To feel very sorry for this wee boy and think my friend is wrong?

(53 Posts)
BrokenBanana Thu 01-Aug-13 13:14:22

So I often take my child to the park up the road from us, we see the usual faces there.
There's a little boy that comes up with his mum and sometimes his dad. The little boy must be about 4 and is so sweet and good natured, although he is very camp. He likes to take the female role in any game and takes great joy in all things girly. Personally I think he's so cute I could eat him! Whenever the dad comes up as well though he is so horrible to his son, puts him down and proper shouts at him when he wants to take the female role. He really is quite fierce, I would not want to be on the receiving end of his shouting.
My friend thinks the dad is right though, and if she had a little boy who was camp she would not in the slightest bit encourage it, said she would encourage more 'boyish' activities.

Ainu to think there is a good chance this boy is gay and shouting at him for playing games he enjoys is only going to give him issues further on in his life? Would you say anything to the dad? He honestly looks at his son as if he is such a failure to him sad

YouTheCat Thu 01-Aug-13 13:16:57

He may be or he may not be but I would feel sorry for him too. Poor thing and what awful parents not allowing him to be himself.

Spottypurse Thu 01-Aug-13 13:17:46

He is 4? How can you or anyone else possibly know if he is going to be gay? And why would you comment on it? Why does it matter? He's 4, he will likely grow out of it, just like my DD who wanted to be Bob the Builder when she was 4.

BuntyPenfold Thu 01-Aug-13 13:19:09

It's only role play, it isn't being camp to pretend to be the mummy, for instance.
I might say something to the dad, if it could be put in a light-hearted way, if you think that would calm things down. Sadly, a lot of men are similar with little boys, I see it a lot with nursery parents.

curlew Thu 01-Aug-13 13:19:40

Two things- camp and gay are two different things.

And how the fuck can a 4 year old be "camp"?

'He is 4? How can you or anyone else possibly know if he is going to be gay?'

One of my gay friends was amazingly camp from the day he could walk and talk - it may not ALWAYS be the case but being very camp is often a pretty good indication that someone is gay.

YouTheCat Thu 01-Aug-13 13:21:00

And OP, your friend is an arse.

If the child turns out to be gay, not even the most macho of activities is going to change that fact.

The parents are making the child miserable and that is shit.

And my mum, his mum and assosciated friends all recognised it - so it IS possible.

wonderingsoul Thu 01-Aug-13 13:21:49

i dont see what makes him possably gay?

some children are just more sensative than others..including boys.

yanbu to feel bad for him though. to be shouted at just for being your self is very nasty , vile and wrong. poor lamb.

my best friend has alittle boy like this, he is the sweetest, child i have ever known, his step dad calls him a poof.. said in a joking way and not shouting , but its not the point. i call h im up on it every time he just laughs it off. luckly he has other adults who call him up on it to and the child doesnt seem to be bothered by it.. yet.

fluckered Thu 01-Aug-13 13:21:57

ye are ALL unreasonable. wtf? he is 4. how can ye tell he is going to be gay. however I feel for any kid being roared at because of what game/role he chooses to play.

Eyesunderarock Thu 01-Aug-13 13:22:08

'Aibu to think there is a good chance this boy is gay'

You really are. The idea of male and female roles should die a death anyway.
You are both being stereotypical and odd. Have you chatted to the mother?

BrokenBanana Thu 01-Aug-13 13:23:08

It doesn't matter to me whether he is gay or not spotty, it's just a relevant part of the story to mention it.

I just keep thinking about him and wondering what his home life is like. I don't think he's being abused or anything, just sad that his lovely personality is being squashed.

curlew Thu 01-Aug-13 13:24:20

"it may not ALWAYS be the case but being very camp is often a pretty good indication that someone is gay."

No it isn't.

thistlelicker Thu 01-Aug-13 13:25:23

Wait til he starts playing with dolts and prams and barbies!!!! Quick get the reporter from the daily fail!!!!


From my sample size of perhaps 20 very camp men, they are all gay.
Of course you can have camp straight men - but when you're talking about the extremes, I'm yet to see evidence to the contrary. That says it to me it's a pretty good indication - Not flawless - but pretty good.

BrokenBanana Thu 01-Aug-13 13:26:32

I have spoken to the mum and dad, said "oh he's harmless, most boys like a good role play game. My DS loves dressing up in my clothes and having his nails painted. Totally normal etc" the dad gave me a funny look and didn't speak again.

and that's in my persoanl life - not including the obvious examples in the media

MissStrawberry Thu 01-Aug-13 13:27:45

I think your friend is a twat, the dad is a thug and you are being silly to describe a small child as camp.

Feminine Thu 01-Aug-13 13:28:13

I have met camp straight men.

It is unusual though.

But camp ios just a description of personality - would you say it was silly to describe a child as timid or expressive?

His sexuality is completely irrelevant. If he turns out to be straight and camp or still enjoys cross dressing then what difference would it make?

Punishing your child for harmless play (ie not putting himself or anyone else in danger) is deeply unhelpful and unkind.

OHforDUCKScake Thu 01-Aug-13 13:29:30

Ive had friends that Ive known from infant a school who were camp when we were kids and as adults are gay.

As a child of course you dont know any different really, then when you look back as an adult you think "Ohhhhhhhhh yeeaaaaaaaaah,"

But OTOH, Ive got gay friends who couldnt be less camp if they tried, and I have several male friends who are camp and straight as pins.

OHforDUCKScake Thu 01-Aug-13 13:29:43

Either way the dad is a wanker.

Feminine Thu 01-Aug-13 13:29:47

I attended a performing arts school, there all the camp ones have since come out as gay.

thebody Thu 01-Aug-13 13:31:08

I suspect dad is just a bully and would be the same if the boy was playing rugby or footi, shouting that he's not doing it right etc.

some parents just are bullies.

HaroldLloyd Thu 01-Aug-13 13:31:37

The campest men I know are straight.

Anyway that's not the point, I hate to see things like this, poor child should be allowed to be himself, whatever he decides to be.

Calling a small child or anyone else a poof in a derogatory way is really shitty as well.

Some of these men should have just got themselves an action man to play with.

BrokenBanana Thu 01-Aug-13 13:32:32

Why is it silly to describe him as camp? I'm not being horrible about the kid, I've said I think he's lovely and sweet.

Are you part of the Professionally Offended Brigade?

Shrugged Thu 01-Aug-13 13:32:58

Lulu, sure, possibly, but with adult men! This child is four! A four year old who likes dressing up and role playing.

My male toddler currently has to be physically wrestled away from a pink Barbie car and a baby doll when I pick him up from his childminder, but I really can't construe it into some kind of gender identity!

OP, no, YABU to erect some kind of larger significance on the play preferences of a small child. yANBU, on the other hand, to find his father's behaviour deplorable.

BrokenBanana Thu 01-Aug-13 13:35:22

So is there anything else I should say to them? They have another baby boy and the dad is so over the top with him, calls him a proper little boy etc even though all he really does is babble and smile!

curlew Thu 01-Aug-13 13:36:27

Maybe we have different definitions of "camp"

I don't think a 4 year old could possibly be described as camp. What sort of things does he do?

PolkadotsAndMoonbeams Thu 01-Aug-13 13:38:28

YANBU to think being shouted at for things he enjoys doing will upset him. It seems a shame he can't just get on with what he enjoys, he might like completely different things in a couple of months anyway!

Oh and on the camp/not camp thing, I know plenty of camp men (performance-y/dance linked) and never know if they're gay or straight. I really hate it if anybody mentions their partner 'Alex', because I don't know if they're male or female!

scallopsrgreat Thu 01-Aug-13 13:43:24

Tis misogyny OP. God forbid boys should behave like girls. With an added bonus of compulsory heterosexuality. All being imposed on a 4 yr old. Abusive.

BrokenBanana Thu 01-Aug-13 13:49:10

I never thought of it that way scallops but that does make sense.

BrokenBanana Thu 01-Aug-13 13:50:57

So should I just leave them to it? I'm really tempted to tell the dad exactly what I think next time I see them. I know it's none of my business how they parent but I can't stand to see the poor boy being told off for being himself

SpecialAgentCuntSnake Thu 01-Aug-13 13:56:31

*'Aibu to think there is a good chance this boy is gay'
You really are. The idea of male and female roles should die a death anyway.
You are both being stereotypical and odd.*


WTAF? A four year old who has no to little concept of gender stereotypes is camp and gay? Even if he is gay, it most likely will have nothing to do with his 'camp' just wow behaviour.

Some people really aren't the brightest crayons in the box...

His dad sounds like a bully. Poor kid. sad

SpecialAgentCuntSnake Thu 01-Aug-13 13:58:26

Whoops thread has moved on. blush

I think you should tell him BrokenBanana

Then again I'm a mouthy cahhh grin

Seriously though, I'd intervene in child-child bullying, adult-adult bullying, so IMHO, parent-child bullying is definitely, definitely worth a word!

Unfortunately I don't think the dad will listen. He's probably one of these people who have strict ideas about boys playing with action men and girls playing with barbies. (Both of which are dolls!).
When ds2 went through his pink phase I sort of encouraged it to an extent by buying t-shirts and hoodies with pink in them, and I got the "hurumpf hurumpf boy in pink "from people!

Cherriesarelovely Thu 01-Aug-13 14:11:42

Poor kid. God, I would find that really hard to be around OP. I had friends who seemed petrified if their sons even looked at a pink toy at toddler group. One kept repeating "No, remember, girls like pink boys like blue" as her little boy rushed to put on the pink feather boa. It's ridiculous isn't it?

I don't think there is anything wrong with using the word camp. I've taught several camp little boys in the past. I have no idea if they turned out to be gay or not. I am gay myself and apparently don't "look it" but I think it would be silly to say that there are not quite a few camp gay men just as there are quite a few butch lesbians. It's not a bad thing!

Anyway, that is irrelevant to this situation but clearly this poor kid must be having a horrible time if his playtime is blighted by his dad bullying him all the time.

treas Thu 01-Aug-13 14:30:09

Seem to remember Julian Clary saying that at the age of 3 he was aware that he was different and that his sisters knew he was gay and enjoyed nothing more than dressing him up in dresses.

KoalaFace Thu 01-Aug-13 14:45:51

I hate sexualising children by discussing their sexuality when they are so young that it is impossible to know. But...

When I was growing up my male cousin who is a year older than me was (for want of a better word) feminine. He always got to be 'the mum', 'the princess', 'the bride'. No one batted an eyelid (despite him having 3 very rough and tumble older brothers).

From the age of 4 or 5 he'd stand with his hip jutting out and his hand on it while talking.

He's gay. When people were told he'd 'come out' they were like "come out? As straight?" Because it had always been assumed.

So I can see where OP is coming from.

With regards to his parents. They are being cruel and your friend is an idiot. I don't really know what you can do about it though apart from keep telling them how lovely and clever you find their DS and hope they feel some pride.

BatwingsAndButterflies Thu 01-Aug-13 16:12:30

As a teen I had lots of straight, camp male friends. They are all gay, it just took them a while to sort it out in their heads. I used to doubt my gaydar because it kept giving false positives but actually it didn't, the men just weren't out yet.

runningonwillpower Thu 01-Aug-13 16:17:26

Yup - you can sure change a person's sexuality by shouting at him/her.

Dad's a twat but I don't see how you can get involved without serious grief for yourself.

Your friend, you may be able to re-educate.

Meanwhile, poor little boy. I hope his mum is nice.

BrokenBanana Thu 01-Aug-13 16:22:35

His mum is timid and I don't think she wants to upset the dad. She doesn't seem to mind her son being effeminate though.

They weren't there today but I think if I hear the dad putting his son down like that again then I will say something stronger. I don't care if he gives me grief, it's not on to treat your son like that.

On the note of can you tell if a child is gay/straight whatever, I do think you can in some cases. I've known quite a few boys that when they grew up and came out everyone already knew. Obviously that's not the case for everyone but I do have a hunch it will be for this child.

patatasbravas Thu 01-Aug-13 16:22:41

It's really none of your business though, is it? I'd be defensive if some loony in a park started getting involved.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Thu 01-Aug-13 16:25:20

Well, IME you can encourage, socially engineer, whatever all you like, but in the end, good parenting is about acceptance, encouragement and loving that child you have in front of you, just as they are,

Shame the dad, and your friend are so scared.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Thu 01-Aug-13 16:26:48

And I'd agree there's no way to know at 4 whether this child will be gay or not.

The assumption that he is is based on gender-stereotyped assumptions about what girls and boys are like.

Poor kid sad sounds like his dad has made the same assumption you have and is convinced he's going to be hay unless he "beats" it out of him sad

dadinthehat Thu 01-Aug-13 18:24:39

My DS2 is 4 and IS camp. Loves ponies, faeries and princesses, skips rather than runs, wears ONLY pink and sparkles and princess dresses and watches Barbie movies on repeat. However he wishes to live and love in the future and whatever he is now or then he is just DS2.

I let him be himself and help him be as happy as I can, and I'll continue to do exactly that for as long as he needs me.

Fighting the harmless role play desires of a 4 year old and belittling him is both unfair and ultimately pointless.

I'm a firm believer that what they play with or what they wear has no bearing on what a person is Pre destined to be.

It just makes them miserable trying to change the way they are for reason than the parent is embarrassed. sad

clam Thu 01-Aug-13 18:45:36

It is what it is.
Not easy to hear for some, and I empathise - my ds was that child. Loved playing with dolls, had a MAJOR crush on the 'Little Mermaid,' hated football.
But he's now a strapping 17yo, and plainly heterosexual! I'd be lying if I said I wasn't relieved - but only because I think that even now, in 2013, being gay is not an easy path through life. One of dd's friends, very camp, has been targeted several times by Neanderthal teens who object to his manner. Makes me very sad

EugenesAxe Thu 01-Aug-13 18:53:10

My friend was a reception teacher and she definitely saw effeminate 4 year olds. I agree though it doesn't mean you are gay - I know a few grown effeminate men that aren't.

I think your friend is wrong, certainly. If he is gay then knowing his father is so anti is going to fuck him up isn't it? Either way, he's going to be confused about why his Dad is getting cross with him for doing stuff that he sees other children (girls, boys, whatever) doing and not being told off for. It's bound to affect his confidence - potentially could have far reaching effects.

Saying all that, I don't think I'd say anything.

Turniptwirl Thu 01-Aug-13 18:59:05

Yabu to think a four year old is gay because of what games he likes to play

But yanbu to think that it doesn't matter and kids shouldn't be forced into gender stereotyped roles

BadRoly Thu 01-Aug-13 19:05:23

I've only read the op but how sad hmm dc4 is just 4 and tells everyone at the moment that 'he's a girl' even though he knows he is a boy.

He raids his sisters' drawers for pink t-shirts and leggings. He plays with Barbies and has gone to bed tonight in a flowery pink nightie. Pink and yellow are his favourite colours.

He might be gay. He might not be gay. Frankly I do not care and suspect it is far too early for him to know either. We all just let it go and let him get on with it. If it's a phase, it will pass. If its more than a phase then we will still love him just the same and support him just the same.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now