5-Yr Old Boy Mostly Plays with Girls at School

Updated on May 11, 2010
S.S. asks from San Francisco, CA
29 answers

My kindergartner boy plays more with girls than boys at school. From what he tells us he does play with boys on occasion, but all of his close friends are girls - about 4-5 of them. When I drop him off at school, he talks with the boys while in line, so he's not anti-social with boys, but I know he does not have a close guy friend. I attribute this to the fact that he's a very mild-mannered boy. He has NO interest in superheroes, monster trucks, sports, or "typical" boy interests. For the most part, at least. He has a 3-yr old brother who IS into cars and trains, and will play these things w/him. He fights and wrestles with his brother like brothers normally do. He's very sweet, imaginative, creative and artistic. Also very social, funny and not shy. When it comes to his boy classmates, they are just so different from him. When I observe the other boys just in line in the morning, they're all play-hitting/fighting, chasing, etc. At a birthday party, all the boys piled on top of each other and just tackled/hit each other. Totally not what my son is into, at least not to that extent.

So, he's not an outcast, he's not an oddball, but I'm just wondering if anyone else has a little boy like mine and if having girls as best friends is normal at this age.

Another related issue, his teacher seems to be concerned about his "preoccupation" with girls and the fact that he holds hands with them and talks about marrying them. I figure this is just imaginative play...right? I also have a feeling it's the girls that feed the marrying ideas to him...he never talks about this stuff at home. I'm not too worried about it, but just wondering what her exact concern is. Plan on discussing with her soon.

Can anyone relate to my "dilemma"?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Wow, so many great responses! Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts! All *very* helpful and reassuring. Will keep you posted...

Featured Answers



answers from Honolulu on

Its not a big deal... and yes, ALL children this age "pretend play" and imagine getting "married" to some girl or boy.
MY daughter's Teacher in Preschool and Kinder, says this is all normal.
And many of my daughter's classmates did this too.

all the best,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I have a daughter that plays more with the boys than girls. She has girl friends, has a best friend, and yes does play with the girls. But she also plays with the boys. At one point when she was younger, she played more with the boys (though they were not allowed to hit or play fight other than pretending they had swords or something like that). As for saying he is going to marry one of the girls, that is very normal for that age. Sometimes when they are little the child says they will marry their mom/dad. As long as he is playing with both, I would not worry about it but would talk to him about it when it comes up just so he understands later how different kinds of relationships form.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

"Normal at this age" doesn't mean much in many areas...and I think this is one of those areas.
A lot of boys are very rough and any boy who doesn't like it, ends up playing with girls, at least for a while. Don't worry about it.
I have had my boys--who, frankly, I think are pretty rough-and-tumble!-- come home from school talking about boys they have been playing with who cheat regularly and get rough, like pushing kids off of the base in baseball so their team can brag about "winning" the game, and so forth---not bullying, just extreme competitiveness. I always tell them to try to solve the problem, but if they won't change, stop playing with them because it isn't worth it, it just takes all of the fun out of playing.

As for the marriage talk...kids can be talk to use different words and phrases for their friendships.
And by the way, as far as hand holding, I worked as a yard duty for years, and up through First Grade I used to sometimes even see TWO BOYS holding each others hands! Kids hold hands with each other out of friendship and affection, just like they will hold a parent's hand. I would not be worried unless he starts holding hands with adults he doesn't know.
I used to have children I had never even seen before run up and physically grab me from behind and squeeze my body---now THAT is a social problem and something to be concerned about. A five year old holding hands with another five year old is normal. =)

More Answers


answers from Fresno on

I have the opposite issue. My daughter is in Kindergarten and only wants to play with the boys! She loves cars, trucks, dragons, and super heroes. Like your situation, my little one will come home and play Barbies with her big sister and seems to enjoy dress-up and tea parties like other girls, but she is just more comfortable playing rough and tumble with the boys. I am fine with it, personally. I think it will help her long-term to understand how boys think and play. My other daughter (who is very girly and thinks boys are gross) has a hard time when the boys tease her or pull her ponytails. It makes her cry, and she doesn't understand how this could possibly mean the boys like her - she thinks they hate her and it's just constant drama. With my younger one, I don't think she'll ever have this issue since all the boys are her friends and she knows how they play.

So I would look at this as a blessing in disguise. Your son will grow up understanding how girls think, and he will always have girl friends who adore him. We've all got a friend like that, right? These are the guys who always had dates in high school with girls lined up wanting to go places with them, sit with them at lunch, etc. I think it's a good thing for your son!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I'm not sure what it is that you are asking here. Children are friends with other children. Did you want him to fight?
To answer your question, I have two boys with different personalities. One prefers to be read to, the other likes to break things. I'm figuring that it's in their personalities to be this way. I do encourage them to try new things, but really don't get hung up on what are "boyish" things and what is "normal".
As far as his teacher, I have found that many adults with personal relationship problems tend to see that in others. It's disturbing that his teacher thinks that your son engaging in normal imaginative play with other children (girls or boys) is wrong, or should be interpreted as "abnormal". I hope that you are looking into getting him into another class, or at least understanding that she is way out of line.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

If your son is happy then don't worry. He is who he is.

My youngest son did have boy "friends" but he did not like most boy things. He did like superheroes, but no sports at all. What he loved most was drawing and artistic things. His brother is a sports fanatic. Yes, it hurt him a little, but it wasn't his interest and so we encouraged him at what he liked and was good at to further his self-esteem. If you son loves art then find him an art class away from his school. He may meet some boys in there that are more his type and like to do what he likes.

I understand your concern. You do want your son to bond with boys, but you may have to work at it a bit and ferret out other situations that will help him feel he can fit in.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

My son who is now 22 was like that as a child. He never did like the rough and tumble play. He was the kid later who got into the solo sports, like rock clibming , hiking, fishing and bike sports. He isn't into the team sports on TV and is super smart in computer knowledge. He is in college for advertising and is the top of his class. He never was a nerd or anything or even considered the smart one, he is extremely handsom and has a steady girlfriend now. But growing up he was better friends with the girls too. He is and always was extremely artistic in all he does and will be making $$ when he graduates from school next year. Sooooo what I am trying to say is let him be who he instinctively is and is comfortable with and have no fears of it not being normal boys play. Each individual is unique and it is OK to be different than the boys at school. Diversity in the world makes it less boring.and stereotyping is a negetive thing to do.
Hope this helps you to understand your Sons way of being.
Boys will be boys, but they don't have to be the dirty boys with bruises.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

One of life's hardest lessons is learning to be who were are at our cores.

As much as I try to get along with most other women, most of my friends have always been guys. They're more interested in the same things as I am - I could care less about shopping, never have had a pedicure, chose to work vs. SAHM. I do have female friends, but they are people I've been able to find who are more like me vs. most of the women I tried to fit in with all my life.

My point is that if he were my child and wanted to be with the girls more, I'd be OK with it. I wouldn't want him to try to be someone he's not. You may find he's simply more interested in other things than the average boys and may end-up being wildly successful in his life because he's genuine to himself.

I'd ask the teacher what she means by his preoccupation with girls. The girls in his class may just have accepted him more, and that's where he feels comfortable. Kids change so much so quickly - it may be a phase based upon personalities for now.

So, good luck. I'd open the lines of communication with him as much as possible to better understand why he prefers what he does and encourage him to do what makes him feel the best.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Cloud on

I always played with boys......less drama! My husband always played with girls. I think your son is totally normal.

I think that it's sweet that your son holds hands with girls. Not sure why your teacher thinks that's a concern. Also, I remember 3 boys in kindergarten that were going to "marry" me.

Oh, and my six year old son has a best friend that is a girl. They are so close it's as if they are siblings. Don't worry! :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Nothing wrong with it. That happens many times, there are phases..just relax... ....I would be more concerned if my kid would not hold hands with girls...(lol) Teachers say many things, there are good and not good ones (sorry!) ....but what I have learned is that they are not always right.
Seriously, in my opinion he is doing fine. What it really worries me A LOT is the constant preoccupation at school about silly things and the efforts of looking for syndromes, "behavioral problems", and so forth. What are adults trying to put in our kids' minds? It is unbelievable. I am sorry to say this, but there are so many questions about the same kind of problems, that is becoming very worrisome.
Again, there is nothing wrong with your precious child. Always talk to him openly, ask specific questions, let him trust you and teach him to tell you about his feelings and ideas and suggestions, that way you will get to know very well your child, and will know what and who is wrong, and what and who is right. Believe in your son.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I think this is being made into a bigger deal than it needs to be. When my son was very little, there were a lot of little girls on our block. Not only did THEY like fussing over him and dragging him around, he loved the attention! In kindergarten he had several girl friends and sometimes they played general games and sometimes 'house' or 'cooking' etc. Now at 10, he has friends of both genders, but seems to be more slated towards boys at the moment. But- I am glad that he's learned how to be friends with girls.

I would look into this teacher's 'concern'. It sounds like perfectly ordinary play to me- kids play 'getting married' 'I love you' stuff all the time at that age. If she means that it is not appropriate to do so at SCHOOL , that's one thing. But if she is implying that something is 'wrong' with your son for participating, then she is the one with 'issues', not your son.

Some kids like different kinds of games. Some boys like playing gentler games and some girls are tomboys. Just love your child for who he is and don't worry so much about it!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I would not worry about this. Your son sounds pretty wise to me – he knows the kind of playmates that he feels happiest playing with, and makes choices based on that knowledge. I remember I liked to hang out with boys in high school, 'cause I liked science, math and technology projects better than hairdos and shopping for clothes.

I find myself wondering whether your, or his teacher's, concern is about the possibility of his play being an early expression of homosexuality. It probably is not, but even if it were, that is not something that your son can help, and making him "man up" and play with the boys would not change that basic orientation. And the marrying thing is normal – my grandson has played like that in his preschool, and we even have one cute picture of him playing the bride. No biggie.

So if you are juggling that worry, I hope you will look closely at its roots, come to terms with it, and love your little guy like crazy simply for being the sweet, imaginative, creative and artistic human being that he is. His enhanced sensitivity might one day lead him to become a great artist, doctor, or psychologist.

And if the teacher keeps commenting about his choice in playmates, you might want to have a conversation with her about what her concerns are. Whatever his orientation, I hope you will protect you son from intimations that he's not "normal," or is in some way "less" than the other boys.

I know quite a few gay guys and women, including some in my religious community. They are just human, have the same hopes and wishes and skills and aspirations and joys and struggles as the rest of us. I have deep respect and appreciation for the gay people I know, in no small part because of the terrible prejudices I know they have had to face and overcome.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

It might be that girls that age play calmer and that's how he feels most comfortable playing. My son in Pre-K and K tended to gravitate toward the girls as well but I think a big part of it was all the kids on our street were girls except for much younger and older boys. He was just used to playing with the girls and their style of play. Just wait it will turn around, my son now 10, doesn't like to play with the girls ~ he says they are too "bossy".

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Maybe he is just a more calm mild personality. My son doesn't always want to be roughhousing and being aggressive. Have you ever spent much time around the boys in his class? Do you know their families? Maybe they just aren't very nice kids! (?)

My son doesn't like to play with kids who aren't nice, no matter WHO they are! And he has no problems being friends with or playing with girls. His very best friend in the world (though he wouldn't want to admit it) is his 8 yr old sister. He is 11. Our pastor's family has 4 girls, and BOTH my kids are excited for them to all come over and play. They are great friends.
Maybe the girls in your son's class just have a more similar sense of humor, or are smarter than the boys (seriously! my daughter is gifted and she has a tendency to not want to associate with kids that don't 'pick up' things as quickly as she does.. just because it can be tedious sometimes waiting for a slower kid to catch on to the game you are trying to play). Or maybe they are just nicer to him.

I wouldn't be concerned. On the occasions when I catch my son being a little like a "mother hen" to smaller kids, I don't worry that he is being too girly... I beam with love that one day he will make a wonderful father!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

When I was in kindergarten, I proposed marriage to my "boyfriend." I can't even remember his name, and I didn't have my first real boyfriend until I was 15 years old. As long as your son isn't trying to undress the little girls, I don't think he's unusually preoccupied. That teacher needs to find something else to worry about.

Furthermore, I read some of the other posts that talked about your son's orientation. I think this is kind of silly. I read nothing to indicate he was gay. If your daughter preferred to play with boys, would people assume she was gay? Unlikely, they would just call her a tomboy. Your son sounds gentle and thoughtful, and as long as he chooses nice people to be his friends, I wouldn't worry about whether they're boys or girls.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Redding on

I don't think you have anything to worry about. Your son is only 5.
I can tell you the honest truth, I remember being that age and a little older and we had play weddings all the time both at school and in the neighborhood in general. It's also true, yes, we did enlist the boys at our disposal because let's face it....none of us girls wanted to have to pretend to be a boy! It was just imaginative play. It's kind of cute when you think about it especially knowing that they haven't hit the "girls/boys are gross and make me sick" phase yet.
My son's very first best friend was a girl.
He was raised by me and his older sister and he was used to being around girls of all ages from the time he was a baby. He's always had girls who are friends.

Take it from me, I wouldn't worry about any of this until your son is 14 and girls decide they prefer the strong, but sensitive types. :)
That's another story.
On a side note, my daughter's best friend when she was little was a boy. They went everywhere, did every thing together. When we moved to a different town, he came and spent weekends with us. Sadly, we lost touch when his family moved out of the country, but we still have lots of pictures of the two of them. They were buddies. She had plenty of girls who were friends, but if she could only invite one person, or vice versa, they always picked each other.
I'm not surprised at all that girls like your son especially if the other boys tend to be rough and tumble all the time.
He sounds like a wonderful child to me.

I hope you get some great responses!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

My boy, who is now 12, played with girls till he was maybe 7 or 8. He's just a gentle guy, and didn't like to roughhouse. Switched at 7 or 8 to only boys, and now he is back to taking an interest in girls, definitely not gay. If he had been gay we would of course have accepted him as he is/ was, but what I am trying to say is that playing with girls at a young age has seemed to be no problem, and has not been connected to his sexuality.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

Is your son's teacher really old and conservative? I know she teaches 5-years but does she really understand kids? Some teachers teach but they don't have that true connection and understanding of the kids that they are teaching. And some teachers teach because they truly enjoy what they do and get as much enjoyment watching their students grow and learn new things and their students do about attending his/her class each day. That said, here's my own personal experience . . .

My 5-year old daughter has a BFF who happens to be a boy and sounds a lot like your little guy. He's friendly with everyone but seems to click better with the girls and the girls love having him around because he's so cute and they want to marry him someday. Pretty much all of the kids in my daughter's kindergarten class give each other hugs and hold hands. I do not have a problem with this at all. Soon enough, they won't be as lovey-dovey with each other and they won't be as innocent. I'd like my daughter to form friendships with the boys and girls in her class so that she has a good solid core group of friends that she can count on while she is going through elementary, middle and high school.

My son, who is in 1st grade, is friendly with everyone in his class but perfers to hang out with this one particular girl. All the guys in his class are cool with him but I think he likes this one girl because she is shy like him and that makes he feel really comfortable around her. I'd like him to be more social (his sister is definitely the extrovert in the family) but that's not his style and I'm not going to push him to be something that he is not. I may make suggestions here and there but, as I am getting older, I'm learning to let people be who they really are meant to be.

I hope this helps. Personally, I wouldn't worry about your son. I just don't think that your son's teacher really has a good understanding of the age group that she is teaching.

Good luck to you and your son!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Ah, he sounds like a really great boy. I wouldn't worry at all if he enjoys playing with the girls. Also, totally normal to for kids to talk about "marrying" each other. Yes, that's normal kid-play, most of us can remember that kind of thing from our own childhoods, right? There is also nothing wrong with kids holding hands, in my opinion, as long as both kids are happy with it. If the girl or girls aren't uncomfortable with it, I see no problem. Maybe it just makes the teacher uncomfortable, which is her problem. I would ask the teacher why she feels there is a problem. If one of the girls or one of the girl's parents shared with her that they were uncomfortable with his attention, then you can have a gentle conversation with him about that, but otherwise, I wouldn't worry at all.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Modesto on

I wouldn't worry too much. Everyone is different, and I always thought you played house in K. You might want to find a family with a boy in K that your son would want to hang out with or find some other mild-mannered boy and invite that family over alot. Girls are better at picking up on people that are shy so I can see how he has more friends for girls. Just try to get him around other boys so he can foster that type of relationship too. My daughter has a bestie who is a boy and she's in K, and when she started school they played all the time, and now they have gradually started to hang out with the same sex friends. It's something that typically happens in K, and I do playdates with other moms from her class with girls. I hope that helps, but nothing wrong with it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

same with my boy. He doesn't even like the movie Toy story or cars because its too scarey, and he doesn't like "pushy bossy" boys who try to wrestle. He just started to like "tackle tag" when for whatever reason discovered it wasn't to be mean.

Just let him be who he is. Maybe his verbal skills are more advanced and fits in more with girls... he'll figure it out. I personally think its horrible when parents try to "boys will be boys" "toughen" them up and encourage violent play and not crying. There's so many studies shown the HARM people do with that (you know... "walk it off" instead of "are you ok?")
he's sensitive.
let him be who he is.

: )
he'll get all the ladies later

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Both of my boys (6 and 12) are calm, less stereotypical boys. Neither is interested in team sports, though they both like swimming and golf. They love reading, talking, exploring outside, but aren't into rough-housing at all. They both get along well with both genders. My oldest had a female best friend until 2nd grade, but he got along well with boys too. Now most of his friends are boys, but they are calm boys. He has female friends as well. My youngest plays with the girl next door all the time, but plays with mostly boys at school. Sometimes he gets upset because they play a little too rough, but he's learning that some kids just play that way. He is just gentle. Neither of my boys went through the "marrying" phase, but I know lots of kids do.

I'm telling you this to let you know that nothing is wrong with your son. There are all types of little boys, and they all have positive attributes. Enjoy your little man. He sounds like a treasure!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on


Yep, this is my son exactly. Age 5, Kindergarten. His best friends are girls, he holds hands with them as he goes to recess. He even lamented to me that "there are so many nice girls, I just can't decide who to marry". My son is quiet, loves books. Like your son, is NOT shy. He is friendly, happy, well adjusted. . . he just doesn't like to play rough.

My husband is the same way, very gentle, a good listener. I think my son will be like him. And I am very o.k. with that!




answers from San Francisco on

I know I'm coming late to the game here, but I laughed reading this only because it sounds like you're writing about my son! I used to worry about him only playing with girls (he's next door with his two best girl friends as I write!), because I didn't want him to be teased. He's only 5! And that's exactly what his preschool teacher said to me a couple years ago- he's a mellow boy, so he seeks mellow people, who happen to be girls. My son currently has 5 "girlfriends", but recently "broke up" with one. I told him he didn't need to actually have them as "girlfriends", just "friends". He said, "But if I don't have them as girlfriends, how am I gonna know who I'm gonna marry?" Love the things they say... And like most other people said, his teacher sounds a little uneducated in this department... Enjoy your mild-mannered boy- I know I sure do!



answers from Sacramento on

It sounds like your little guy is destined to be more of a "fine arts" type when he grows up. There is nothing wrong with that. And it likely does have a lot to do with his choice of friends (or their choice of him as a friend).

As far as the teacher's concerns regarding him holding hands and talking about marrying the girls... I wonder if she has seen anything that would make her concern valid, or if she is just a little inexperienced in dealing with such issues with children this age? Holding hands and talking about marrying isn't all that big a deal. Little boys this age talk about marrying their mothers and little girls talk about marrying their fathers... and that's Ok too. It's just their way of beginning to learn about the world of romance. Now, if the teacher is seeing some sexual acting out from the kids, that may be another story entirely. Some children are exposed to inappropriate TV or movies at a young age and begin to try to imitate what they've seen... some, unfortunately, have even been exposed to the actual thing in their homes if parents are not careful, or if Mom or Dad 'entertain' a lot. If the teacher is seeing signs of that sort of activity, she probably needs your help in intervening with that situation, by you having a nice talk with your son about appropriate behavior between him and the girls. It doesn't need to be condemning or threatening... just simply letting him know you've heard that he and the girls are playing in such and such a way and that it isn't a good way for him to play. Give him words to tell the girls if they try to get him to join them in inappropriate play.
Finally, if it's at all possible, you and/or your husband may want to consider signing up to volunteer in his classroom. If one or both of you are available to spend one morning a week helping in the classroom, it will give you an excellent opportunity to see what is going on between your son and the other children, as well as you being a great help to the teacher.



answers from San Francisco on

Please let him be and dont sweat too much over this matter, he is 5 years old, let him be himself, and choose boys or girls to play with. Holding hands and wanting to have a girlfriend or five, its all innocent, please dont read too much into it. I think we as a society are too "Pink and Blue", enjoy this time with your son.

**His Teacher needs to chill out too and learn more about children this age, instead of alarming parents**




answers from Albany on

I have a bit of experience with children as I have 5 grown children (4 boys, 1 girl) and 5 grandchildren(4boys, 1girl) and I think the teacher can stop being "preoccupied" about your son's behaviour with girls. Some of my boys, and grandboys, were and are very good friends with girls at that age. Yes, they even spoke of marrying their little friends. They are pretending real life which is so normal. I wish people would just stop overthinking every action a child makes these days. Don't worry, things are fine. Just make sure they are not left alone for too long or they might just try and play "doctor" which is also a very normal, curious response from a child that age. The secret is how you repond to it.



answers from San Francisco on

I agree with what Elizabeth says...especially about the solo sports. My oldest son, who is like your son, loves long ocean swims, paddling, cross country and martial arts. He plays soccer, but really isn't into the team competition thing...and never has been.

My son is now 11 and I asked him for advice for you and he said that it would be a good idea to see if there is at least one boy who is more like your son. My son is now in 5th grade and has one good friend, a boy who loves to read, loves star wars and does martial arts, all things my son loves. It did take him some time to develop this friendship, and to be honest, last year we had some bulling issues, but martial arts helped build his confidence. He is really , really good at it and while I know he would never, ever "start" something, I am perfectly confident that he can defend himself if he needed to.

I think some boys mature a bit earlier than others and this make it easier for them to be less impulsive about the chasing, pushing physical stuff.

By the way, my oldest son is very much like my husband, who studied dance professionally before being injured. Yes, the stereotypes about male dancers are there...yes, he had to deal with it. But so what....He is an amazing, sensitive, and insightful father, husband and human being....These are qualities that we need to admire more in our sons...it makes them wonderful fathers.



answers from San Francisco on

A boy who grows up playing and relating well with girls will see them as just people... equals who deserve respect and contributing to life experiences just as well as anyone else. This attitude will take him farther in both his personal and professional lives... he's way ahead of the curve :)

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions