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269

Firstly, I have to admit that while reading your question I was wondering if you're being serious. For me (as a hopeful future father with the same questions in mind), your solutions sound shocking and I would certainly advise against them. To reflect on some points... 1) "no TV ever, no movies, no pop music, no magazines" Does this also mean no friends? ...


50

Wow! Well, it sounds as though you want to be the perfect family, and the perfect parents. And it's easy to understand why. Who wouldn't want the best of everything for their children? I have a couple of general comments, I hope you'll find them useful. Oh and before I forget, congratulations on your soon-to-arrive new addition to the family! :) So... ...


45

We homeschool our kids, so perhaps I can provide a unique perspective. A lot of the other answers seem to be primarily worried about friends. People sparked friendships for millenia before television and public education, and they can do so today. It's hard to see when your own childhood friendships formed at school over common pop culture interests, but ...


44

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 ...


35

While I think your intentions are good, I think that some of what you are doing will actually have negative effects. Dolls are a perfectly healthy toy - both my son and my daughters played with them. They also all played with toy shops, aeroplanes, racing cars, horses etc. My point is: they are toys. Whether they have any gender affiliation in your family ...


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 ...


30

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 ...


29

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 ...


27

You lack one key: To be wonderful, to be amazing, to be successful, she must not be locked in this overwhelming strategy. Sadly, you are contributing to "this sexist world". It seems the motivation behind her future micro-managed life is that she is female, and as such will require much more "equipment" in order to survive. This is false. Your daughter ...


18

My daughter is about to turn 11, and I have similar hopes for her. Each of the paragraphs below is a category that her father and I have found to be influences on her in some way, and ways we try to approach them. Provide positive examples. This needs to be both men and women, of course: women who embody the values and confidence you hope for her to have, ...


14

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 ...


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

I think you're overthinking this a bit. It's great for brainstorming, but don't let little things like whether or not she gets to play with dolls distract you from your primary laudable goal of raising an amazing daughter. For instance, why wouldn't an intelligent and happy child be able to enjoy and possibly even benefit from a bit of TV? What's so ...


10

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 ...


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

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

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

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

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 ...


7

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 ...


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 ...


7

I like what you are hoping to do. However, be very careful with how you approach raising your child in this manner! I was raised much like this... For the first 13 years of my life. There are numerous opportunities that I missed, chances to do things that would have been very helpful to me now. Also, once your daughter leaves her seclusion (and trust me, she ...


6

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 ...


6

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 ...


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 ...


5

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 ...



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