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preschooler boy identity problem or pretend-play?

  1. #1
    joannek is offline Registered User
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    preschooler boy identity problem or pretend-play?

    My friend's 3 yo boy, Adrian, recently started saying that he's a girl.

    My daughter has playdate with him once a week. My daughter is really into Princesses & Dora, so everytime we go out we bring out some princess & dora toys to entertainment her while we're at the table. Adrian is really into singing & dancing, and not at all interested in boys' toys like balls, cars or superheros. When my daughter shares her toys, she usually try to give him the mickey mouse & diego & animals cos she says "he's a boy", and then Adrian will say "no, i'm a girl!" and want to play with the princesses. then when they go potty, they both go to the ladies room cos the nanny goes with Adrian. last week, my daughter asked me "why is he coming to this girl's toilet?" so i explained. but Adrian said, "no, cos i'm a girl." recently, everytime we see Adrian, he says "i'm a girl". my friend doesn't correct him, and said "it's OK, just let him be." of course, i didn't say anything. i told my husband about it, and he said, "stay out of other people's business & you won't know whether your friend corrects Adrian or not at home. maybe she just doesn't want to teach him in front of you."

    i'm no child expert. is this a phase preschoolers go thru? believing oneself as the opposite sex? it certainly doesn't sound like pretend play. or is it really pretend play? i'm confused, if one day my daughter keep saying "i'm a boy" should i correct her?

  2. #2
    barbwong_130 is offline Registered User
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    My thoughts when reading about this little boy is that he must have been told that the toy he wants is only for girls – thus to get it he is a girl. I think we do children a disservice by emphasizing gender roles. Remember sex equality is for boys as well as girls.

    I agree with your husband that it wouldn’t be a good idea to interfere in the matter if the mother doesn’t see it as a problem.

    If you do want to do something my suggestion would be to buy him some of the toys that your daughter has – that way they will be boys’ toys and he can be a boy again.

  3. #3
    capital is offline Banned
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    Honestly this is not a big deal. Every once in a while my son will tell me he will be a mommy when he grows up. Most children will at some time have a temporary phase of wanting to be the other sex. If it turns out to not be temporary and he always prefers girl things, who cares, does that really matter? I don't think so. It has nothing to do with you or your daughter so I don't really see what the problem is. It sounds like the mother of the boy is handling it perfectly. Let people be who they are. trying to change a boy or girl who has a strong preference for the opposite sex is more damaging to the child that just letting them be.

  4. #4
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    carang is offline Registered User
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    my son still sometimes takes his doll and puts it under his shirt and says, "see mummy, i'm feeding baby!"

    does it matter that he's a boy and can't breastfeed? not at all! he's only starting to realise that there is a difference between the two.

    leave him be. he's not yours to worry about. and you saying something to his mother might upset her. it's only adults that teach children there are "boy things" and "girl things".

    i have to explain to much older students that it's OK for a man to be a nurse and a woman to be a fire FIGHTER (we don't say fireman anymore precisely because there are women that do the same job...just like police OFFICER.)

  5. #5
    joannek is offline Registered User
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    thanks for your input. it makes me feel so much better knowing that it's a phase of growing up. before i became a mother, i always thought gender toys were overrated. and i read that small children don't actually show gender understanding or prefer "boy's toys" or girl's toys". until when my daughter turned 2, & she showed more girl's "traits" :being girlish, prefer princesses, & dolls, earrings, getting her nails painted, etc. and most of the boys we meet at her playgroup are a lot rougher, prefers superheros & cars, then i realise gender difference actually start displaying at an early age.

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