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33

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 ...


27

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 ...


12

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 ...


11

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!


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

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 ...


8

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 ...


8

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 ...


7

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 ...


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

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 ...


5

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 ...


4

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 ...


3

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) ...


3

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 ...


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. ...


2

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

I like Valkyrie's answer very much: show him counter-examples. I also agree with balanced mama, that his having concrete ideas about the differences between boys and girls is developmental. I'd just add one more thing, looking at it from your son's point of view: He's noticed that girls and boys are different, and more importantly, that they are ...


1

You cannot make anyone love anyone else, neither should you. What you should be attempting, is to have your family treat each other kindly. It is natural to hate your siblings, or tease them (usually focusing on what makes them different). You are attempting to solve the wrong problem.


1

Most of my queries on Google Scholar returned results for a very specific age group (grade school, college, etc), subject (science, computer skills, etc), or learning approaches/settings (in-class instruction, small group projects, etc). Finding a more broadly-scoped experiment or observational study on this topic would require quite a bit of digging, and ...


1

It's normal! I used to do this at that age and I am 15 now. I loved dancing to Cinderella and acting like her. I would get in my mom's shoes and her dresses. My dad was sooo worried about me thinking I was going to be gay. No, I am straight! It was just in his imagination. I used to love putting on makeup, wearing a wig, be a witch whenever it was Halloween. ...



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