17 answers

My Five Year Old Daughter Wants to Dress like a Boy

Hello!

My daughter wants to dress like a boy ALL the time. I can get her to dress like a girl once in awhile for church, parties, etc. At times she can become hysterical. She thinks she looks cool in her boy stuff and ugly in her girl stuff. I have spoken with a psychologist and it seemstha it is just a phase. I don't know if I should force her to wear clothes of my choice more often? Any comments are appreciated.

C.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I want to thank everyone for there input. Iamtaking a bit of advice from all of you! I will keep you posted on my progress. Tahnk you again.

Featured Answers

I think you should just let her wear what she wants. I believe children should be able to express themselves and I think it is just a phase.

Hi, my daughter is seven now and likes to wear her younger brother's clothes. My in-laws buy her clothes from the boys dept now. She went through a phase a few years ago where she would wear dresses every day. She doesn't like girl clothes because they are too tight or too short, but there are a few girl things she will wear and we have certain occasions where we tell her to dress like a girl. I hope she just carries on like this when she is a teenager, so I know I won't have to worry about her wearing anything revealing. She also won't wear a two piece bathing suit or anything sleeveless. It's a battle I choose not to fight with her. Jen

More Answers

Hi C.,

I'm a 47 year old mom! My daughter is 9(almost 10) - was adopted from China at 20 months old and it has been somewhat of a battle getting her to dress like a girl.

She is allowed to wear jeans on Fridays - which gives her the opportunity to dress (what I refer to) like a boy... She too, will dress like a girl for church, parties, etc.

She did tell me just recently that she was going to dress more like a girly, girl. With my daughter, I suspect that a lot of her boyish dressing is do to the fact that she knows that boys are more valued (in China) than little girls.

It probably is a phase, but not all girls go through it. I wouldn't worry too much.

M.

P.S.

I have 6 children total. 3 adopted/3 biological. Our oldest is almost 27 (male)and our youngest is almost 6(male)! In between their is a 26 (female), a 24 year old (female - who gave us our firt grandchild- 6 months) and a 22 year old (male).

No! Let her find out for her self. She will figure it out as time gos by..
Faye S.

Well, what can I say to you. I was one of those litle tomboys too. I remember dreaming that one day I would grow up to be a boy. I played with boys and couldnt play sports with the girls because I was too rough. I was the best little boxer you ever laid your eyes on. Not to mention at the age of 15 I was clocked throwing a baseball at 75 miles an hour. At 16 I fell in love with a boy named Rob. Guess what we married and have a family now. I even wore a wedding gown when we got married. I am ultra feminine. Once your daughter realizes that she will not become a boy no matter what. She will get in touch with her feminine side. Put aside of your fears. But do insist that she dress like a lady on certain occasions. Maybe try to let her pick out her own outfit on those occassions, as long as they are lady-like. Good luck

I think you should just let her wear what she wants. I believe children should be able to express themselves and I think it is just a phase.

Hi C.,

Speaking as a former tomboy, I think letting her dress as a boy is fine, as hard as it may seem. My poor mom let me do as I pleased during this phase, I even had a short haircut. I played sports and wanted to do what the boys did. I was the only girl in the minor league baseball team and the 1st girl ever (in the city I lived) to make it on the All-Stars. On special occasions I had to dress up like a girl but for the most part, I looked like a boy. By the time I was 9 or 10 though, I wanted to be a girl again. Wear make-up, dress in nice clothes, etc. Most girls grow out of this phase :) At one time, I was even embarrassed of my tomboy pics but I out grew that phase as well. Good Luck, T.

I agree with the others; it's just not worth the battle. And I'm sure that her vehemence is only temporary. I'd try not to make a big deal out of it. As long as her outfits are weather appropriate, let it go.

Hi, my daughter is seven now and likes to wear her younger brother's clothes. My in-laws buy her clothes from the boys dept now. She went through a phase a few years ago where she would wear dresses every day. She doesn't like girl clothes because they are too tight or too short, but there are a few girl things she will wear and we have certain occasions where we tell her to dress like a girl. I hope she just carries on like this when she is a teenager, so I know I won't have to worry about her wearing anything revealing. She also won't wear a two piece bathing suit or anything sleeveless. It's a battle I choose not to fight with her. Jen

My mother, who mostly wears flannel and jeans, was totally amazed that as a child I insisted on growing my hair long and wearing dresses with poofy sleeves ONLY. She's jokingly commented that she even questioned if I had been switched at birth. For the longest time that's what I wore, dresses as long as I could get them with the poofiest sleeves I could find, all while jumping in mud puddles and catching frogs. Then in junior high I started borrowing my father's clothes and shaved my head - which, while it made more sense to her on a personal level, was certainly a switch. Now my hair is shoulder length and I wear mostly jeans and t-shirts, although I guess they're what most would call 'feminine' jeans and t-shirts.
Anyway, my point is that kids (and people in general) go through phases. Your daughter is probably just going through a phase, and even if she isn't...my mother certainly hasn't suffered for her dislike of more traditionally feminine attire. Try taking her shopping for girl clothes for parties and such so that she feels like she's been included in the choosing and hopefully won't hate it so badly. Also keep in mind that there are lots of 'girl' clothes out there that aren't dresses or frilly. She could always wear a nice blouse and dressy slacks to church.

C. just let her dress the way she wants to. Pick your battles. If she is happy dressed like a boy there is nothing wrong with that. My daughter is almost 18 years old and she went through a phase just like that. Some days I still prefer to dress like a boy and I am 46.

L.

I say let her! Glad to see that not all the little girls in the U. S. think they are princesses.
A

C.,
I have never understood why parents freak out over what a kid wears..............WHO buys the clothes and has them available? Is she doing her own wardrobe shopping? At 5 she drives to the mall and spends her own money? She can't wear it if it isn't there! Buy clothes that no matter what she pulls out of the closet, you'll approve of! Jeans are jeans and no 5 year old should get hysterical if they came from the girl's section of the store. T-shirts can be as cute as can be and still not have ruffles on them. Anything with animals or characters on them are gender nuetral.
Right, kids should be able to HELP in selections of clothes.......I had a "choose one of these 3 outfits" rule. My daughter (now 37) felt involved in getting herself dressed, but, not that she was the boss of me. There was no battle-that's just the way it was. When she was a teenager, with her own money, she picked out what she wanted. Yes, there were times when I had to say to anyone that was a bit surprised at what she was wearing, "Don't blame me, I didn't buy it and I didn't dress her". That became a lot of my friends answer, too! PTL those days are over and we can watch them figure out how to deal with their own daughters!

Bottomline, you are the mom and if you don't find a way to communicate to her what the standard is in your house, you are in for a long battle for control. A solid circle of boundries will go along way for every issue you are going to face. Giving in lays a foundation for confrontation that will only esculate the older she gets.

Have you asked her what she doesn't like abut girls clothes. My 12 year old came right out and said can we shop in the boys department. When it came right down to it she did not like the tight fitting, spaghetti strap, belly showing clothing. We compromise to this day. If she buys 2 pairs of shorts from the boys department, than she has to buy a pair of jeans or capris from the girls department. If she bought camo print shorts from the boys department she bought a t-shirt that said army girl from the girls department. As she has gotten older they have a lot more of those bermuda shorts that come to the knee in the girls dept. She still prefers to buyu boys tennis shoes, girls are to pink. She plays softball and is very confident in herself. I don't regret compromising with her. I allow her to wear dress pants to church every other Sunday. Some weeks she wear a skirt or dress 2 weeks in a row so that she can wear pants the week she volunteers with the 2 year olds. Communicate with your child and try to find away that she feels like she is winning something and you are winning something.

Hi C.. If it were me, I wouldn't force her to wear my choice in clothing, unless it's absolutely needed. I have a 7 year old and 4 year old, both girls. Unless it's detrimental that they be dressed a certian way, I allow them to pick out their own clothes (as much as I sometimes want to say, that doesn't match, or god no, you cannot wear those shoes with that outfit). One of the ways people express who they are is through the clothing that they wear. I don't see the harm in allowing her to dress this way as long as the clothes that she is wearing suitable for the occassion. From what I'm reading, I feel you are probably trying to read more into this than necessary. It probably is a phase that she will grow out of, if not, so be it. If she is comfortable this way, I would leave it alone. At times when you must insist that she wear clothing of your choice, I suggest giving her two options if possible and allowing her to decide on which one. This way, she feels that she is still somewhat in control. Remember, pick your battles ;)

Amanda

Definately DON'T make her wear things she doesnt' want to. Constantly pushing girly things on her will only drive her away from them. Accept and don't mention anything different and one day she might change her mind on her own. If she doesn't, oh well! I never dressed girly either and my mom was always upset about that. She still feels like she didn't get to have a little girl because if anything was a dress, pink, lacey or frilly, I refused it!

Hi C.. I have a nine year old daughter and since she was seven, she has loved wearing her brother's clothes. It's no big deal. She calls herself a tomboy. And actually, I love the style she has created for herself. No, she doesn't want to be a boy, but she doesn't like girly things. She says she'll only wear a skirt to church, her prom and her wedding day.
But really, let your daughter express herself. Unless it is not appropriate. Other than that, enjoy her sense of style and personality. Tomboys are really a neat thing.

I think if you force her to wear what you want, she'll rebel even more. Let her express herself in her way. Just tell her that you'd like her to dress more appropriate (like a girl) during special occasions. If she's uncomfortable wearing a dress, have her wear a more feminine looking pants suit. I had the same problem as a young female. I am still that way. I've never felt comfortable in really feminine outfits (frilly, pink dresses, etc.). There are clothes out there that are girly - without being too girly; if you know what I mean! Take her shopping and find what appeals to her.

Hi C.. I know this is probably a generational thing to a point, but my first thought is "What does 'dress like a boy' mean?" I was the girl that didn't like dresses either because they were frilly, pink, uncomfortable, not easy to play in, and I just flat out didn't like the girl clothes. I had 2 brothers and lots of boy friends, so I'm sure that partially influenced me, but at 30 I am still that way. I hated wearing a dress on my wedding day (!) and was uncomfortable and miserable in it. I'm a tomboy, that's just the way it is. I don't 'dress like a boy' in my opinion, but I am not and really have never been "girly." It's not a "phase" so much as it's "just me." Maybe it's a phase with your daughter or maybe she's just strong-willed/strong-minded (GOOD FOR HER!) and knows what she likes. Those traits will be very helpful in the future. Or, typically of most kids, next week she'll want to wear nothing BUT dresses or as a teenager she'll suddenly love "girl" things (puberty can do a lot to change a girl!) and fight you over makeup and high heels.
Clothes are just clothes. They don't make the person. And you could always be sneaky and try to match up her more masculine looking boy pants with a dressier/girlier sweater or something like that. Best of both worlds maybe. :-)
Pick your battles... if you remember life as a teenager, you remember that it only gets worse as far as the arguments you'll get into with mom!
Good luck and best wishes.

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.