16 answers

My Daughter Is a Tomboy

Does anyone out there have a daughter that dresses and acts like a boy? Since about the age of 3 or 4 my daughter has only wanted to shop in the boys dept. She only plays with toys that boys like too. She is a beautiful girl and will begin middle school next year. I want to help her with this transition but feel that she is isolating herself from so many friends. I want her to be happy being who she is I just don't want her to be picked on and ridiculed for being different.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all for your responses. I know it is best just to let her be and know that everything will work out.

Featured Answers

Not to worry. I remember my older sister dressing and acting like a boy until she was 10. Her name is Chris and she had the short bowl hair style popular of the 70's and everyone thought she was a boy. She was thrilled when she was playing ball and other kids thought she was a boy! I do not remember my Mom making a big deal of it. My sister even announced that she wanted to be a boy when she was older.
Then, junior high hit and she had a crush, then another crush.... then she just morphed!
Now, she is happily married and we LAUGH about her being the ultimate Tomboy when she was a kid. She says that the boys just got to do all the cool stuff.
Do not worry.

More Answers

It sounds to me like you want your daughter to be someone she's not, which, can often be more uncomfortable. If your daughter is content with herself why aren't you? Kids are who they are. As parents we want to make it easier for them but we cannot change who they are. She may be isolating herself because she's feeling pressure to be someone she's not. Take a step back and let her find her own way. If being a tomboy is the worst thing about her you are pretty lucky. And, being a teacher, the sad truth is that all kids are ridiculed. Teach her how to use it to make herself strong. She just might surprise you.

I'm 52 and I'm still a tomboy. I do more guy things than any of the guys that I know; construction, mechanics, football, play keys in a band, garden, train my dog and cats. I'm a remodeling addict and I don't need a guy to help me with anything. My Mom wanted me to play with dolls but I didn't want anything to do with them. I only wanted Hot Wheels, toy guns and football gear. I was hoping the same for my Daughter but she's more of a girly girl. I'm still working on her though! She's 24. Annie

She will find her feminine side in her own time, and show it in her own way. I wore boys/mens jeans until I had my son 3 years ago (before I got hips) I hated dresses and skirts and all my my playmates were the neighborhood boys. Things did change in Middle School. She'll find that there are things boys just don't talk about and girls do. My niece who is almost 9 is the biggest tom boy, but last month she decided she wanted her ears pierced, and her 11 year old, girly girl, big sister is too afraid of how much it will hurt. You just never know!! Just let her be comfortable, she'll find herself, with maybe just a little influence from friends.

I think your fears are a little unfounded at this point. I don't really think kids that young really care what they're wearing. I could be wrong though. I was a tomboy when I was growing up. I didn't grow out of it till I was about 10. I still would rather wear pants then a skirt and rarely do my hair or wear makeup. I don't see anything wrong with that. I don't have gender confusion or anything else. I am a happily married woman. I also tend to have more guy friends than girl friends. To help her, you could find the most gender neutral clothes. Try to get her to shop in the girls department, but don't buy all the pink and purple stuff. They make lots of cute girl clothes in brown, blue, and yellow.


Hi, my name is T. and I was (is) a Tomboy my whole life. In fact, I'm in jeans and a mens sweatshirt while I type this at work. Growing up, I played sports with the boys including TACKLE football. I wanted to wear boy clothes and with a name like "T." I was often mistaken for a boy. My mom let me be. As I got older, I still dressed in what I was comfortable in (jeans) and the thought of wearing a dress/skirt was a nightmare for me. Even now I only own about 3 dresses...one being my wedding dress.

In junior high, I "went out with" (dated) boys. In high school, I dated guys - a lot. After high school, I dated men - a lot. Don't take that the wrong way, I was in no way a slut. In fact, a lot of my dating experiences were with guys that were my "buds". I could talk sports with them, watch sports, appreciate cars, motorcycles, etc. I was rarely nervous around guys because I hung out with them so much. They weren't aliens to me. The natural sexual progression sometimes led to a more than friends situation.

I had a lot of female friends and I still do. I can be "girly" with the best of them. I know how to dress up when I need to, I just don't enjoy it every single day.

My advice to you would be to let your daughter be who she is and accept and love her for it. Wishing she was more girly isn't going to make her that way (trust me). My younger sister was/is a Tomboy, too. She's 15 now and about 3 years ago started to want to dress from the girls section, have her ears pierced, etc. When/if she's ready, she'll change.

T. (with an "i") ;)

My 4 1/2 year old was a tomboy until 6 months ago. She went from all pants and dinosaurs to all dresses, shiny shoes, hair bows and ...dinosaurs. I don't think that other kids really notice for a few more years yet. Just let her experiment with lots of stuff and develop her self confidence. I bet when she's a teen ager you won't be able to pry her out of the bathroom. Good luck!

Buying her clothes in the boys department & only playing with boy toys is not a big deal. She will either decide to be more "girly" or not. Sometimes middle school is the catalyst for change. I would just let her be, and see what happens. The more you press the issue with her, the more she will resist.

Hey I got one of those at home now. She starts middle school next year and she is just now turning from being a BRAD to a BREE. Hate to tell you but she will change when she is ready and nothing you can do can change that. When she was in Kindergarden the school even suggested I take her to counciling for gender idenity issues. She was trying to get ppl to call her ZACK. Zack was our neighbor's son who at that time had just come home from the Navy. I did this and it cost me around a thousand dollars for them to tell me she was NORMAL. Imagine that. I had fun rubbing that in the schools nose let me tell you. Mine wore tennies for the christmas play at school this year. Oh and red shirt and black PANTS not a skirt, like the rest of the girls. What I try to do is NOT point out what other girls are wearing. Have you raised her that it is okay to have her own opinion, be herself, independent? Working full time I bet you have, I did. You just about have to anymore when Mom works. Well she is doing exactly what you have raised her to do. Not jumping off the bridge if someone tells her to. She is not following the click of girls at her school and your worried about that? Some of these girls now and days have ways about them that I would not want my adult child doing. Is it honestly so bad she wears boys clothes. She has friends, they might be boys but hey I know some females out there that can really be ruthless. She may not change till she falls in love and wants to be that soft ,gentle , cinderella in the fairy tales type of girl. Men can make us do stupid things like wear dresses, lol. Just accept her like she is and know there will always be some kid out there that will find something wrong with her. Thats just how it is and she will deal with it when that happens. Thats when she will come to you and ask what to do. Just thank the good Lord it is just her clothes that makes her different right now. She'll be fine. She is just on her own agenda right now. I have seen many wealth athletes that have their own style of dress for being a woman. I'd be proud if my daughter would be one of those women. Wouldn't you? Good Luck.

My daughter is in the 6th grade and is a tomboy. It definitely makes a difference in her social life at school! As unfair as it is, kids are mean. Just because she's not "prissy" and she doesn't go get her nails and her hair done. She doesn't wear the "girly" clothes. For this she doesn't have many friends. I've spent many evenings listening to her cry because she says she feels alone. This breaks my heart. She is a wonderful girl, very well behaved. She has a huge heart, but because of first impressions, no one will give her a chance. I have to admit that I wished (and have often pushed her) she would dress more like a girl. She just doesn't like the same things girls like. She's into wrestling and other girls her age aren't. I tell her to love herself and not to change for anyone, but she's noticing that she's different and it's bothering her. It's a very tough situation for both of us!!

My daughter got alot of hand me downs from friends with boys, so the clothes were boyish. As a single mom, I couldn't turn the clothes down. She hung around with more boys than girls, and she definitely was more tom boy than a frilly girl. I was worried about the same thing. My daughter really didn't care what the kids said, and she still doesn't. She is now in 5th grade, and she definitely turned around on her own terms. She dresses frilly, but, not too much. She likes glitter and jewelry, and she wants her ears pierced now, too. I think if you give her the tools to be okay with who she is, and do things very subtly, it will work out on its own. We cannot change who they are, we can only encourage them to be the best of who they are!

I think all girls go through that. Just wait till they hit the goth stage. It will get better. Just hope she doesn't wear the baggy glothes.

My oldest DD (9) is that way. We let her be herself, which means she shops in the boys' section, wears her hair short, plays with action figures, and is frequently mistaken in public for a boy. It doesn't bother her, so it doesn't bother us. She also has a gender neutral name, Dana.

When she was younger, she was teased more by girls about dressing like a boy or liking boy things. She's not teased now. She's a happy kid.

Not to worry. I remember my older sister dressing and acting like a boy until she was 10. Her name is Chris and she had the short bowl hair style popular of the 70's and everyone thought she was a boy. She was thrilled when she was playing ball and other kids thought she was a boy! I do not remember my Mom making a big deal of it. My sister even announced that she wanted to be a boy when she was older.
Then, junior high hit and she had a crush, then another crush.... then she just morphed!
Now, she is happily married and we LAUGH about her being the ultimate Tomboy when she was a kid. She says that the boys just got to do all the cool stuff.
Do not worry.

Well, I'm in middle school and I get picked on for being myself, but one of my friends are in with the cool kids and she is a tomboy and she loves football. She is like a follower (in my oppinion) and she follows the leader like a follower.

Until she shows signs of distress over being picked on and ridiculed for being different, I wouldn't change anything about her. If this is how she feels comfortable and happy, that's most important. If, however, she seems to be getting depressed because she's been taunted or has no friends, then talk to her about changing things. I wore a lot of guy clothes and had as many guy friends and girls in middle school and high school. It wasn't until maybe my Junior year I decided maybe skirts weren't so bad.
I wonder if maybe she has started to develope early and she's trying to hide it to fit in? It's just a thought. Good Luck!

I grew up a tomboy, I never wore dresses in school, to this day never wear make up, never cared about doing my hair and I always played sports. I have to tell you, I grew up just fine, I was always comfortable with myself and the small time I tried to fit and do the whle make up thing, I ws so out of place it was not worth it! Being a tomboy is just part of who some people are, I am now a teacher and I work with some girly girl teachers and it does not bother me, I am who I am and my parents alwys let me make those choices, they always supported me, came to my athletic events and I ended up paying for college through athletics! Let your daughter be who she is, that will make the transition easier and I have to tell you, m y older sister was a girly girl and middle school was hard for her too, middle school is just plain hard socially regardless of waht you wear and how you act! I hope this helped!!

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