23 answers

Tom Boy Issues with 9 Year Old Daughter.

Where to begin, my oldest daughter will be ten this month. She has been a Tom boy since she was 5. It started with no flowers or pink and has progressed to nothing girly at all. We are now shopping in the boys department for all her clothes and it is a little disapointing. She seems to worry about what others think when shopping, and will act like we are shopping for her boy cousins. I used to get so upset but have now become numb to it and do not know if this is the right way to approach it. I am wondering if I should be pushing the girls department on her and not encouraging her. Sometimes I fear that she would like to be a boy because there are so many times people will call her "little man" or "Bud" and she seems to not care. I have no doubts she likes boys because she is crazy about Zac Efron but she just does not have many of the same interest in things other girls do. If anyone has had a daughter that is or was this way please help a desperate mom out on what to do.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks to all who responded. After reading many responses and stories I felt very comfortable with the fact that I have been supporting my daughter in her choices in clothing. It was so nice to hear some of the stories and a lot made me laugh. I also decided to ask my daughter again why she liked to dress that way and her response to me is that "she likes to look sporty". So thanks to everyone for their time in responding to my request. No longer desperate and realize I have been doing the right thing all along.

Featured Answers

I'm not a girly woman at all. I despise shopping, adore football/basketball/baseball and professional wrestling, would rather have Super Bowl tickets than jewelry, etc., etc. I am also happily married with two kids. It's a personality thing. She might grow out of it and she might not. But it's very important that you love her for who she is and that you show her every day that she's good enough as is.

If she's not getting into trouble and no harm is being done, then let her be. If you try to force her to be "girly" it will come across that there is something "wrong" with her, and you really don't want to go down that road. That will only make her rebel.


I guess my question would be what does she say about it? WHy does she like to dress that way? and depending on her reply you can see what she thinks and feels about the situation. Could you find girls clothes that are less feminine and make a deal with her where she wears those a couple times a week and hers a couple times??

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I wouldn't worry too much about it. I grew up a tom boy, girly until about 7 then heading straight for the boy's dept. I think it mostly stemmed from my father's disappointment that he had two girls instead of boys and being a daddy's girl, of course I wanted to be a boy because that's what he wanted. Plus, boys have more fun! They get to get dirty without anyone whining about their "pretty clothes". I was completely disillusioned about the female sex due to a mildly abusive, overbearing mother - she made me want nothing to do with women. As a teen it got worse, since you naturally come into conflict with parents anyway. The only way I ever rebelled was in my clothing. I went goth and then grunge. Of course my mother even tried to girly that up by buying pink flannel...all my friends were guys and I quite preferred it that way. Plus it had the added benefit of being a "friend" - I was the buddy so none of the guys thought of me as dateable, which I regretted at the time but probably saved me alot of heartache and trouble in the end, given the things I heard in the privileged status of friend. It's actually something I'm thankful for as I was naive and extremely sheltered.

But I grew up, went to college, fell in love, got married, had kids and am now a SAHM myself and loving it. To this day I find women exceedingly illogical and the prevalent mood swings irritating at best and have very few close female friends, none outside the church. But throw me in with a group of guys and I can whoop it up.

Accept who she is, if she's happy with who she is. The fact that she pretends she's shopping for someone else is bothersome, in the least. She'll hate it, but continue to buy her pretty things for holidays and perhaps she'll pick up one or two and like it and wear it. Suggest perhaps a spa day or makeover (once she starts wearing makeup, or even on her first menstruation) as a treat - a mother/daughter thing before she gets to where she won't be seen dead with you. Don't force her to be girly and love her for who and where she is, but I don't think a gentle loving nudge, or even testing the waters with just a suggestion ever hurt.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I have 3 daughters. 2 oldest are 9 and 11. My question is, "what are you afraid of?" Being a Tomboy is a good thing. I know everyone would like to dress their little girls up, but even the most girly girs will not want to wear the clothes you want her to wear. She is getting near the age she will do things, just because it is the oposite of what you want.
I would, however, tell her she has to shop in the girls department. Boys clothes are shaped differently, and sized differently. She can find tshirts and jeans and tennis shoes in the girls department, also. I would put my foot down about that, no options. I would also encourage her to play sports. Girls that grow up playing sports find their identity through what they do, not what they wear. Believe me, she will grow up and be boy crazy soon enough. Does she like Hannah Montana? I think she is a great role model. Take her to the movie!

C. K

the only things that should be pushed on our children are the things that are necessary to keep them healthy, alive and in school. push fruits and veg, plenty of sleep, and homework. if your daughter is happy as she is, why would you want to change her. it may be a phase that she will grow out of, or it may not. also i notice that you mentioned that she likes boys. if she didn't would you love her less? would you worry about a girl who only wanted to buy pink dresses, or a boy who would only ware his spider man costume? probably not, you would just make sure the costume was clean and chalk it up to personality.

My sister was that way even until her mid teens. She was always very into sports but back then (I am 52 and she will be 49 this year) you had very few girls sports to do at our school. Cheeleading and gymnastics were what she was really good in.
We always shopped in the boys department for her. She said she liked the way the pants were made. She had her legs made fun of once and when she could always wore pants.
When I married she was mad because our dad made her wear a skirt. We were married in a church and back then you just did not wear pants. I still will not.
She did grow out of it so be patient.
Tell her if she is embaressed about shopping in the boys department you want to just look in the girls. Tell her they always have different things and she might find something she likes.

I guess my question would be what does she say about it? WHy does she like to dress that way? and depending on her reply you can see what she thinks and feels about the situation. Could you find girls clothes that are less feminine and make a deal with her where she wears those a couple times a week and hers a couple times??

Hi B., You sign yourself "desperate," and I'm pretty sure it's not that clothes are all that important to you, so I'm guessing your underlying worry is that your daughter will grow up to be a Lesbian. Can I reassure you? First, there are many girls who are tomboys until they hit puberty, when all of a sudden they begin to dress and act in a more feminine manner. And even if your daughter keeps on being a tomboy in her teens, that isn't going to be a problem unless you make it one. Sexuality is a sliding scale, going from all feminine at one end to all male at the other, and most of us fit closer to th middle of the scale than to either end. So in that way your daughter is perfectly normal. Finally, if she did grow up to be Lesbian, would that be so terrible? As society grows more open we are discovering that more people are "gay" than we ever before realized. And they are perfectly nice, normal people. The important thing for you to do to make sure your daughter grows up happy and well-adjusted, no matter where she fits on the sexuality scale, is to love and accept her just the way she is. (As for me, I'd rather have a daughter like yours than one who thinks the most important thing in the world is whether her shirt and her jacket "go together.") Happy parenting! S.

I was big into sports as a child/teenager and beyond but I also cultivated a feminine side as well. You control the clothing your daughter wears having her dress as a boy seems like it is going a bit far. Is she possibly gay? Have you talked to her about gender identity issues? It is fine to be a tomboy but I never shopped in the boys section growing up there are plenty of non girlie clothes that can be bought for your daughter out there. You really need to talk to her seriously and see where she is coming from. Is she getting teased at school? There is probably books on this subject as well. I wish you luck with this issue and hope you are able to find a balance between her masculine and feminine side.

a tom boy isn't bad...maybe hard to accept if you wanted a girly girl. Have you tried going shopping without her and bringing things home for her to try? I'm not sure if she's into the "athletic" wear, but places like Dick's have female clothes that aren't that feminine. Online shopping might be good for you so that the both of you can look together at clothes from the privacy of your own home.

I know this has to be difficult but I wouldn't suppress who she is, or try to force her into what is accepted. This might lead to some emotional problems down the road. Your support is most important to her right now and her knowing that her mother accepts her for her choices is priceless. I think at this age, if you try to force her to change her preference, you will get rebellion in return.

I would try to make some compromises with her and look for some less feminine girl clothes, something with no frills and gender neutral colors like green, yellow, black, brown, white. Basic jean shorts, simple tee shirts. Does bargaining have any effect on her? Would she be willing to wear a "no frills" girl outfit once a week, or to a family outing in return for something she really likes?

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