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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My son is going to turn 4 in a week. He's always had a very active imagination. Our concern is that he is still pretending that he is a girl characters at times. I recently picked him up from daycare and he was wearing a princess dress and some of the older kids were making fun of him. He does also pretend to be different superheroes such as Thor etc. He also wants to play with princess dolls etc. I'm just not really sure how to handle all of this and my husband is having somewhat of a ruff time with it. He is doing the best he can with it. I love my son no matter what, but it breaks my heart when I hear other kids making fun of him. We did explain to him that some boys don't want to play with girl toys and so when he is with the neighbor boys he plays superheroes and soccer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm not really sure. I haven't talked to them about it because I had to pull him out of daycare a couple days ago due to getting laid off. I'm just afraid I'm pushing my son in directions he doesn't want to be pushed.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by clav View Post

My son is going to turn 4 in a week. He's always had a very active imagination. Our concern is that he is still pretending that he is a girl characters at times. I recently picked him up from daycare and he was wearing a princess dress and some of the older kids were making fun of him. He does also pretend to be different superheroes such as Thor etc. He also wants to play with princess dolls etc. I'm just not really sure how to handle all of this and my husband is having somewhat of a ruff time with it. He is doing the best he can with it. I love my son no matter what, but it breaks my heart when I hear other kids making fun of him. We did explain to him that some boys don't want to play with girl toys and so when he is with the neighbor boys he plays superheroes and soccer.
First, it is normal. Completely. At that age-- kids should be allowed(and want to) explore all sorts of roles regardless of gender. I work at a preschool and ALL kids play in the kitchen, dress up in various clothes (dresses included), play with the toy cars, play with dolls, play with sticks & trains, etc.

Second-- TALK TO THE school. Any sort of teasing should NOT be tolerated. Kid-friendly language should be expressed and tolerance should be a priority.Make-sure that the school is aware of it and has some social cues/language/ etc for all the kids. They may need a refresher.

At our school it is fully expressed that ALL toys are for boys and girls. At the start of the year, we do get some questions from kids. But after a few weeks, it is a non-issue and any 'gender' type exclusive play is not allowed at all. (no girls or only boys get to play with cars or only girls get to play in the kitchen, etc).

Third, talk to your husband. Maybe pull up some developmental skill websites and show him that is is normal and actually healthy. Boys & girls need to explore a variety of roles for emotional/social growth. Would he mind if you had a DD that dressed as superman? or played with cars or was interested in sports only?

Fourth, I would not classify toys as 'boy' or 'girl' toys. That enforces gender stereo-types. You can buy a play kitchen in primary colors for boys, you can get pink golf clubs, etc. I would discuss that a lot of girls like the color pink/purple, etc. Some boys like blue/green but girls/boys can like those colors too. But it IS okay for boys & girls to like that same toys. TOYS ARE FOR KIDS not genders- especially at age 4. Yes, eventually some gender lines less fluid as kids age and develop more specific interests-- but usually not until much later and how adults (and school) approaches the topic can make a big difference in how older kids react. There will always be kids that enjoy toys that are stereotypically geared toward the opposite gender, just like there will always be kids that fit the stereo-typical gender role. But, it is important to remember that there will be plenty of kids in the middle that enjoy a wide variety of toys & role play= it is a pretty big spectrum. Encourage your kids to whatever they are interested in regardless of which gender it is geared to.

It is important for kids that age (and beyond) to see both genders in all sorts of roles. Kids needs to see that there are male chefs, female athletes, male artists & dancers & nurses, female astronauts & scientists & firefighters, Stay at home dads, working moms, -- and all of those roles also in the opposite gender, etc. The younger generation will be raised in a society that is a lot more accepting of either gender in any career role-- I only hope to see that improve with time.
 

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My purple toe nailed 3.5 year old loves to wear his sister's butterfly wings and flutter around the house. He also enjoys ramming his trucks into the walls and constructing train tracks that go all around his bedroom floor. When your that age, there are no boy or girl toys unless people tell you otherwise. They are all simply toys.

I would have definitely talked to the school as soon as I saw the teasing. There is no excuse for that. Perhaps they need to work on keeping the older kids separate from the younger kids if teasing is an issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I know you guys are right but for some reason I'm starting to be really bothered by it. My husband is actually dealing with it better than I. My mom keeps telling me just to let him play and that it is probably just a phase that will pass. I guess I'm confused because it is this sudden intense interest in all girls and girl things. It really came out of the blue. I try to act like I don't think it is any big deal when he is playing a girl, but I find myself asking him a million questions on why he is being the girl and not the boy (which I know I shouldn't do). I really wish I could be as carefree as you guys are with this.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCMichigan View Post

First, it is normal. Completely. At that age-- kids should be allowed(and want to) explore all sorts of roles regardless of gender. I work at a preschool and ALL kids play in the kitchen, dress up in various clothes (dresses included), play with the toy cars, play with dolls, play with sticks & trains, etc.

Second-- TALK TO THE school. Any sort of teasing should NOT be tolerated. Kid-friendly language should be expressed and tolerance should be a priority.Make-sure that the school is aware of it and has some social cues/language/ etc for all the kids. They may need a refresher.

At our school it is fully expressed that ALL toys are for boys and girls. At the start of the year, we do get some questions from kids. But after a few weeks, it is a non-issue and any 'gender' type exclusive play is not allowed at all. (no girls or only boys get to play with cars or only girls get to play in the kitchen, etc).

Third, talk to your husband. Maybe pull up some developmental skill websites and show him that is is normal and actually healthy. Boys & girls need to explore a variety of roles for emotional/social growth. Would he mind if you had a DD that dressed as superman? or played with cars or was interested in sports only?

Fourth, I would not classify toys as 'boy' or 'girl' toys. That enforces gender stereo-types. You can buy a play kitchen in primary colors for boys, you can get pink golf clubs, etc. I would discuss that a lot of girls like the color pink/purple, etc. Some boys like blue/green but girls/boys can like those colors too. But it IS okay for boys & girls to like that same toys. TOYS ARE FOR KIDS not genders- especially at age 4. Yes, eventually some gender lines less fluid as kids age and develop more specific interests-- but usually not until much later and how adults (and school) approaches the topic can make a big difference in how older kids react. There will always be kids that enjoy toys that are stereotypically geared toward the opposite gender, just like there will always be kids that fit the stereo-typical gender role. But, it is important to remember that there will be plenty of kids in the middle that enjoy a wide variety of toys & role play= it is a pretty big spectrum. Encourage your kids to whatever they are interested in regardless of which gender it is geared to.

It is important for kids that age (and beyond) to see both genders in all sorts of roles. Kids needs to see that there are male chefs, female athletes, male artists & dancers & nurses, female astronauts & scientists & firefighters, Stay at home dads, working moms, -- and all of those roles also in the opposite gender, etc. The younger generation will be raised in a society that is a lot more accepting of either gender in any career role-- I only hope to see that improve with time.
Totally this. And don't beat yourself up about being concerned about it. You are protective of your child and don't want him to be hurt by teasing. The best way to protect him is to talk to the school and make sure he is in a supportive environment both there and at home. You can start talking to him in an age-appropriate way about teasing. At that age, my DD would often go outside without a shirt or in her underwear and other kids would say "look, R doesn't have a shirt on!" the main idea being that that was inappropriate behavior for a girl. If my DD said something about what other kids were saying a lighthearted and simple "Gosh, what a silly thing for them to say!" would ease her mind. Nothing too deep at that age. Next time your DS is playing, try not to think about anything other than that moment. Don't think about school or daycare, or society at large, or what he might be like in 10 years. Just enjoy watching him play in total freedom.
 

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I agree it's totally normal. My twin boys loved butterfly wings, littlest pet shop toys, my little pony and Dora when they was 3-5. They didn't do girl dress-up, to my knowledge but they would have if they'd have had such things at school. My boys were never that wild-energy, out-of-control-type boy, they've always been a bit more gentle, so I think the toys were a reflection of their temperaments. But they're 9 now and out in the garage building a go-cart together this very minute, and have very boyish interests. They laugh at their previous interests, but their sister is the lucky one who inherited all their toys.

Not that I care, but I think kinds develop and pursue whatever their true interests are and there's not much you can do about it. I think your son sounds very sweet.
 
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