22 answers

My Girl Wants to Be a BOY - Advice Needed!

*I'm adding this late - I didn't realize I hadn't put her age! She's 7 and her brothers are 9 and 13.

My daughter has been a "tomboy" for awhile now. She has 2 big brothers who she wrestles with and wants to play with and be like. She likes to wear "cool" clothes instead of frilly girl stuff and doesn't care for "princess" or other feminine characters as decorations on her clothing or personal items. Just recently, she had asked me about something a girl said at school about boys having surgery to become a girl and girls having surgery to become a boy. Then, she has stated several times that she wants to be a boy. I know she doesn't understand the actual process or significance of sex-changes and I really don't believe she understands the impact of these wants. I do know that people who end up having sex changes "knew at a young age" that they were "a boy trapped in a girl's body" and so on. This scares me to death. I want her to be "my little girl" and my daughter and I can't imagine anything else. I have a cousin who is in the process of "becoming a male from female" and has already been through a lot in the process, reducing her breasts and I don't know what else...I'm not that close to her. But the whole thing is weird to me and I really don't understand those feelings. So, I'm struggling to accept that my daughter could some day be my son...and honestly, I don't want to accept it. Anyway, I'm looking for any other parents who have had this experience. Did it "pass" with time, these feelings your child had? Do I need to get her some sort of psychological advice? What do I say to her? In speaking with her, I have understood that she feels there are things boys can do that girls cannot do, and I've tried to explain to her that there is nothing she would want to do that she cannot do (like sports, is her example) as a girl instead of a boy. I'm planning on exposing her to some very successful femal atheletes, to begin with. What am I missing here? Thanks in advance for your consideration and advice!

:)M. Linette

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Well, overall, I've read everyone's responses and given it some time. My daughter and I have talked several times, whenever she's brought it up and I truly believe that she said she wanted to be a boy to test my response. I guess I passed because she recently said, "I know, I can still be a girl and just not like "girlie" things, and that's ok." And when the family was having a "What do you want to be when you grow up" discussion last week, she said, "I know what I want to be when I grow up," and I asked "What's that?" Her response was a very confident, "A mommy." How much more "girlie" can one get?! LOL! So, I just let her know that I always knew that I wanted to be a mommy too, since I was a little girl like her. It definitely eased my heart a little, and in watching her, I see such a feminine girl who despite wanting to be tough and tomboyish, is still a girl at heart. So, my worries are less. But I know that she will go through many phases in life and I'll support her in whatever way I know how. Of course I'll always love her and enjoy her. Heck, there was a time, now that I think back on it, that I wanted to be a "black girl." HA! Of course, that being said, I'm not, and will never be. And I outgrew that too. I guess it's all about self-discovery. Thanks everyone!

Featured Answers

Dear M.,
I wouldn't worry much. I was the only female child (I have 3 brothers) and although my mom insisted on dressing me with pink-girly stuff I never really felt comfortable in them. I would always complain and use more boyish things. I know my mom was very frustrated with this, but I simply didn't feel well - I felt calling more attention than I should or wanted - and this happened really early! So, as time went by I just grew up to be a girl! I never respected girly girls as they should be respected, though... I am happily married and have a baby and have no question about my sexual tendencies... :-)
I would really relax and let go.
I hope this helps.

My sister was a HUGE tomboy. She was nicknamed mudpie, would much rather be with the boys than the girls any day of the week growing up, absolutely REFUSED to wear dresses of any sort or girl colors for that matter. Now that we are "all grown up" she is the biggest girly girl. Don't know if this helps, but there's hope!

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The first question you have to ask yourself is "Will you still love your child no matter what?" If so, then talk to her about it.

And while you are at it, talk to your cousin about "his" process. Be honest with "him" and you might be surprised to learn that it's not as simple as waking up one day and deciding to be a boy.

It's possible that your daughter is just going through a phase, I was the youngest of all boys, and I hated girly things. I wanted to be a boy. However, I'm happily married to a wonderful man with three (and a half) wonderful children and can't imagine anything but being a woman.

But, I've also had several transgendered friends. It's not an overnight thing for any of them. It's not something you just up and decide one day... it's a long process to come to it.

There is a very good group you can get some more information from: http://www.genderawareness.com/ (The Alliance for Gender Awareness).

The main thing is to listen, and talk- not react. This could be a passing phase... but if anything, it's not the end of the world- it could be far worse. At least you still have a healthy child who loves you.

I hope this helps.

2 moms found this helpful

You got some wonderful advice so far from these ladies :). Dont freak out, dont show her your panic. Love her for who she is and dont try to make her something shes not. Expose her to many things and let her unfold in her own way, loving her all the way. I was a huge tomboy and wanted to be a boy when I was younger. Now I am a mom of 3, very happy, no longer want to be a boy :). But even if she maintains that wish, she is still just as worthy of love.

1 mom found this helpful

First - thank you and your husband for his military service- I was a ARMY wife for 5 years and I know how hard it is without your hubby around- and the longest mine was gone was 7 months. Its not easy so thank you from someone who appreciates very much.
Now my 2 cents on your daughter. I was a tomboy growing up- I mortified my mother more than once in church by dancing around because my dress was "itchy". I liked GI Joes and He-Man and I loved to hang out with my older boy cousin- he was my hero. I had a balance though I did play with Barbies and some "girl" things because of my older sister.
More so than me though was my best friend. In Elementary school she was often mistaken for a boy. She insisted her hair be kept short (she even had the 80's rattail for awhile) When she went swimming (they had their own pool) she would wear swim trunks instead of a bathing suit- she never played with anything girly- she had the he-man castle, loved to wrestle with her cousins and dad, and always said she wanted to be a boy- She even prefered when people shortened her name to Nick instead of Nicole. I am firmly convinced if we had been growing up now instead of when we did that she would be "gender confused" or some other PC term. And people would try to change her parts to match. Her mom just always let he be herself and loved her for who she was.... My point though is this- she is now a happily married (to a man:) woman- who loves dressing nicely even prefers pink and has a little boy. And I grew up to be married with baby #3 on the way now. I think that girls who are tomboys grow out of it- you hit puberty and although for some it is even more awkward after awhile it becomes ok to be a girl.
I still find that the tomboy in me comes out- even though I have lace curtains in my house, I'll catch a bug or go fishing with no hesitation- which is great for being a boy mommy.
I would watch- make sure she doesn't start disliking herself because she's a girl- but let her be herself- most likely in several years she'll figure out that its ok.

1 mom found this helpful

I grew up in a house with 2 older brothers a younger brother and my sister came along when i was ten. I was raised as a tomboy. I never liked dresses, stockings, anything girlie. I wanted to be like my brothers because they were free and didn't have to be clean and sit still because they had on a dress. My mother let me be me. I grew out of it when i got to my senior year of high school. I never wore a dress unless I had to, but when homecoming and prom came along I was dressed in the prettiest dress of them all. I did grow out of it. I do dislike too much girlie stuff (joined the military) but I turned out fine I were dresses get my hair done, and carry myself like a lady should. My mother let me be me and discover who I was. Being that your daughter is raised with boys she will be more tomboyish than most girls. Just be understanding and don't force her hand. If she really wants to be a boy later on in life you can't stop it and you just may loose the communication and loving relationship you may have with her. In a couple of years she may change her mind. If she don;t she will want your love and acceptance more than anything in this world. My cousin went through male to female and he wanted his family to love him for who she is nothing more and nothing less. Be loving, patience, and give her options.

1 mom found this helpful

Relax...my neice was the same way and yeah she can kick her brothers butts LOL. Give her time and when she is ready to be your little girl she will be. If you get her in counseling and push that issue you may confuse her more.

1 mom found this helpful

I was a tomboy growing up. I was athletic, never wore frilly things. I didn't want to get my period...I was FURIOUS when I got it before my older sister!! I even insisted (as a teenager) that I would never have a baby (fear of all the pain and issues that went with it...and I wanted independance.) Now, I am happily married with one daughter. I waited until I had a career and experienced independence. Interestingly, I am now a SAHM!! Which leads me to a quote:

"What you resist...persists!"

Example, refer to the example above about being independant and a career woman.
Another example, we didn't know the gender of my daughter until she was born. I insisted everything be gender neutral...yellow, green, Winnie the Pooh. Once she was born, I REFUSED to buy any 'girlie' clothes. The only pink she wore were outfits given from others. I even bought blue stuff to make sure I wasn't pushing the girlie personality and used hand-me-down clothes my nephew wore. Guess what? My daughter is 4 and LOVES pink, princesses and fairies. EVERYTHING is pink and she also loves dogs...She wants one desperately. I have said I will never get a dog. I'm not a dog hater, I just feel that cats are easier. Guess what? We are talking about getting a dog!

My life it filled with situations I vehemently resisted.

So, my point is...don't insist your daughter do 'female' things. Accept her for who she is today. You'll love her and be there for her--whatever happens.
Good Luck.

Oprah covered this same thing on her show about a month ago...go to oprah.com. At the top click on 'inside oprah.com'. Then click on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show'. On the right click 'Oprah Show Archive'. Shows from 2007...go to October. Oct 12th was about Transgender Families---check this out and also under that same link you will see 'related links' at the bottom, check out the one on 'Growing up Intersex'.

Hopefully checking these 2 out you may be able to get some insight.

Of course, your daughter may just be a tomboy and will grow out of it! I was a tomboy for a looooong time. :)

I think you should not worry so much.. I grew up in a neighborhood with all boys, I played tackle football, climbed trees, and played in the dirt with the boys. My whole life, I wasnt into gossip, I had a few friends that were girls but I mostly had guy friends.. Im 33, and I still have more guy friends then girl friends. I now have three children, and like one mom said, some guys prefer the girls that dont feel the need to act stupid. I have a son that has 2 sisters, he loves his older sister very much, he is 4 she is 6, he will play with barbies with her, and with baby dolls, just to be able to spend time with her. Some people have said your son is playing with barbies.. Im not concerned, my son doesnt care about being too girlie, he wants to play with his sister, when he is playing by himself, he plays with his trucks, crashes his motorcycles, and throws the football around.. when hes with his sister he just plays with whatever she wants to play with, so that she will play with him. Not a deal. Relax.. she will be fine. Since you just added she is 7, I really wouldnt worry.. shes still very young

Dear M.,
I wouldn't worry much. I was the only female child (I have 3 brothers) and although my mom insisted on dressing me with pink-girly stuff I never really felt comfortable in them. I would always complain and use more boyish things. I know my mom was very frustrated with this, but I simply didn't feel well - I felt calling more attention than I should or wanted - and this happened really early! So, as time went by I just grew up to be a girl! I never respected girly girls as they should be respected, though... I am happily married and have a baby and have no question about my sexual tendencies... :-)
I would really relax and let go.
I hope this helps.

If you are truly concerned that what she is saying to you could end up being more than a misunderstanding I would try getting in touch with your cousin. Even if you aren't close I am sure she would jump at the chance to help you with what your daughter may be feeling.

On the other hand...waiting a few more years shouldn't hurt. She may just be confused about what it means to be a boy. Like you mentioned the sports thing. Maybe she wants to be on a team at school with the boys but they won't let her? I wouldn't freak out just yet. She's only seven.

Have you asked her if there is any other reason she may want to be a boy besides not being able to do the same things? This may give you a little more understanding as to what exactly it is that she means.

I would deffinately keep your cousin in mind though. Especially if it turns out that your little girl may some day become your little boy. It would help her to have someone to talk to.

Try not to freak out, it may simply be a phase.

M.,

You didn't mention your daughters age? I myself grew up in a house of all men, my mom left when I was young. I understand your daughter wanting to be a boy, but I really don't think you need to be concerned that it is for "that" reason. From my point of view, boys had it easier, they were able to do all the fun things, play football, get dirty, ride fourwheelers, etc. My advice to you, would be, encourage her to do all the fun boy things, but explain to her what a great advantage of being a woman in a mans world. We can do all the same things, just as well, but have the pleasures of looking and being treated like a lady. Not being sure of her age, makes it really hard to know what she will understand. But when I was at that point in my life, my dad just strongly encouraged me that I could still be a girl but do all of the fun boy things. I hope this helps and please let me know if I can answer any specific questions. D.

i was raised with six older brothers, and me the only girl. i loved wearing the hand me downs from them, and playing football, baseball, anything that they did i wanted to do. i really never felt that i wanted to be a boy, just wanted to be like the boys. i wanted to be able to do what they did. to this day i will not wear a dress, or anything pink in public. lol. but my duaghter is all girl. i honestly don't think you have anything to worry about. i think you should just let her be her. if she wants to do like the boys let her. when she gets older and has more girlfriends it will change. just let her know that you are with her no matter what. good luck. let me know how thins work out.

i wouldn't worry about it yet.... shes only 7 i mean think about it how cool would it be to pee standing up and not have to wait 10 mins in the line at the bathroom?? i was the same way when i was little i wouldn't worry yet but if she continues this get her in to some counseling and YOU too b/c you will need to learn to accept this.. even if shes your little girl she will grow up and you dont want hostility between you 2 good luck!

M., My daughter was a "tomboy" from the time she was 3 till she was 12. she is now 14 and to this day will not wear frilly, pretty clothes. But she is 100% female. and loves being a girl. I was very worried about the same issues for a long time but I didnt pressure her one way or the other. At 12 she discovered that boys didn't want tomboys as anything but friends. On her own she started acting more and more girly doing her hair etc.etc.She now wears t-shirts that are very cute and jeans that are nothing but girl jeans, she even wears cammies with lace under the the T's she wears makeup and does her hair. What your daughter will do will be up to her. Either way give her love and guidance but don't give her ultimatums, they will usually go the exact oppisite of what you want. She is still to young to know what she wants yet. Good Luck to you.

I would just wait and see. i was a tomboyish when i was little. and i'm pretty sure i wanted to be a boy for a time just cause it was easier and more fun to do boy stuff. i'm sure she doesn't under stand about transgendered people and undergoing a sex change. just tell her that some people do have those operations, but there is a lot of work involved in it and no one is allowed to do it until they are grown ups. most tomboy girls grow out of it as they get older...middle school is usually when girls start to notice boys and vice versa. just let her have her fun rough housing and playing with her brothers. one of my best friends was the biggest tomboy i ever met when we were little...boys clothes, wwf lunch box, skate boarding, etc. now she's a very beautiful, feminine woman. just give her some time. and if by chance she doesn't change her tomboy ways, then just love her and accept her for who she is.

My sister was a HUGE tomboy. She was nicknamed mudpie, would much rather be with the boys than the girls any day of the week growing up, absolutely REFUSED to wear dresses of any sort or girl colors for that matter. Now that we are "all grown up" she is the biggest girly girl. Don't know if this helps, but there's hope!

Honestly, I think it is just a normal part of growing up for many kids. She will most likely grow out of it if you show her how great it is to be a girl, and just try to explain that boys aren't better than girls, they are just different. They can do some things better than girls, and girls can do some things better than boys. (Even a sex change would not change that) My brother absolutely loved to dress up as a girl when he was about that age. He begged to wear my sundresses and dress up hats, and wanted to wear my mom's high heels! My mom actually dressed him up and showed him how silly he looked. Eventually, he grew out of it, and is happily married, in the military, and not a bit girly. Kids at that age are just exploring who they are, and who they can be. Your daughter has two older brothers, and she probably wants to be just like them. She doesn't understand the implications of "turning into a boy". Maybe you could get her in a playgroup or in some activity with girls her age (or a little older). That might help her see what fun it is to be a girl. Also, try getting her interested in something that you can do with her (girl time) that the boys wouldn't be interested in- cooking, shopping, baking, crafts, playing dolls or dress up, anything that you think she might like. I suggest that you don't even discuss a sex change as an option. If she brings it up, say that sometimes people do that when they are older, but God made us the way we are because that was exactly how He wanted us to be. We are all different and unique, and there isn't another person that is exactly like her. Try to stress that you (and your husband, family members, etc.) love her just the way she is. Hopefully this will help her get through this phase. I know it is hard to deal with these problems, especially when your spouse isn't home. God bless and good luck.

Son, Daughter the choices are truely not ours to make. I understand the dreams of seeing you daughter grow up, and all the wonderful things young girls-teens-young women have in the mind of a loving mother. It is hard to brush them aside, and never think of them again. I can only say first off, negeotiate. If it is wardrobe then give a lot and get a little. This is for special occasions only and keep it very simple so she will still feel comfortable. ( i would not suggesy a dress) but attractive special occasion pants set or suit. But attractive and sophisticated. Day to day clothing should be within reason, her weekend wear to be her own choice. Brace yourself moma she will compensate for the toned down week. And in case you still have doubts, that is ok. Her little gene pool is not finished perculating as of yet. Just be patient. This coming from a lifelong tomboy , and to a certain extent I still am. I have been married, have children and grandchildren, no interest in the opposite sex or gender re-assignment. Just comfortable being comfortable. Dont open you mind and let the world in, open your heart and let little pieces of who that precious little person is going to be..come on out. If she is transgendered, until she cam make her own choices, you must help her with affirming unconditional guidance and yes, cry in your rom later....support.....here for you.......DeniseC

Hi M.. How old is your daughter? It seems to me that you should expose her to a wide variety of experiences and not worry about if they are male or feale. I would just help her to become the best person she can be. If she were a little older, maybe a family counselor could help. It would give her someone other than a family member to talk to and she might feel safer in that environment. Just don't think there is something wrong with her or try to "fix" her. She is just a child and she is your little girl. Find out what it is about being a boy that makes her want to be a boy.

On another note...I am a military wife. I have been married just over 2 years and the entire first year of my marriage was spent alone. We hurried the wedding because we found out he was going to Afghanistan. I am also a teacher. If you ever want to get together for coffee, just contact me on here and we can set it up. I know how hard it is to be alone.

it sound like your talking about my little girl. my daugther says thing like it not natural for her to be a girl. She also as told me that will have the surgey to become a boy. and she also 7. she start crying when ever i try to put on a dress. i dont know what to do. do you have a advance for me?

The best thing you can do is what you're doing right now...loving her for who she is no matter what. I know it's a very scary thing to imagine that your precious girl doesn't want to be a girl anymore, but hopefully she will grow out of that phase. You don't mention her age in your post, but I gather that she sees the boys in school being rough and tumble, getting dirty and having a merry good time- you know, the stuff that girls "don't" do. I was a tomboy growing up, and I still am one. To this day, I still prefer jeans and t-shirts to frilly and lacey things. But when it the time comes, I look like a lady. The Barbies and princesses just never appealed to me because it was more fun climbing trees and digging in the dirt. I wouldn't make too big of a deal out of it right now, too much pressure could actually have the adverse effect you're lookinig for.

I first want to say that I'm sorry for you and your kids to have to deal with your husband (their father) gone. There's always so much focus on the persons being deployed when the family suffers as much, if not more! How old is your daughter? As far as your daughter goes, I personally haven't had this experience but with my psych. background; I feel like the best thing you can do to help your daughter dev. a good sense of her feminine side is to model (through your behavior) what a great woman "looks like". And I don't mean physical looks. Another thing that came to mind is maybe it has something to do with your husband being gone. Has he been deployed before? And, lastly, I guess I would suggest that you seek out psychological help for you and your family right now to help deal with the stresses of your husband being gone and also maybe get your daughter into some individual counseling to deal with her concerns. I hope this helps, let me know if you need to talk more. :) S. my email is ____@____.com

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