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Old 02-03-2013, 08:50 AM   #1
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Question 4yr old boy says he does not want to be a boy.

Just out of the blue earlier this week my 4 year old said, "Mommy, I want to be a girl because I like girls and I want to be just like you" then just about five minutes ago he said, "Mommy, I want to be a girl because I do not like boys. They can be so mean." (He offered no further explanation when asked)

Both times I explained to him in a short and simple manner that he was born a boy and it is both great to be a boy or a girl. I pointed out all of the wonderful boys/males in his life but he just got really upset and exclaimed that he wants to be a girl when he is older.

DH often tries to deny DS access to play with things considered "girly" but I allow him to play with what he likes (i.e. toy kitchens, he has a few boy and girl waldorf dolls, he loves to tie a swaddle blanket around his head and pretend he has long hair while wearing an oversized t-shirt under one of his undershirts so the bottom flares out like a tutu, and after some consideration and mixed feelings I even allow him to have a painted big toe nail on occasion because he loves colors and is very artistic). He loves the color pink so I get him pink polos and dress shirts but I donít see the big deal, it is just a color. I am wondering if because DH says, "no you cannot have that it is for girls", that DS feels he must be a girl in order to do the things that he wants to do.

DS has always been very sweet and mild mannered and when talking with my mother about the matter she commented that she always felt like DS was too fun loving, sweet and artistic and would probably grow up to be gay. Now, I have never seen any indication of this and it makes no difference to me regardless as long as my child grows up to be a happy, kind and productive person but I was surprised and saddened by my motherís opinion.

Both of my children are very close to me as they spend all of their time under my care. DH has an awfully hectic schedule and pretty much spends no time bonding with either of our sons so I do feel that their weak relationship and missed opportunities for the boys to model their father might contribute to his current feelings. However, DH believes his absence is not a factor and is very disturbed by DS's comments and seems to blame my parenting style.

I am writing to see if any other parents have experienced something like this with their young boys. How did you address it? I don't want to say the wrong thing and make matters worse. I just want to guide DS to be accepting of and happy with himself.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and offer advice.

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Old 02-03-2013, 08:57 AM   #2
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Re: 4yr old boy says he does not want to be a boy.

My oldest was like that at that age. I just said ok and left it at that. He also wanted to be a helicptor once too. He loves his mom and you care for him so he is trying to identify with you. While there is always a chance that a child is homosexual or transgendered, I would simply not worry about that now. Parenting style does not make one gay. You are born that way. Your DH needs to chill out about gender roles. All that will do is put up more blocks to their relationship if your son is gay.
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:00 AM   #3
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Re: 4yr old boy says he does not want to be a boy.

my son is 6 now and did the same thing. I let him wear pink and do his thing. he did get called gay a few times, i said you can like who you want boy or girl.
it seemed to wear off after a while. he mostly likes boy things now and dresses like a "boy."
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:23 AM   #4
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Re: 4yr old boy says he does not want to be a boy.

As pp's have said...I wouldn't take it to literally or seriously. It may be true as he matures, that he identifies himself differently than a heterosexual male, but those are issues he will define about himself with age. It is truly not indicated at this young age by his desire to play "girly" or his identification with traits usually assumed by girls. Some sensitive boys struggle with the social stigma of what is girl behavior and what is boy behavior. This may be more about his personality than his self identity or sexual preference. I personally would allow him to express himself and play anyway he wants, knowing that at this age, it is innocent expressive play and is not bound by our mature understanding of gender roles or sexuality. I would also tell him that "boy or girl, he can do and be whoever and whatever he wants to be as he grows up". This is my personal belief of what a child should hear as they grow (boy, girl, straight, gay, purple people eater, etc.). If possible, maybe you should try to encourage more healthy relationships with men (father or other), to set examples of as many healthy adults as possible. If you think he is lacking that influence, it may help him to see more happy and well-adjusted males. I do believe though, that if he is to go down an alternative path in life, he will get there whether he wears a tutu and has pink nails now, or is buttoned up in a flannel and tennis shoes. The best you can do as a parent is enourage him to understand that you will always love and accept him and that that is the same gift he should give himself....love and acceptance. If not, as adults it can take a lifetime to figure that out.
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:46 AM   #5
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Re: 4yr old boy says he does not want to be a boy.

My 3.5 yr old ds has said similar. he watched the disney "princess sophia" show and then was talking about how he wants to be a princess. he's made mention of it numerous times. when i asked him why, he told me that princesses get to wear pretty dresses and a crown, and that they get to live in a castle. looking at that, yeah, i can see how being a princess looks fun. princes aren't portrayed in nearly as fun a light...in fact, disney princes seem to be rather dumb and/or mean and chovanistic. i don't think it means anything except that he has an older sister and he's around her and i all the time. i's the same thing when i find him sitting in the middle of a pile of barbies playing with them when he's supposed to be taking his nap. he adores his big sister and wants to do the things she does. and he's a little boy...he wants to do things because they're fun, not because he puts a bunch of thought behind what he's doing.
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:49 AM   #6
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Re: 4yr old boy says he does not want to be a boy.

DS1 went through the same thing at 4. He was very upset after learning that men could not have babies and wanted to be a girl.
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Old 02-03-2013, 11:26 AM   #7
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Re: 4yr old boy says he does not want to be a boy.

lol, i totally forgot abou the baby thing. my 3.5yo has had his "little baby taylor" in his blly since i was pg with his sister that was born over the summer. he is adamant that it is still in there and won't be born till it gets warm out.
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Old 02-03-2013, 01:56 PM   #8
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Re: 4yr old boy says he does not want to be a boy.

Yea when I worked at the daycare there was a little girl who thought she was a butterfly. Lol
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Old 02-03-2013, 02:06 PM   #9
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Re: 4yr old boy says he does not want to be a boy.

I went through that for years. From age 5 to 11. I just really wanted to be a boy. I thought girls had it so bad. I wore boy clothes and had my hair cut very short. Then in middle school all the popular girls made fun of me and I stopped. I'm proud of my mom for just letting me be who I wanted to be back then.
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Old 02-03-2013, 02:37 PM   #10
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Re: 4yr old boy says he does not want to be a boy.

a few boys at my dd preschool like to dress up like girls. The teachers are utterly unphased by it and have said every year there are at least a few who do it. I wouldn't worry about it in the least, and think the PPs had some great ideas for going forward.
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