Daughter Says She’s a Boy

Updated on May 06, 2018
K.C. asks from San Clemente, CA
26 answers

My daughter just turned two this month and for the last two weeks has been saying she’s a boy. It started out of nowhere and has now been a pretty consistent thing. At times she’ll correct me if I say something to the affect of “you’re a big girl or you’re a sweet girl”.

She can almost 100% of the time accurately identify the correct gender of other people and cartoon characters.

I’m wondering if anyone else has experienced this. Was it just a phase? She also at times tells me she’s 5 but always eventually will admit she’s two, but with the her declaration of being a boy, she’s never once accmnowledged that she’s a girl.

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J.G.

answers from Chicago on

My last child insisted she was the opposite sex for a while. I came to learn she wanted to be a boy because she loved her brother so much. Kids under the age of 5 are just learning how the categories of the world work. None of it means anything. My son wore costume dresses at 2-3 when they would get out the dress up stuff. It meant nothing.

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J.C.

answers from Philadelphia on

My daughter used to tell people she was married. She had 3 husbands, James, Jim and Jimmy. I never once wondered if she was living in an alternate universe. Kids say all kinds of things. You are reading way too much into this.

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N.K.

answers from Miami on

For goodness' sake, she is only two, stop over-analyzing this. I used to tell my family members that I was a lamb until I was about the age of 5, I used to communicate by saying "baahh, meehh" and unless I was addressed as "little lamb" I did not respond to anyone. I don't have wool, don't live on a farm, or eat clover, I am a human, and a woman. I know boys who say they are Superman or Batman, let them be. It's good to have an imagination and live a carefree life, as a child, before reality and rules set in.

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S.T.

answers from Washington DC on

why do you feel the need to 'correct' her?

whether she's actually awakening to being transgender or (more likely) a toddler exploring her world and trying on a bewildering array of mental costumes, i'd let her roll with it.

at 8 i was still pretty sure i was a horse stuck in a girl's body. didn't stop me from having a relatively normal life.
khairete
S.

15 moms found this helpful
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S.B.

answers from Houston on

My son thought he was batman. He had bat pjs and everything. I think you are overthinking.

9 moms found this helpful

C.T.

answers from Santa Fe on

It's most likely a funny 2 year old phase, but only time will tell. It's very common for kids this age to start trying to understand gender. Just enjoy playing with her and let her have fun pretending what she wants. At ages 2-5 my son always wanted to be a girl character when doing pretend and always wanted to wear skirts and dresses and have his aunt paint his fingernails. He loved pink and sparkles. He loved his friend's princess dresses! We thought, well, we love him any way he is in life and so we just played along with it and let him enjoy pretending to be a girl. Then he completely stopped and outgrew it at age 5. He is 14 now and definitely gets crushes on girls and last year had a girlfriend at school that his friends all teased him about. Most likely this is just a 2 year old trying to figure out the world. Don't worry about it.

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D..

answers from Miami on

She's two! You're acting like she's in grade school.

Stop paying attention to any of this, including her quoting a different age. She's getting a reaction out of you, and that's what she wants.

7 moms found this helpful
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J.M.

answers from New York on

She is two. It means nothing. My 4 year old son says he is the Flash. That he is 15. And when he grows up he will marry his sister. This issue is we as society have gender identified dresses and dolls as girls. And pants and cars as boys. I’m not one of those people that necessarily have a problem with it. But I am not going to deny that we do that. So maybe she prefers playing in the dirt and pants. She may thrn think she is a boy because she likes syeteotypical boy things. The only way to clearly identify a gender is to say girls have vaginas and boys have penises. Usually when a child has a younger sibling, diaper changes clearly let them see what the difference is. At two, I wouldn’t pay it the least bit of attention.

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M.D.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Suz's response reminds me that when one of mine was 2, he decided he was a dog and wanted to eat and drink from a bowl on the floor without using hands. I took some really great pictures - I pull them out when I need to smile. At that same time he also very sadly told me that Mr Joe (his daycare provider) told him that he had to walk on 2 legs at school (since he was a dog, he wanted to go on 4 legs).

He's a normal - although still very imaginative - elementary schooler now, who sits at the table to eat with utensils and consistently walks on 2 legs.

So my vote - a 2 year old phase. Is it possible that she's trans? Yes, but I don't think it does you or her any good to jump to the conclusion now. Just go with it and let her be 2.

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D.P.

answers from Pittsburgh on

She's TWO YEARS OLD!!

don't give her attention when she corrects you about her being a boy.
don't encourage and don't discourage, just let her be.

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T.S.

answers from San Francisco on

I wouldn't read anything into it. At this age she's just as likely to tell you next week that she is a puppy, or a fairy :-)

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Z.B.

answers from Toledo on

She's 2. This is perfectly normal. She doesn't know what being a girl means. She doesn't know what being a boy means. She's 2.

I know everyone meant well when mentioning the possibility that your daughter is transgender, but she's 2!!! This is just waaaaaay too soon to be thinking about that.

Relax, and just let her say what she wants (without you telling her she's wrong). I'd be very, very surprised if she didn't grow out of it.

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D.B.

answers from Boston on

Let it go. You cannot win an argument with a toddler. If she is truly trans, you'll know over the years as she is more consistent and more articulate. I know quite a few trans people and they knew from an early age that they were improperly assigned a gender.

Just call her by her name or by some neutral term of endearment (sweetie, my wonder child, cute stuff, or anything you enjoy).

You might ask yourself what it means to "accurately identify the the correct gender of other people" - why is that important, and what criteria are you using to identify people? You're probably wrong at least 10% of the time anyway, but it also focuses on people's looks and that's just a really bad road to go down with anyone, especially children. Use gender neutral terms as much as you can: "The person in the blue shirt" and "the people walking the dog." There's a person who has worked at my supermarket for 10 years at least, and I still have no idea what gender this employee is. It's okay because the person is helpful and makes great stuff in the bake shop. I've never needed to know the gender.

If she says she's 5, play along. If she says she's a pirate, play along. If she corrects you, just say, "Okay. I forgot." Don't dwell on it. Imaginative play is important anyway, and it's not necessary to constantly correct someone.

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P.C.

answers from New York on

It's a phase! I used to crawl around and bark and pretend I was a dog. Please just let her be an imaginative 2 year old.

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C.N.

answers from Baton Rouge on

It may be a phase, she may be pretending (my daughter claimed to be a cat), or she may be trans. Don't put her in a box just yet. Go along with what she says she is and see what happens. If she decides that she's a giraffe, then you'll know that it's just an active imagination. If she persists in calling herself boy, then she may actually be a boy.

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G.♣.

answers from Springfield on

My niece did that. Her parents didn't really do anything. They just let her be and let her say she's a boy. In her case it was really more along the lines of liking "boy" things. She was a very rough and tumble kid. It was absolutely a phase. A couple of years later, and you wouldn't have remembered that she did that. She's 18 now, and her favorite color is pink (and has been for several years).

Just let her be. She isn't doing anything wrong. She's just exploring her world and making comments and observations. She's not hurting anyone by saying she's a boy. I would just let it go and not worry about it. Definitely don't try to make her admit she's a girl. I wouldn't even do that with her age. If she wants to say she's 5, just let her be 5. It's not something you need to correct.

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B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

What harm would it do to humor her?
Start saying she's a sweet child or a big kid.
At around 3 years old our son decided that girls were yucky but half his friends were girls and he still played with everyone.
When I told him that I was a girl, he got mad and declared that I was NOT a girl - I was Mommy!
Kids say the darnedest things.
Don't take it too seriously.

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M.G.

answers from Portland on

I can relate to what some moms mention below.

My kids went through phases. They never said they were the opposite gender, no. They certainly did things that went against societal stereotypical norms.

The thing is, the more you ask her about it and have her point to characters and ask if they are boy or girl, the more attention you're giving this. The more she's then going to make it into a game. Two year olds are notorious for this and will really play it up.

I would drop it - entirely and just let it go.

In six months to a year, if she's still calling herself a boy, you can mention it to her pediatrician if you feel the need. Some parents feel that's helpful if concerned. The doctor has a reference point and can follow up at the next appointment. The parents can just focus on celebrating their child for who they are.

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J.J.

answers from Buffalo on

Does she want to dress like a boy or play with boy stuff? Just saying she's a boy at this age really doesn't mean anything. Gosh...a lot of kids don't even really talk much at that age. My dd used to say she had a sister (she's an only child) and she would tell everyone her sister's name.... (news to me!) - My point is that toddlers say all sorts of things...I'd let it go in one ear and out the other.
Anyway, I wouldn't put too much time into this at 2 years old!

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S.S.

answers from Atlanta on

Kiersten

Just let her be. DO NOT try and correct her.

PLEASE DO NOT allow her to do a sex change before she's 18. Don't encourage her to change who she is. Just let her be. The more attention you give her for it, the more "fun" it will be to her.

Just move on. Don't press her, etc.

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K.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

For now, let it go. If she wants to be a boy, let her be a boy. At this age (or really any age), kids should be doing the same activities and playing with the same toys anyway. If she wants to be referred to as "he," just do it. It may be a phase that lasts a week, a few months, a few years. Or, it might not be a phase at all.

My sister's next door neighbor was a boy who insisted he was a girl, pretty much since he learned to talk. For awhile, the parents let him be a girl at home (wear dresses, etc) but not in public. Before he entered kindergarten, they decided to switch over and raise him/her completely as a girl for as long as she wanted. She chose a girl's name and went to kindergarten as a girl. While the administrators know that she is genetically male, the kids do not and they all just know her as a girl.

Just be accepting and let her know you love her whether she's a boy or a girl, and see where it goes.

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M.P.

answers from Portland on

I suggest that she continues to insist she's a boy because you are focused on it. I suggest you ignore it. Call her a boy if she wants. Don't question it. Don't ask questions.

I think she'll eventually stop. I'd put being a boy into the same category as having a sister.

I urge you to not explore transgender issues. My grand(daughter/grandson) in high school said she is transgender. There is no way one can get ready for that. I looked up information on the Internet. It was confusing and frightening and didn't help me at all. What has helped me is to accept and treat her as I would treat anyone who isn't transgender.

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R.B.

answers from San Francisco on

She might turn out to be transgender, she might very well not. If this continues a few years, be prepared for the former. Meanwhile, it's easy to keep gender out of your discussion. "You're my precious!" "You're my sweet baby!" "You're my wonderful child!" Etc. You can lightly humor whatever she says, without giving it a lot of weight.

Like others say, she's probably pretending, but it never hurts to open your mind to a possibility that your child might be different. I recall when one of mine would say at 2 years old, "When I be a girl I will do this..." or "When I be a dog I will do that..." He didn't turn out to be either a girl or a dog, but he did turn out to be gay, which because I had never considered the possibility, initially took some adjusting to.

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J.C.

answers from Anchorage on

Since it clearly upsets her when you call her a girl try to stop for now, you can use gender neutral terms. Also, if she wants to present in a more "boy" fashion let her, whatever that means for her. My son (although he has always said he is a boy) also likes to wear his hair and fingernails long and prefers to dress gender neutral, it is just who he is. This may be a phase or it may be the start of something more but either way there is no need to stress about it yet, just be neutral with her and let her find her way.

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K.J.

answers from Portland on

You should watch the reality show, Jazz. It follow a boy who since he was 5 identified as a girl. The parents & her are amazing so it might help you. Let her be herself, she where it goes. Just support her no matter what!!!

Updated

You should watch the reality show, Jazz. It follow a boy who since he was 5 identified as a girl. The parents & her are amazing so it might help you. Let her be herself, she where it goes. Just support her no matter what!!!

1 mom found this helpful
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M.J.

answers from Sacramento on

I know it can vary a lot when transgender people figure out their true gender. For friends of ours, their son didn't until middle school, but I know it can happen much younger. You might read up on transgender information sites. Two is very young and it's entirely possibly it's like when I insisted I had pink hair as a kid. Might be a good question for the pediatrician.

Next question: My Three Years Old Daughter Says Almost Everyday Let's Pretend I Am a Boy?