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40

First, I think it is worth noting that gender identity and gender roles are not the same as sexual orientation--liking girly things is not the same as being gay. As far as your specific issues go, I agree with Rhea that these are not big signs that your son is experimenting with an alternate gender identity. Hanging out with girls, using female avatars in ...


31

In my experience, people see what they want to see in movies. For example, there was a brouhaha about Frozen promoting a gay agenda. If you actually examine the plots, the messages of princess movies are overwhelmingly that wealth and good looks are not enough. Snow White and the witch were both very beautiful, but one was vain and one was modest and ...


28

I agree that there may be an issue here - ie, some Disney movies perpetuate gender stereotypes, gender roles, and other things that aren't good things to perpetuate. However, I feel like this is similar to the censorship debate, in that simply not letting your kid watch them is not the right answer. Your kid will be exposed to similar issues whether or not ...


28

I did a small amount of research into this. According to one theory, children at the age of 3 haven't solidified the idea of gender permanence, that they are one sex and remain that sex even if they wear different clothes, etc. A three-year old boy may understand that he is a boy, but not necessarily have internalized that he is always a boy and will remain ...


14

I have no experience of children I know having such issues, but I myself did when I was a child. Not a definitive answer here, but it's possible that a lack of prompting/conversation about this (when I was old enough to sensibly talk about it; i.e. probably when I was first cognisant it myself, when I was around 8 or 9) caused it to be something of a loose ...


13

I think this is 100% normal. Many kids do this - one of mine did - and then grew out of that phase and now likes toy guns and fighting. Kids need to play act, I don't think it matters what they play act as. I wouldn't pay it any attention one way or the other - I would doubt gender confusion is even a thought in a 3 year old's mind!


13

Some straight people have feminine tendencies like Cross Dressing and it could be a case of your son exploring an identity, or your son could be gay. Either way is a different lifestyle choice that will make his life more difficult. In every society in the world being gay is a negative and will expose gay people to ridicule at best and death at worst ...


10

I found quite a few scholarly, peer reviewed articles about play and gender-stereotyped toys through my university's library. For example, I found one article about child play assessment with male, female, neutral based toys. In the content of the study, work was drawn in that noted "female" toys exhibited traits such as being attractive, creative, or ...


9

Telling him is one thing, showing him is another. He's very likely picking up this "information" from TV and other kids, but if he sees in his every day life that Mom likes the color green best, and Dad makes great bread, and his female cousin loves to play with cars and trucks, he'll figure it out. We make a point of letting our kids see us do things that ...


9

The answer depends a lot on the culture the children are raised in. For example, when working with children raised in a culture where strict gender roles are the norm, and boys and girls aren't normally allowed to socialize with one another, I found that children performed considerably better when segregated by sex. Boys and girls just weren't sure how to ...


9

If you want him to be "normal" treat it NORMAL. Kids at school will make fun of him and will be a bigger impact on his decision to act girlie or not than what you could say to him. Making him feel abnormal will lead to way more problems in his life than being gay. I live in Utah and have a cousin that recently said she was lesbian. Her parents are super ...


9

Some of this behavior sounds like sibling jealousy to me. The fact that your son is talking about "Mommy and Baby" and then saying that he's just like his sister seems like he's trying to fit in with your new family dynamic. Think about: When did the behavior change? Was your son into different things before his sister arrived? Does your family (wife, ...


8

I have no direct personal experience, but the attention I pay to early childhood research tells me that this is normal. At this young age (3 years) your son is trying on aspects of his environment to see if they fit. Think of it as an extremely valuable and productive form of imaginative play. With that in mind engage your son in his imaginative play with ...


8

I think we are spoiled in the UK as we have some great programming available. If you can find them, here are some to watch out for: Balamory - Lead is a scottish lady and there are diverse characters included from other races and also disabled characters (another thing i like about our shows). Something Special - there is one main guy in it but he works ...


8

On top of the great answer from bmgh1985 (and I'd particularly second their recommendations of 'Something Special' and 'Balamory') here are some more suggestions: In the Night Garden: Very safe, very gentle stories for real littlies which sometimes star female characters, sometimes male (and sometimes ones where you can't tell). The DVDs have a special ...


7

While you should definitely vet the content of movies you let your child watch, Disney movies are perhaps the least problematic in this regard. Let's look at a few Disney movies with these Princess characters. I'm going to limit it to the previous century to avoid an incredibly unweildy list problem. Snow White Here right off the bat we do have a ...


6

This is actually fairly typical for kids around the time they start heading off to school (4 or 5 or so). Your boy might be a little early on the uptake here, but that's okay. Kids start noticing differences at this age. First gender, then race. I knew two kids in a fours classroom that had played together at preschool for two years that all of a sudden ...


6

You shouldn't worry about your son choosing the female avatars. In fact, that may be an expression of heterosexuality, his interest in female characters. So, like others have said, "effeminate" behavior isn't necessarily an expression of his future sexuality. Maybe he's gentle, and maybe he doesn't like traditional boys stuff that typically involves ...


5

There are plenty of "straight" people that dress up as women (or do other very strange things). There are also gay people that are very masculine. "He" could also end up as a woman at the end of it all (I have a close friend who had the surgery a couple years ago. She is more happy than she ever was as a he.) Best way to handle this? Maybe he doesn't have ...


5

First of all, your 3 year old child isn't gay and this is perfectly normal. He's a tomgirl, like a tomboy, but only different. What makes me sad is that society views him as a freak, whereas it's perfectly normal for a little girl to wear pants, pretend to be a pirate, get into fist fights etc. Why isn't it okay for a boy to do the same? I loved how you're ...


5

The overwhelming experience of parents is that individual children have strong preferences for certain kinds of toys, and that aside from a certain amount of overlap, these preferences tend to fall along gender stereotypes. That's not a politically correct idea, so people have spent time studying the idea, sure there must be some parental bias involved, and ...


5

Ok, here are some of my thoughts: 1) I think age 7 is a pretty common age when kids (girls especially) start viewing the opposite sex as more than just a friend, and they start to realize that, eventually, those opposite-sex relationships will develop into more. I can remember that we started having "boyfriends" in second grade or so. I mean, it was ...


5

I see two possible causes for the elder child's reaction: He has adapted common prejudices against transgender persons, which could very well be an issue at the age of fourteen. To address this, it is important that the father sits down with him and explains to him, why these prejudices are wrong. He should remember the first three rules of parenting: 1) ...


5

Some other options that might be worth taking a look at: Sid the Science Kid is more inclusive than some of the other PBS options. While the characters are Muppets, they've also got recognizable ethnicity. Ni Hao, Kai-Lan or Dora the Explorer from Nick Jr. -- while each has a non-white, female protagonist, there aren't a whole lot of other human characters ...


4

There's a whole lot of worse things he could be doing. Like drugs. Vandalism. Getting into trouble. The things you've listed as things he enjoys are completely harmless. So let him do them as he wants, and allow him to freely continue to discover who he is. What if your son does turn out to be gay? Would you rather him feel judged and alone and ...


4

I don't think your son is stereotyping so much as he is learning to classify. He has noticed there is a difference between girls and boys, and he knows he's a boy and that his mother and some of his friends are girls, and in his mind he is trying to figure out what that means. Rather than focusing on correcting his stereotypes, or trying to correct them ...


4

In addition to the answers already given, I'd also add My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Almost all the main characters are female, yet the plot lines are not all stereotypical girly-girly things. (My 4-year-old son likes it almost as much as my 5-year-old daughter.) Cupcakes and butterflies are balanced with action and adventure. The ponies are all ...


3

Children don't really understand about gender differences and sex before three. Even if they can identify "what girls have and what boys have". It is possible that your child isn't experimenting with gender at all and is experimenting with beauty and/or emulating female rolemodels (sister and mom). This was REALLY common with my three's class when I ...


2

You should let your son play as he wishes. There is very little correlation between effeminate behaviour in boys and homosexuality. I am a happily married straight man who loves women. I prefer the company of women to that of men. I like art, music and science and have little interest in typical sports, even though I think I tried most of them as a child. ...



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