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Old 03-04-2013, 11:34 AM   #1
misskira
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Boys and nail polish

I feel silly that this is even bugging me, so I'm curious how others handle it. I am usually a frumpy mama and have recently been trying to feel pretty again. So I painted my nails magenta. Ds1 was super interested and asked me to paint his nails. I only had the pink, so I agreed to do his toe nails. I told him lots of people think pink is a girl color, but it was up to him. He still wanted them pink, so I did it. There are 2 little boys at preschool who are hypersensitive to "girl things" and "boy things" including colors and play. my ds has no clue and could care less. We havent ever forced gender and have no problem if he picks something pink or plays "girly." but now hes in the real world, so I'm struggling between not perpetuating gender stereotypes, allowing him free choice, and protecting him from bullies.

How do you handle these things? Is it fair to let I'm choose after I give the social warning? Let him so whatever and deal with social consequences as they come? I love that he is so unaware and wish it would stay that way.

As for his toes, the pink wore off and I let him pick a new color at the store yesterday. He wanted pink/purple sparkles, but I was able to steer him to the black with silver sparkles that I was buying for myself anyways.

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Old 03-04-2013, 11:40 AM   #2
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It is hard because you just want to spare their feelings and some people may make fun BUT I think it is more important to raise a person who can be confident in themselves despite social norms than to raise them to conform to them. Of course their are times when conforming to social norms is appropriate and that also should be taught but being yourself and being confidant is very important (at least to me)
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:47 AM   #3
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If only his toes are painted and he wears socks and shoes at preschool how would they even see it?
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:48 AM   #4
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Re: Boys and nail polish

I am in the minority. I would simply say nail painting is for girls. Just like I do for arm pit and legs shaving. My boys would be fine with that answer. Once they were old enough to deal with others making fun of them (teen) then whatever. I know many teen boys who paint their nails.
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:52 AM   #5
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Re: Boys and nail polish

Ds is only 3 so my answers might change in time when he goes to school. For now, I don't care. I've painted his fingernails all sorts of colors just the same as his sisters. It isn't a battle I feel like having. If I pick the color I usually do blue or green but I rarely pick the color and right now he loves pinks and purples just like his big sisters. No one has ever made any sort of comment about him having his nails painted and we are friends with several very conservative people.
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:53 AM   #6
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Re: Boys and nail polish

I painted DS's nails until this past year. He is now 5 and has started public school. Before that, he was in a very small nursery school and I discussed it with his teachers. They shared the same views as me. One child said "Your nails are pink. Only girls have pink nails." My son put his hands on his hips and said, "Boys like bright colors too!"

But now, in a bigger, public school, where we don't know the teachers as well and where we have never seen some of the parents in his class, DH and I have decided to just let DS know that we will no longer be doing that.

I've told DS that "nail polish is usually for girls, and some people might say mean things to you." He didn't ask again.

But he's big into My Little Ponies. He found a My Little Ponies shirt that had sparkles and pink on it. He asked DH for it and said "I'll just wear it at home, Daddy, not at school." It makes me sad that some kids would tease him for liking a cartoon, and that he knows he can't wear it outside the house, but I would feel sadder if he came home crying over a child bullying him about wearing a "girl's" shirt.
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Old 03-04-2013, 12:04 PM   #7
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Re: Boys and nail polish

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Originally Posted by keonli View Post
I painted DS's nails until this past year. He is now 5 and has started public school. Before that, he was in a very small nursery school and I discussed it with his teachers. They shared the same views as me. One child said "Your nails are pink. Only girls have pink nails." My son put his hands on his hips and said, "Boys like bright colors too!"

But now, in a bigger, public school, where we don't know the teachers as well and where we have never seen some of the parents in his class, DH and I have decided to just let DS know that we will no longer be doing that.

I've told DS that "nail polish is usually for girls, and some people might say mean things to you." He didn't ask again.

But he's big into My Little Ponies. He found a My Little Ponies shirt that had sparkles and pink on it. He asked DH for it and said "I'll just wear it at home, Daddy, not at school." It makes me sad that some kids would tease him for liking a cartoon, and that he knows he can't wear it outside the house, but I would feel sadder if he came home crying over a child bullying him about wearing a "girl's" shirt.
I'm glad I'm not the only one with these worries. Sad. my ds lives my little pony too. But apparently its an acceptable thing for boys and even kind of cool? my dhs 14yo cousin was telling me about "bronies" and was wearing a guyish mlp hoodie.
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Old 03-04-2013, 12:06 PM   #8
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Re: Boys and nail polish

I admit I painted DS's nails at his request when younger. I also did toes. I did buy clear afterward to on his fingernails/toenails.

Honestly I see nothing wrong with it. It wasn't like I was putting him in dresses and hairbows and taking him out in public. (Okay ... I did dress him up once when he was 6 months old but he doesn't remember. It's all good! I didn't take him out in public like that but I got blackmail photos for when he is teenager.)

I see nothing wrong with opposite-gender play. I was 5 and remember shaving my face with shaving cream and the back of a comb as my Grandpa shaved. I just wanted to be like him. I didn't *think* about the fact that girls just don't get beards or need to shave their face. I was just pretending and he let me. (More than once!)

When your little, you are exploring being an adult & sometimes you want just want to be included in something that might not fit your defined gender.

I have no clue how to deal with other kids but I don't think what the OP is doing is harmful. It's just playing and fun!
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Old 03-04-2013, 12:07 PM   #9
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Re: Boys and nail polish

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Originally Posted by mariamommy View Post
If only his toes are painted and he wears socks and shoes at preschool how would they even see it?
That's why I did his toes rather than fingers. But they do have dress up play in his class and his shoes often come off.

And I guess this little issue is just making me aware of (and a little sad about) the bigger picture of genderization. We've been blissfully in the dark.
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Old 03-04-2013, 12:11 PM   #10
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Re: Boys and nail polish

I let my boys do whatever they want as long as they aren't harming themselves or others. We don't worry about gender stereotypes. Kearnan has both of his ears pierced, Tharen has one. Tharen is completely over the moon for Hello Kitty and I buy him t-shirts with his favorite character (and sheets, and stickers ect ect). They both have long hair and Tharen likes to paint his nails. I do not allow finger nail painting only because he chews his nails and I don't like him eating nail polish. We have not had a lot of trouble with bullying but my boys are homeschooled. They are exposed to other children through TKD and roller derby but I will say that the vast majority of their friends are very good about it all.
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