Almost Four.. Boy.. Wants Me to Paint His Nails. When Do I Stop!

Updated on April 05, 2011
E.L. asks from Reno, NV
22 answers

So, my little boy sees me paint my nails and wanting to be like mommy, he wants me to paint his; and I do. I let him pick the color and we go to town! I explain, usually girls only paint their nails and so on, but for the most part, I don't make a big production out of it. Two questions here.. When should I say "No" - Should I say "No"? And then, I get people that make somewhat rude comments. "he's a boy... what do you paint his nails for?' (They act like I take him to get manicures or something!) "Hmmmm, a little boy painting his nails, wonder what THAT means?" My comments to these people are pretty much along the lines of..."Really, are you serious?" but what do I even say!? They make such a big deal out of it. I don't think its a big deal. What do you think?

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answers from Minneapolis on

Them: "he's a boy... what do you paint his nails for?'
Me: "because he asks."

Them: "Hmmmm, a little boy painting his nails, wonder what THAT means?"
Me: "That means that his mommy loves him very much and he is free to enjoy his childhood."

I'd stop when he wants to stop. There are boys in my neighborhood that like their nails painted too and they are very well balanced and healthy people. Honestly. There are MUCH more important things to focus on than nail (or hair) choices.

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answers from Stockton on

I personally would've never started, - but to each his own - my brother when he was in high school used to paint his nails black.....he is normal - i don't really think that there is anything WRONG with it, just not something that I would do to my son. If when he is older he chooses to do that, then i guess we will cross that bridge then....LOL ~ I certainly wouldn't be judging anyone though. I think it is normal for a boy to see his mom doing that and want to do it. They don't understand that it's "for girls" them it's just being included in something mama is doing. I wouldn't stress about it - do what you think is best. It is really no one elses business.

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answers from Boston on

Paint them as long as he wants it. Ignore the rude comments, or come up with a snappy comeback. Q: "What do you paint his nails for?" A: "Because he's creative and asks for it. Why does it bother you so much?" Q: "Wonder what THAT means?" A: "Why don't you tell me?" If they say what they are thinking "Because maybe he's gay," you can say "Good heavens, what in the world would be wrong with that?" If they are REALLY persistent and follow the "gay" theme which is really what they are getting at, you can respond, "The primary problem with being gay is meeting judgmental people" or "I didn't think anyone really thought that way anymore."

It's not a big deal. Just laugh at them gently and shake your head like you cannot believe THEM. Turn the tables.

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answers from Seattle on

My son likes wearing all my clothes that doesnt fit me. He loves painting his nails, He was a witch in a girl dress and everything two years ago for halloween. He loves make-up. He loves to play the girl parts in the role playing play at school. My family is very homophobic. I am not, my best guy friend came out when he was 19.

Do I think my son will be gay? nope. My family and my hubbies mom have made fun of him to his face, behind his back and in front of me. Mama bear comes out to defend him. He will just be a more sensitive gentleman.

You tell those people that he is a growing little boy who doesnt need comments from others to dictate how he should act. They dont get on little girls for wanting to play sports!!! they think it is good. endearing even, she embrace her manly side. BS little boys then can have girlie sides and not need to take heat.

Dont say no. let him do it. if you say no, it is like holding the candy up really really high for him to see yet you wont let him try it. He will slowly work through it. my son is a ballet loving, princess playing(castles and all) make-up loving boy. There are so few who support of dont make fun of him for it. So, my house is a safe house for him. he can do and wear as he pleases. He knows mommy will have no repercussions. when my hubby gets home i normally have to step in and calm my hubby down. yes he too has a hard time with it. it took me pulling teeth and hair to get him to ok b bop going into his ballet class. Do his nails...let them be loud and wild. Just tell any one who asks to mind their own, and let them know you dont need to explain why your son has his nails painted.

Sorry this question is near and dear to my heart. I have been defending my son for so long. He loves girls. Mine started young about three...sorry i keep glancing up and see something new in question i have not answered.

Hang in there. Just be glad you will have a boy that is more sensitive!! If you have questions..or more concerns...or how to rid yourself of the bully parents out there..let me know. I am very very much use to them now. I have been walking this path with him for awhile now. I will never make him feel silly for it. I just hope embracing it with him does make him a better man when he is older. If it does turn out he is gay....oh well, i will love him no matter. Will i let people go see i told you so. NOPE. I dont know what the plan is for my b bop. i think it is too soon at the age of almost six though to label him a gay pride parader for life!

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

OH for the love of God!!!
People can be so rude can't they?
In a couple years he will be in school and probably in baseball and soccer. Your nail painting days are numbered, enjoy them.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Your son is still probably too young too realize that nail polish is meant for girls, so keep painting them. Who cares what people think. My husband always tells me that Im going to turn our 2 yr old son "gay" because I put blush on him when Im doing my make-up and I let him play with my makeup brushes. Hello! he is 2, and wants to be like his mommy!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

My son is 3 too, and I paint his nails for him. In fact last time he had purple nails and pink toes. There is nothing wrong with it. He wants his nails painted like his Mommys and little sister (21 months)

At first I was iffy about it, and I would say things like don't you want blue, or green polish instead of pink?? But then I realized that I was doing the exact thing that I said I never would with my kids. Who am I to say if my son can't like the colors pink or purple?

As I'm typing this he is running around with superhero underwear on his head and purple nailpolish on his fingers. I will never tell him to not do something he wants because "people/kids will make fun of him". He is a child and life is going to be tough enough when he is older. I am going to let him be as free spirited as he wants as long as possible.

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answers from San Diego on

What's the big deal? The kid is four and probably is just having fun spending that time with you. He'll surely outgrow it when he gets to school or even before. Enjoy this time with him. Forget what other people say!

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answers from Albuquerque on

You paint his nails for as long as he wants you to. If that means 4, 5, 6, 8, then whatever. He's probably not going to be asking you to paint his nails at 13... so don't stress. To answer your question, I don't think I'd ever say no. It's a form of self expression and a very healthy stage for any child... wanting to be like a parent. I have a four year old daughter who likes to dress up as Spiderman and Superman. People ask me all the time if she's a boy. She has long curly hair and wears pink everything with her costumes so I usually just look at the person like they're an idiot. If that doesn't work for you, reply with "why do you ask?"

People are dumb sometimes.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I wouldn't worry about it. He'll surely out grow it. Maybe you could switch to clear if it really bothers people, but I wouldn't.

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answers from Milwaukee on

We just use washable markers. My OPI polish is my luxury item!

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answers from Washington DC on

I'd stop when it bothers him. When he gets to school, you might want to say that other people may not understand why a boy would like his nails painted but if he still wanted to have them done sometimes, you can always take it off for school.

It's like how girls can be pirates and knights and boys "aren't supposed" to be princesses and fairies for Halloween. It's somehow OK for a boy to cook but not have a toy baby doll?

I'd tell people, "It means he likes to have fun. Hrm, and adult who thinks a child playing dress up is wrong. Wonder what THAT means?"

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I have two boys, now 11 and 14, who are "all boy." They went through the nail painting stage too. I just went with and they grew out of it on their own. I just ignored rude comments. Most of them came from the grandparents, but a few dads of their friends chimed in. I tried to stick to more masculine colors like blue, green and silver (which happen to be our school colors also). Sometimes we alternated colors every other finger, which makes it look a little more funky. You could also limit it to toes, which aren't seen as much. So, my advice is that it is a normal stage many boys go through, he will outgrow it on his own and just ignore the rude comments or come up with a humorous comeback. Also, what about using the colors of a local sports team and he'll just look like he's a very spirited fan!!

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answers from Provo on

I really think people need to do what makes them happy. If your little guy is happy when you paint his nails then other people need to chill out. He will decide on his own when it is time to stop. Some people are just so rude. Some men are able to also be in touch with their feminine side and usually make great husband.

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answers from Jacksonville on

If he likes it and is comfortable, let him. His whole life he will have people commenting one way or another on most of his choices. Might as well learn now that it doesn't matter what other people think of him. If its something he consistently wants done I would make available a variety of colors (black, green, orange, blue, etc.). I know several guys who still paint their nails black. Come to think of it, not one of them is gay. Some people are just more into fashion and like to express themselves through what they wear.

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answers from Bakersfield on

Hi Mama-
People can be so rude!
If you want to stop painting his nails, perhaps start teaching him about nail upkeep. Skip the color yourself for a while and start buffing and polishing with one of those 4 part cube shaped buffers you get at Target for $2. You refine, buff, and shine your nails into looking like they have a shiny clear coat on them. Make sure his nails are trim, even, and clean underneath. Your children will follow your lead. It doesn't mean that he is or isn't gay because you paint his nails. He wants to do what his mommy does because he adores his mother. But again, if you are concerned, then switch it up. If you want it to stop (this is 100% your decision, so don't let anyone pressure you), then explain to him the non color version of nail care. When it comes down to it, it's all about pride in appearance, right?
You know, even my hubby likes a home mani-pedi. He soaks his feet, he scrubs them and rinses them. One of us gets out the peppermint foot lotion. We clean and file the nails/trim them, and then I go to town with the buffer. My hubby has the prettiest toes, paint free. And then we do mine. And then, it's fingernails time. We like the more natural look for us anyway, but really...a clean, well kept set of hands and feet are something to be personally proud of. Again, IF, and I say that with a big I-F, you are wanting to switch from polish to no polish, move into personal grooming. If you don't care but want a more masculine color, try some nudes. There are also matte polishes, now, too. And if you don't care at the moment, then do as you will and realize that a good portion of people are just...well, plain rude. There isn't much you can do about that except to teach your little one that that kind of behavior is damaging to yourself and those around you and is not acceptable. If you are teaching him this while you are out and about, especially while someone is being rude to you, it will drive your point home and teach your son a lesson on patience, propriety, and self esteem all at the same time.

-E. M

Hey, aren't there alot of boys who paint their nails black and blue and purple and green, anyway? Something about the punk rock style?

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answers from Rochester on

I guess if it were me I would explain that it's for girls and say no...but I don't paint my nails anyhow. I don't really see anything wrong with it...

...and just a funny story, my husband, when he was in high school, was very "out there" (I guess you could say...we were punks the way it used to be defined, none of this "emo" stuff) and he used to paint stripes on his nails. Now, I am SO sure, if we had a son he would NEVER let me paint his nails. Never. But then again, he doesn't like it when I paint his daughters nails there you go.

I don't think it's a big deal...but people can be rude.

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answers from Chicago on

Oh hell, my son carries around one of my purses with all of his matchbox cars in it.
We get the "commentary" from people, like "oh, does he have a boyfriend yet??". Depending on who it is, I either laugh it off, or bite back if I think they're being mean.

Use clear polish on him. :) Good compromise. I'd tell him that "clear is for boys, color is for girls", and see if you can get him to go with that. That's what I've done with my little guy (3) who wants his painted too.

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answers from Dallas on

My boy asks and I had to tell him that other kids would make fun of him because its a girl thing. Then I tell him all the boy things that his sister doesnt get to do. He just doesnt want to be left out. So, we have compromised. I will sometimes paint his nails clear. He's ok with that.

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answers from Norfolk on

When my son was about 3 yrs old, he wanted this too.
I got a glow in the dark nail polish (it's popular around Halloween) and used that on him.
You can't see it at all during day light, but if you put it under a bright light for a few minutes it glows for a little while in the dark.
He had so much fun with his glowing toes and using a bright flash light to 'charge' them up.

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answers from San Antonio on

Tell him that when he turns four he can only use clear polish. Men do get manicures but usually only buff or have a clear coat put as he get to be a big boy...he will have to have a big boy manicure.


answers from Bloomington on

You must have a laid back husband. My little guy wanted his painted, so I pretended with a clean eyeshadow brush, but my hubby would be pissed if I really painted them! I don't think it's a huge deal, but I think I'd begin using clear before he begins school.

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