanced out with a healthy dose of knights and dolphin saving pirate play.
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Old 10-12-2005, 11:11 AM
 
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I also think it's normal. My oldest went through it at about 4. He didn't actually say to me he wanted to be a woman but at a cousins house, he got all dressed up in her dress-up clothes and seemed to think he was just the greatest thing since sliced bread. My brother dressed up in my mom's clothes at around 6 and put on shows for us. Have fun with it and tell the men in the family to relax, it's just a phase that will pass!
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Old 10-13-2005, 11:44 PM
 
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hey, I can remember wanting desperitly to know what it felt like to have a penis!

my play pretend with my two boys, 4yo and 16mo. a lot. 4 yo sometimes wants to be the daddy, the mommy, the big brother, the doctor, the heffalump.... i think that role playing is very normal and healthy, and helps to understand their world from different perspectives, and to have a more rounded personallity.

oh, and he also enjoys getting his nails done!
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Old 10-15-2005, 12:08 AM
 
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My kids never did this (...... well the boys never did). But I have seen it in other boys. If you let your kids do what they want, 99.9% of the boys will outgrow it. Girls are different, and lots of girls/women do end up as tomboys. Male to female transexuals are very, very, very, extremely rare.... so dont worry about your boys. Dont worry about the boys, worry about the girls.
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Old 10-15-2005, 12:18 AM
 
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I'm there with you, mama. My DS loves boy things; trucks, trains, dinosaurs but his favorite characters tend to be girls: Pippi, Madeline, Laura Ingalls. He spends LOTS (AND LOTS) of time being them, dressing up like them... going about town being and dressed up like them.

He also has practically no interest in boys whatsoever. He enjoys one neighbor boy, but I think he things of him as family because they've known each other since before they could remember. If we go to the park and he happens to be playing amongst boys, he wants no part of it. He just doesn't want to play with them, period. If its girls however, he gets shy and sullen and on the way home he usually tells me that he "had a crush" on one of them... his crushes are quite adorable I must say and to the point that by the time we get home, he goes looking for anything he can put on to "become" the crush so to speak. Once he knows the girl however, he'll follow her everywhere she goes and try to make conversation and play happily. He's been getting these crushes since he was about 3 1/2 and they've only gotten more intense. He particularly adores girls the 6-8 year old age range, but we did find him following a friend's daughter who is his same age as DS all around the beach one evering during a summer picnic. They were collecting shells together and he was just like a proverbial puppy dog. Too cute.

Oh, and he also has a crush on me. He told me so, this morning.

At any rate, we just go with it. DH and I are both easy going about it, play along. I love that DS is "in touch with" his feminine side. He'll make someone a great husband someday.

The best,
Em

Em 43 - Wife to hubby Mom to DS born: Jan. '01
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Old 10-15-2005, 12:22 AM
 
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P.S. DS is growing his hair long (he wants to have the option of a pony tail ), and currently looks like a girl to most people. When he was 2 1/2, he asked me to cut his hair because people were calling him a girl, now at 4 1/2 he's flattered when people call him a girl because he's usually pretending to be one at the time.

Em 43 - Wife to hubby Mom to DS born: Jan. '01
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Old 10-15-2005, 05:23 AM
 
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BeanBean loves to wear nail polish. Sometimes he'll put on a dress, but I think he does it mostly to get a rise out of daddy, because when Mike stops reacting he takes it off. He's very into being a boy and has never expressed a sincere desire to be a woman (except when I told him that you had to be a woman to get pregnant, that really got on his nerves... :LOL).

That said, I don't think that there's anything abnormal about wanting to explore gender a bit. At age four, I wouldn't be concerned that this was a sign of transgender or anything like that. The chances are good that he's just curious. I'd work extra hard to keep an open mind about the whole thing, though-- many (most?) transgendered individuals will say that they knew from the moment that they became self-aware that they were in the wrong bodies. I saw an interview once with a little boy who was four and a half years old and said to his mother, "When I was in your belly I was a girl. You prayed for a boy and I got boy parts, but I'm supposed to be a GIRL and you were WRONG!" It was really heartbreaking, this little boy was so angry that his parents were always making him wear boy's clothing and cutting his hair, he *knew* that he was supposed to be a girl. So yeah, I'd keep an open mind and maybe do a bit of research (because I do research, that's one of my modes of relaxation :LOL) but I probably wouldn't get too worked up about it at this age. If he's still saying, "I want to be a woman" (or more likely "I'm really a little girl") by the time he's 7, I'd probably look more closely at what it means to be transgendered and see if my kid fit the description, kwim? I'd want to help him/her to be the best-adjusted adult that he could be.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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