Teaching him that boys do not wear girl clothes,and enforcing just that will also teach him to be a leader and not a follower, the head and not the tail. Boys just do not wear girl clothes.
Please help with my request. I have the sweetest most wonderful baby boy who tells me that he wants to be a girl. Everytime I wear a dress or skirt, he asks me if he can wear it. Whenever we are at a clothing store, he asks me to buy him a dress. It is getting worse the older he is getting. I know it is coming from all the girls at daycare when they dress up like princesses. At first, since he wasn't even 3 yet, I didn't worry about it. I let him wear my pink silk bathrobe around the house can call himself a princess. My daycare provider suggested that I stop letting him wear dresses and tell him that boys don't wear dresses because he is 3 now and it is time to break that habbit. I don't want to mess him up if he feels female, but I don't want him teased when he starts school either. Any suggestions out there?
Teaching him that boys do not wear girl clothes,and enforcing just that will also teach him to be a leader and not a follower, the head and not the tail. Boys just do not wear girl clothes.
I would go out & buy dress up clothes for boys. That would be costumes or real dress up clothes, like a suit. I think it just might be he wants to dress up when the girls do. With the robe thing, get him his own. He probably would love it.
There are several boys in my daughter's 4 yo preschool class that still run around in the girl dress up clothes. My guess is because they aren't allowed to do it at home. I would ignore it. If you stop paying attention to it, it won't have the fascination involved. I think it is normal for kids this age to dress like princesses. When my daughter was 3 and in a mostly boy class she would dress up like the boy characters and tell me she was a boy. The phase passed. Maybe if it really bothers you, you could get him some boy dress up clothes (superhero costumes and capes, prince costumes, etc.)
It's probably not that he feel female...it's probably more like he is surrounded and cared for by mostly women and children learn through imitation of their caregivers. I would make an effort to get a positive male role model for him (father, uncle, grandparent, close friend). Have them spend quality time together doing "boy" things. Let him know that it is okay to play dress up sometimes, but that he is a boy and there are certain things that girls do that boys should not. My youngest, now 4, went through a phase when he wanted to wear makeup like mommy. I put it on him and he thought he looked silly and that was it. Good luck.
Stay with your instincts on this one. I'd consult with a developmental pediatrician. They can help to clarify gender indentity issues if there are any. They can also let you know what behavior is appropriate and give you strategies to help.
My 3 year old son is the same way, he wants to wear dresses, carry a purse and wear high heels. There's nothing wrong with them doing this around the house. It's just part of creative play. I just say to him, big boys don't wear dresses they wear suits. Or give him a wallet instead of a purse. He may see other children (girls) doing this and just want to fit in and play along. Just see if you can have him play with other boys his age, maybe he will want to change from dress up to a new interest.
Best of luck,
Independent Shaklee Distributor
What about getting him oversided men's shirts, a hat, belt, etc. and help him 'get dressed up' in mens' clothes. He may just think that getting dressed up means putting on a dress.
Does he have his own bathrobe? Getting him a lightweight, male color robe that is all his own may help too.
Is his Dad in the picture? You mentioned that you are single. At 3 there is a lot of play based on imitation. They like to imitate the people they are with. My almost 3 year old will put on my shoes and pretend to be a Mommy. He will also put on my husbands shoes and be a daddy. If your on is not around his dad alot it might be that he's just imitating the females he's around more. Just a thought.
Either way, you are a loving mother and care for his wellbeing. Try some of the other suggestions and get him some "boy" dress up clothes and see if that peaks his interest. If he's not at all interested, then you may consider other issues. But I think 3 is pretty young to worry about gender issues just yet.
Both of my boys (5 and 2) love wearing my shoes, painting their toes and putting "doo-dads" in their hair like me. I think it's harmless. That said, they do have their toy box full of "dress up" clothes - fireman outfit, batman, spiderman, superman, Jack Sparrow..
I would get him his own dress up (super hero, doctor, vet, etc) and save it for the house only. At 2 and 3 my daughter only wanted to wear princess dress-up dresses EVERY where we would go. I thought it was okay at 2 but as she got older it became a real issue. The rule was dress up is only for the house. Don't fret because at 5 he will probably refuse to wear something else. My DD now 6 refuses to wear the closet full of skorts, skirts, twirly dresses etc., I thought she would love. Once we think we have them figured out they change on us!!
i believe it's too early to label him. a lot of boys do this. just give him both gender options and neutral options in dress up clothes don't make a big deal out of it and you may find that you have a football player or something in a couple of years. he's just exploring his world and trying on different personas. you both can have a laugh of the pictures of him in a dress then!
Dearest C. ~
This may be playful fun and some of the other responses give suggestions to steer him away from wanting to do girl things. However, if he keeps displaying this behavior and continues to insist he wants to be a girl, or "feels" like a girl, you might want to consider having him tested for a gender disorder. This is where the brain is one gender, but the body is the opposite. There was a report on this not too long ago on TV (can't remember the show) and it is more common than people realize. It can be frustrating and agonizing for the child and very hard on the parents to know how to deal with this. Getting professional help to be able to cope and do what is best for the child is highly recommended. Please don't freak out or make your child feel bad for his feelings. He is who he is - born that way - and as deserving of as much love and respect as anyone. Again, this could just be a phase he's going through. But be patient, loving and accepting, so he can grow up with a healthy self esteem and be loved for who he wants to be. I wish you and your child the best!
All kids like to play dress up. However if he seems to be going overboard with dressing up like a girl, it could be that is what he is more familiar with. My first suggestion would be to try to find him a male role model. If you are not comfortable with that idea, take him to the store and allow him to pick out some super hero dress up clothes, like Superman and Spiderman. Also purchase the videos so he can watch them. Two of my friends have boys and one is loves superman and the other one loves spiderman. They love to dress up like their superhero. These costumes like the capes can be worn out (sometimes) like to the day care. That way he can show the others, especially the girls that he has dress up clothes of his own. I hope this helps. Be blessed!
My three year old son likes to dress up too. He's not asking for dresses, but he puts on my clothes more than his dad's. I feel it is best to let them have the full experience of doing it if they want to, and most will move on to something else eventually. The caregiver's discomfort is more about her own established norms and has nothing to do with your son being stange or odd. He's just interested and loves stuff that has to do with you, his mom. I would not worry and let him do it.
I would also try to get support from the people who take care of him, is there anyone else at the daycare who can just let it be instead of trying to correct him? perhaps if you explain that you want to just let him try it full-on they would honor that.
Hope that helps, and good luck to you
This may not be the case at all, but perhaps he already knows he is transgender...
Here are a few links I found, the second has a video:
Under no circumstances take the blame for this - it has nothing to do with what you allowed or did not allow, and delete any messages that are not supportive.
It is true it may be a phase, but them again it may not and whatever you son chooses he will choose with your support or without out. Let him know his feelings are fine and whatever you do don't shame him. Let him know that the world is not as open as you and this is something that is kept at home in the house until he is a little older...and maybe this will pass, but if it doesn't he needs to be making some really tough decisions as to come out in school or not.
Some of the most critical and ostracizing people are those who just don't get it, they won't accept someone who is different from them because they don't understand - I say kindness and openess (and possiblly accecptance) are the best ways to deal with this.
It could be nothing, but if you are worried, I would definitely seek professional help. Your son sounds great. If he is legitimately going through gender issues that that should be identified/clarified. I just would want him to seek some help since he is so young... how to explore/express himself, but in a safe environment? It sounds like your daycare provider wants what is best for your son... I am just a bit worried that her values and your values may not be fully in synch... I really feel that your son needs to be in an environment that is fully supportive of his needs and yours. First, find out what his needs are... seek PROFESSIONAL help, if you would feel more at peace... your daycare provider and MOST of the mamas on this site are probably not qualified to diagnose exactly what is happening... if you feel reassured that he is just having fun, then no worries, but if you sense it is something more, get someone professional to help you in this area. Second, get buy-in from your daycare provider... she must fully support whatever your sons needs/you want for him... or how you want her to handle his play needs without demeaning him. If she does not buy-in, find someone else to care for him.
I just had to write to let you know that you are not the only mom with a little boy who loves to dress up!
So many little boys under the age of 5 who come into my store, The Party Fairy ( or attend one of the dress-up parties we stage there) just love to dress up, and they are happy to become fairies or princesses in order to wear a sparkly dress or have their nails done right along with the girls. They ask to be dusted with Fairy Glitter, and they dance around in tiaras and wings, waving pink and silver magic wands -- and they're delighted to do all of it.
Most of these little boys did not come to this method of make-believe play on their own; they were introduced to it by an older sister. They learned that big sister would play with them happily and for longer periods of time if they played her games! Since her imaginative games happened to be fun, they were happy to go along with it. And something else happened during this process. The little boys noted early on how much value big sister placed on princess items, and modeled their own developing and emerging value systems after hers. A princess crown became a sought-after and much-admired commodity; a sparkly pink dress with lots of tulle became the Ferrari in the closet simply because it had more pizazz!
None of this is surprising. Make-believe is a rich experience for a child, stretching the imagination and feeding our human need to explore and create. Your son, like these other children, simply values this heady experience. But our society tends to offer it more to little girls than little boys. We buy beautiful princess dress-up trunks for our daughters but give our sons a Nintendo DS.
To put your son's high degree or interest in dress-up in perspective, if he was exposed to a group of boys who intensely valued aircraft play, and spent a great deal of time creating pretend airplanes out of popsicle sticks, glitter glue, paint and streamers, he would probably beg you for remote-controlled airplanes and have a huge used popsicle stick collection in his room! He would tell you that he wanted to be an airplane pilot when he grew up.
But homemade aircraft aren't a hot topic in his world. Dressing up as a princess is all the rage in his social circle. So his emerging value system has duly noted this, and he is happy to appreciate silver crowns and sparkle tulle. He also sees that Mommy has pink silk bathrobes and goes shopping for pretty clothes. This just reinforces what he's already learned in preschool. In his world, clothes are a hot commmodity. What your wear is important. He sees classmates compete for coveted dress-up wear, and preen in pretty dresses. He sees Mommy trying on clothes and purchasing them. So clothes have a very high level of value on his emerging value system.
All of this is age appropriate and understandable and simply the sign of a smart little boy who has the ability to figure things out, assimilate them into his world and fit right in. It's probably also the sign of a child who has an innate ability to along with the program quite happily, without feeling uncomfortable or unfilfilled, or wanting more than what is available. You son will probably get along well with people all his life, and probably have a highly developed sense of empathy. He may also be a highly social person, although at 3 it is ridiculously early to really predict any of this. But I would bet his passion for dressing up is simply a sign of a highly social little boy with strong social skills, a well-defined value system and a generally high contentment level.
Now doesn't all of that sound so much better than all those things you must have been worried about -- like "gender confusion" and "cross-dressing traits" etc., etc. ?!?!
Please know that something happens to most little boys the year they turn 6. I can't explain what it is... or exactly why it happens. But something kicks in around that age and they suddenly get a big dose of male reality that washes away almost all interest in pink frills and silver sparkles.
I've seen 7-year-old brothers did their heels in at the door to my store and refuse to come in with a sister for her party because the store is so pink and filly and sparkly!! It screams out "girlie-girl kind of place" and although a 5-year-old is entranced by the whole make-believe sphere, a 7-year-old is beginning to get his male identity, and starts to feel a little uncomfortable surrounded by princess dresses and tiaras!
My best advice to you is to gently redirect your son's passion for dress-up into slightly more appropriate gender channels. Whatever you do, don't go buy an Incredible Hulk costume because the girls he plays with in preschool will scream and make faces of distaste and it will not seem valuable in their eyes. As a big, grown-up girl, you won't value this much, either. Your son is astute. He won't like it, either, because he will see that the girls in his life, big and little, do not value it! If he loves pink silk, a green monster mask is going to seem a poor substitute!!!
Instead, purchase a gorgeous knight costume for him with a swirling silver cape of some silky material that seems to flow around him like a magical river when he walks. If you can find one threaded with silver sparkles, his eyes should light up. Be sure to use highly descriptive and desireable words when praising the beauty of the knight cloak. Point out the sparkles and tell him that it sparkles as if a thousand diamonds were magically sewn into it or tell him that it has been sprinkled with magic dust made from a thousand falling stars.
(A lot of little boys who really enjoy dress-up also highly enjoy storytelling, and appreciate a poetic line or two!!)
Next, buy him a plastic sword with a hit, and take him to a craft store to choose his own "jewels" for the sword's sheathe. Purchase a pack of flat, colored gemstones and help him glue them onto his sword and its hilt with some very strong craft glue. Now he will have a dress-up outfit that has some features he can appreciate!
But don't stop there. Add to his dress-up wardrobe. Next, buy him a wizard's cloak. Something soft and velvety....with lots of glow-in-the-dark stars sewn onto it. Most wizard's cloaksare dark -- navy blue or purple or black with white or silver stars. I would look for one (or even hire a seamstress to make one) that is just the opposite....Silver and magical and sparkly, with purple stars sewn onto it.
Next, take a trip to the library. Your son needs to hear some stories about princesses, wizards and knights. He already knows about princesses, but his immature little value system does not yet know how important BOYS are to a good princess tale -- and not just as the handsome prince. He needs to hear tales of how brave and clever knights outfox dragons and monsters and evil magicians!
I don't know where you live, but if you live close enough to visit my store, I will help you. Bring your son in for tea with the Fairy Godmother and she will tell him stories about knights and princesses that will spark his imagination and make him want to be a magical hero instead of a pretty princess.
Rechanneling your son's keen interest in dress-up into slightly more male areas will bridge this delicate situation for you -- and I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't fall in love with fanciful tales of heroes!
wow, pretty huge. not sure if phase or what, my knowledge only comes from movies. perhaps work w/ a therapist to figure out what choices you'd like to make for your family. i don't want to include personal opinions since such a personal issue, not overly helpful, but might need a professional figure out how to proceed.
I am not a psychologist, but here goes......... he may just be lonely and want your attention and approval.
Have you tried getting "dress up" boys' clothes from yeard sales? When my 2 were little, I scoured yard sales for all kinds of junk, hats shoes, etc. I was part of a babysitting exchange, and the kids would dress up and put on "shows'.
Boys like hats, shoes, sunglasses and yes, makeup. bit think KISS, not Britney Spears.
I understand your concern, my 4 yr old son like to dress as a butterfly! I don't worry about it, although Dad doesn't like it much. I let him dress up at home. I just tell him it's not always nice to wear whatever he wants in public, like mommy can't wear pajamas and rollers to go eat out dinner and his little sister is not allowed to wear her dress up high heels out either.
I'm of the mindset that there are bigger issues to fish to fry with kids, so I'd just let him wear what he wants. He'll learn soon enough that boys in our country don't wear dresses, probably from teasing, but that turns it into a lesson from you, as well.
Beyond simply saying, "Boys don't wear dresses," though, I'd emphasize the cultural difference and show him pix/drawings of boys in other countries wearing skirts or wraps. Do this even before he heads into public in dresses.
There are ways to do this so a 3-yo understands; you know your child best and how to explain things to him so they make sense. That may give him the confidence to stand up to the naysayers, and maybe even educate them: Boys, too, do wear dresses in Scotland. You could be sure he's wearing something that has the look of different countries, for easier explanation: This is plaid, like Scotland; this is batik, like Indonesia. A 3-yo would need prompting for this, or you could say it when you're with him, and he will learn to stand up for himself. What an excellent learning opportunity for him! (Do you remember "William Wants a Doll" from the "Free to Be You and Me" album? I bet you could find the lyrics online.)
If you're really against his wearing dresses, you could tell him there's a time and place for that. Then you can focus his dress-wearing time for home, instead of in public.
Most likely, he'll grow out of it, and you can come out on the other end as a confidence-building. If he doesn't grow out of it, well, you'll still be a confidence-building mom. Either way, I think parents need to nurture and support their kids' creativity or inclinations so they don't smother them and "turn them into" something the kid is not. That makes for so many of those bigger issues when the kid is older.
Hello! I am sure you might be a little unsure of things. I don't think it's a big deal.
Your son needs a male influence/model in his life. Is his father available for time with him? What about your dad?
I don't think there's anything wrong with your son wanting to dress up - I know for many it's VERY disconcerting. However, allowing him to "experience" (for lack of better words) things is not bad. I do not feel that you are hurting him.
If you would like to suggest to him to have more "boy" toys or even play dates with him. Find a day care that has more boys than girls. These are ways to bring out the boy in him. Personally, I have a sensitive boy - he doesn't dress up like a girl, but he's sensitive and there's nothing wrong with that.
I think that if you make a big deal out of it - it's an attention getter and your reaction could be illiciting a response (attention) from you to him.
Ooops maybe he shuldnt have been allowed to wear your pink robe in the first place and call himself a princess...because he's not. :( Sorry.
I would suggest distracting him w/ other "BOY" conversation when he talks about being a girl. It might be just something that he is fascinated by because it is pretty and the little girls are happy when the dress up.
But my best peice of advice is to get him some "BOY" clothes to dress up in. Maybe one of Daddys shirts and a tie for starters. He could be a PRINCE or the KING. And then a fireman or doctor or policeman costume.....the list goes on. You dont even have to buy them, you can make one up...even out of paper bags and such and let him help. He will love it...I hope. Good luck.
I think that his own dress-up clothes would definitely help. Some boys at my son's preschool were really into the fireman's hat and coat, though honestly they seemed to be eyeing the girls' princess costumes with some envy. Let's face it, they're just more sparkly. Maybe a colorful wizard costume would be interesting to your son. I've seen used costumes offered for sale on craigslist.
C., Your son is most likely trying to fit in with all of the females around him. I suggest that when the girls in his class are dressing up like a princess allow him to dress as a prince. You could even allow him to do this at home. Buy him his own silk robe, one like Mommy's maybe just a different color. Give him his own special male dress up clothes and validate him by telling him how handsome he looks. I myself was a single mother of a male child and had a female child a few years older than him. He always wanted to have the same things she had or do the same things she did. He even wanted to mimick me. Introduce him to the male side. I learned to enjoy playing with toy solidiers and monster trucks. :) Have a great day.
Not to long ago there was this program on National TV about this subject by Barbara Walters. Please contact ABC or go to the website to get the transcrip on this investigation they did. Also, you can get in touch with all the families in the show going through the same. There were about three or four kids from young to teens.
Don't get alarmed just follow your heart with your son - you want him to be happy and accepted as he wants to be.
My best friend's boy went through the same thing when he was 3- We got him a child-size kilt! He loved it, and by the time he was 4 and the kilt was worn out and too small, he was fully into all things boy related.... :) He now knows a lot about highlanders too! I wouldn't worry too much about this, I agree he's probably mimicking his mommy! and that's just pure flattery.
It is normal for all kids in their preschool years to play dress-up. Go out an buy a plastic bin that can be a "treasure chest" and fill it with dress-ups that are masculine. Train conductor set, fire-fighter uniforms, doctor, police man, cowboy, ninja, goggles, snorkle, flippers, silly glasses, misc. hats, tool belt, hard hat, a prince costume with crown, a wizard or magicians costume, a knights costume, space man, etc. Boys dress-up in what ever is available and sadly it is normally only girls clothes. My own son had this delima and once we bought masculine dress-ups he was so excited to have his own, we even let him wear them to daycare a few times.
I would ask the daycare if there was a classroom with more boys in it so he can start associating with them. Even as a single parent, you can still let him see a male influence through uncles, male cousins, male friends, etc. Sounds like he doesn't see anyone but females. I "somewhat" agree with the teacher... time to stop letting him call himself princess and wearing dresses, but would encourage him to dress up in other costumes. Kids love to dress up and if there are no man clothes or superhero clothes around... he will use what he sees. I'm sure it is a stage that they all go through. Good luck!
I think you have gotten a lot of good advice already. Your son sounds like he has a healthy curiosity for exploring the feminine side of life. This can be normal at his young age. Not all boys are into cars and guns and being dirty all the time (lol).
As a child, I used to play with a boy who loved dolls more than anything else. We would play dress up and brush his dolls' hair all the time (he had the nicest dolls in the neighborhood). His mom allowed this behaviour, and he grew up to be perfectly fine and happy in himself. He got married, and has children now, I believe.
As a first year kindergarten teacher, I had a very sweet 5-year-old in my group who loved to dress in princess outfits all the time. If the girls were playing Cinderella, he would be a princess or the fairy godmother. His mom was fine with this, but his dad was not. His dad ended up trying to "man up" his son by allowing him to watch movies that depicted men being men, but were not age-appropriate. Needless to say, this sweet boy was affected by the movies, and started acting out by wanting to do "movie star kisses" with the girls in the class. We had to do more damage control because of the father's decision to try to make his son more masculine than we ever had to do because a boy wanted to wear a dress.
Another thing you might consider is that because you are a single mom, and you are his main role model, your son probably looks up to you, and loves you, and so dressing in your clothing makes him feel closer to you. It can't hurt to have positive male role models around. I am also a single mom of a boy, so I know it's not easy, but I have my dad here, so that helps.
I wouldn't worry about your son's actions, but if I were you I would talk to him about how some kids might tease him for his choice to wear dresses. You can make it clear that you support him no matter what he wants to do, but also warn him that the world is not always as kind and understanding as those who know him, and love him, best.
Best wishes to you...
Found this online, hope it helps.
You say you know this is coming from all the girls at daycare dressing like princesses. How about going to a costume store and getting some boy costumes for your son - costumes that are made with real fabric - not plastic ones.
Or if you know someone who sews...get them to make some "boy dress-ups" for your son. Examples might be: pirate, cowboy, king, soldier, policeman, and so on.
Also - you could send (to daycare) old shirts, hats, shoes from your husband or from the men's section of a thrift store. You may want to make sure that you don't get drab, plain colors. Take your son along to a thrift store and let choose some "dress-up" items from the big boys or men's section.
Personally, I would STOP letting him wear dresses. Perhaps if you take him along to a store and let him help choose his own clothes - maybe that will help.
I had a daughter who told us she wanted to be a boy when she was 4 years old. She even had her BOY name choosen. Part of her wanting to be a boy stemed from her grandparents letting her male cousin go without a shirt but when she asked to - she was told "no, girls have to always wear their shirts." She became a big tomboy - played all sorts of sports - was the only girl on a football team and the only girl on a baseball team. Now, she is all grown up. She is in the Army Reserve but also likes to be girly. She paints her nails and wears cute girl clothes but still prefers pants over dresses and the best part is that she is a mom now.
I say trust your instincts! Your son sounds happy and healthy, and very creative and full of imagination. These are all great things for him to be! Plus, you seem very accepting and loving. So he is going to be fine!
My personal opinion- let him play and try all sorts of new things. It's very unlikely that this means anything long term, except that he's a clever and creative boy! Kids don't have our hangups and society-established ideas of what's appropriate. I would worry about refusing to let him dress up and play this way, because THAT may create issues. But you know your son best, and you have to decide what you think is right for him.
And honestly, as a former elementary school teacher, I've seen kids bully and pick on each other about everything possible. From hair to shoes to habits to parents to everything. He'll learn, like all kids, how to live and thrive with others.
And with your help, he'll love himself no matter what!
awwww :-) I stongly believe in letting kids figure out who THEY are. Our job is to support them in that process and just make sure they don't get hurt. Are you a single mom? Because I worry about that with my son since I am single and my son doesn't have a stong male role model. If there are some males around, what I would do in your situtation is to encourage more time with the men in his life. Let the guys hang out, so to speak. Have them take him to ball games, to the park, to play a sport and go to museums. Hope this helps :-)
This is a tough one. You want to let him be himself even if that means dressing up in girls dresses but you also want to protect him from being teased. Can you let him dress up at home? Let home be a safe place.
Hi C., I dont think you should allow yourself to become to bothered by it. Growing up, I remember my then four year old brother would cry for my dresses and want ribbons in his hair. My mother made me share a few stuff with him and he had some pictures taken while the phase lasted.
Today he is all man and all macho and will not allow us to post up his "pretty" pictures... It is likely to just be a phase of him thinking girls look prettier in their clothes.
You are a single mom and it is what your son knows. He loves you and wants to mimic you. Plus girl things are soft and comforting to him. The same thing happened with my nephew because his mom was a single mom as well. He is now almost 12 and very much a boy. If you want him to show more interest in boy things then you need to show interest in them also. But don't worry too much yet. He is only 3 and hasn't been exposed to much of the world. Consider pre-school or playdates where he can be introduced to other boys since soon he will want to mimic friends as well as Mom. Above all, love him for who he is not who he should be.