Galactic Hot Dogs
 
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Gender Norms

Elementary School Expert Advice from Barbara Potts

Q: I'm very concerned about my three-year-old son. He acts like a little girl. He says he wants to be a girl, he pretends he's a girl, he even plays with all girl things -- dolls, dress-up clothes, etc. He has an older brother who is five and a younger sister who is one.

I know this is normal for three-year-olds, but I have trouble not reacting negatively to it. I don't want to encourage this behavior, so I try to ignore it. But the more I ignore it, the more involved he becomes with it. My older son also engaged in this type of play, but not to this extent. Should I be worried or should I let it go?

A: You are wise not to react negatively to your son's play. Even though you try to ignore it, your son may be sensing that you are upset. Children are very perceptive, and he may be aware of your concerns.

At age three, your son is still forming his own identity and may play with many kinds of toys. Just as your older son did, your three-year-old may in time move to playing with stereotypical "boy" games and toys. Make sure that your son has access to clothes and toys that are traditionally worn and used by boys.

You can also find dress-up clothes for male-stereotyped jobs. React positively when your son plays with these things and encourage him to play with his older brother and other boys in your neighborhood.

More on: Expert Advice

Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

highlights

Top 10 Sweet 16 Birthday Gifts
Your daughter's sweet 16 is a big milestone in her life. Celebrate this special occasion with one of these top gifts for girls turning 16.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, brought to you by Galactic Hot Dogs.

Printable Lists of the Top 100 Baby Names
Need help with baby name ideas? Use our printable list of the top 100 girl names and top 100 boy names of 2015 to help you brainstorm and narrow down your favorites.

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks