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To let my son dress how he likes?

(42 Posts)
Fettuccinecarbonara Fri 23-Sep-16 17:41:59

Ds is 3.5
He has chin length curly brown hair. He loves it.

He has 2 older sisters.

Ds is very into diggers and dinosaurs and cars.

But he loves pink and turquoise clothes, hair clips and sparkles.

His sisters regularly 'do' his hair and make up. He chooses to either dress as a dinosaur or a princess.

I have let him do whatever he wants. I am pretty sure he is just copying his sisters (who had much clearer views of their identity than ds does)

But ds nursery and a couple of my friends have recently told me the following
'I'm worried about your son'
'It's time to cut his hair I think!'
'If you bought him clothes in boys colours it would be easier for him'
'He needs to learn to play with the boys, he's too sensitive'

And suddenly, I'm at a loss. What age is too 'old' to let ds do what he wants? Should I help him to comply with traditional gender expectations? Am I stifling him? Should I be pointing out what other boys do and wear?

He is very aware he is a boy, but prefers girls.

Dh is quite a quiet man and we have no living fathers, so ds does not have much of a masculine influence in his life.

JohnLapsleyParlabane Fri 23-Sep-16 17:46:25

Tell them to mind their own business. You raise your boy your way.

Sirzy Fri 23-Sep-16 17:48:37

It is his choice, leave him too it.

It's not as if you are forcing him to wear "girls" clothes, or trying to stop him from identifying as a boy.

And why shouldn't boys be allowed to be sensitive anyway. Grrr!

temporarilyjerry Fri 23-Sep-16 17:52:31

Am I stifling him?

It sounds like the opposite of this. "boys colours"

Terrifiedandregretful Fri 23-Sep-16 17:52:42

Ignore them. No age is too old for him to dress or do as he wants!

charlestrenet Fri 23-Sep-16 17:53:16

I love mumsnet. On the many many threads we have about boys wearing dresses there is a chorus of "let him do as he pleases" (which incidentally I agree with). But as soon as a child wants to go to school wearing non regulation socks parents are told to move school/home school if they don't want to follow uniform rules.

Soubriquet Fri 23-Sep-16 17:53:44

Leave him to it

He will grow out of it if he wants to when he's ready

NavyandWhite Fri 23-Sep-16 17:54:32

This is MN.

You know the answer already.

BlasianFashionista Fri 23-Sep-16 17:55:24

His nursery and your friends have no right saying that to you, he is your son not theirs.

If I were in your situation I would carry on letting him do and play and wear what he likes, don't listen to other people, your son is happy that's the main thing smile

ThatStewie Fri 23-Sep-16 17:56:36

If the nursery is suggesting your son is too 'sensitive', then they're in the wrong job. Raising boys to be emotionally literate is essential for their mental health (and boys who are like this are not the boys who go on to be perpetrators of violence). It's also completely and utterly normal for boys to like sparkles and bright colours. It's normal to like dinosaurs and let your sisters play with your hair.

You aren't stifling your son. They are stifling him by forcing him into outdated and harmful stereotypes of 'male' that are directly linked to the high suicide rate in young men.

HateSummer Fri 23-Sep-16 17:57:14

Just let him be...ffs, why are things like this an issue these days?

My daughter went by the name of a male film character for 6 months when she was three, wanted her hair cut short and wore boys clothes until she was 10. I fought it for a bit, but decided it was pointless and let her get on with it. There have been a few problems (being fed up with bring mistaken for a boy, worrying about going into public toilets) but she has just found her way to being the girl she is. There's more than one way of being a girl or a boy. In my opinion our determination as a society to squish people into gender boxes is one of the reasons so many more people are identifying as trans, why can't we just be ourselves?

AdaLovelacesCat Fri 23-Sep-16 17:59:40

it's fine.
My son used to love to slip into his twin sister's dress.
He definitely does not wear dresses now although he does have a liking for pink polo shirts.
It is really not that important. Well actually it is, let him wear what he likes.

Fettuccinecarbonara Fri 23-Sep-16 18:00:05

I know what the MN 'view' is yes. But the fact that in principle everyone agrees to let boys dress as girls is not the same as if it were your child, and your peers commenting on it.

It's not as if I want him to dress 'differently' it's just that it's been allowed to happen as his sisters have influenced his decision making for so long; and I wondered if I ought to take a more robust approach in terms of clothes etc, he is easy to influence do I probably could show him amazing grey jumpers with hulk on them etc, and he'd want them. As a toddler clothes are much less 'gendered' and other children (or adults) don't tend to notice.

MarklahMarklah Fri 23-Sep-16 18:01:51

I'd say these people need a serious dose of minding their own business. He's 3.5. Let him enjoy being a child. If he wants to wear sparkles & hair clips, then so he should.
If a nursery have a problem with this, then I'd suggest speaking with the manager to make them understand why negative stereotyping is so not ok.

WrongEndoftheTelescope Fri 23-Sep-16 18:02:21


There's time enough in this world for him to learn about "masculinity" - those who are making comments need to STFU.

I am getting so sick of the sexist gender stereotyping forced on children nowadays. It was far better 35 years ago, when people really made a thoughtful effort to give children choices.

There is nothing inherently male or female about dresses make up or hair clips. Have a look at Beau Brummell (200 years ago) high heels & make up galore. It's all sexist gender stereotyping. He's a boy, he'll learn masculinity soon enough.

Fettuccinecarbonara Fri 23-Sep-16 18:04:13

Just seen the responses from people who have had children with similar likes and choices. Thank you very much for replying, I will try and ignore the millions of comments and allow my son to make his own choices.

Interestingly my eldest daughter only ever wears trousers and trainers. She dislikes sparkles etc (unless they are on ds of course!) but because pastel colours, turquoise etc are 'girly enough' no one ever comments on her appearance though I have despaired of her dress choices at weddings in recent years.

timescrossword Fri 23-Sep-16 18:05:30

Next time they mention it just look at them gobsmacked and say, "I didn't know people still forced gender norms on children!" And walk away. Good for you, OP.

Fettuccinecarbonara Fri 23-Sep-16 18:05:34

I should say - I've never wondered about how dd1 makes her choices or if I should do something differently. I think, sadly, it's different for boys.

Fettuccinecarbonara Fri 23-Sep-16 18:07:25

I'd love to be assertive enough to say something! I just check to make sure ds doesn't hear and walk away.

I'm reassured to hear that children 'comply' a little more as they get older. The thought of my children being teased because of their style is horrifying.

If he doesn't care, then there's nothing wrong with steering him towards less "controversial" clothes. My daughter was very opinionated about what she would wear and I didn't think it was a battle I should be fighting. (But there's no need to go for the stereotypical grey superhero route, there are nice bright "boys'" clothes too). I would be most worried about people telling you how he should play and who with, stick up for him.

CocktailQueen Fri 23-Sep-16 18:08:14

Agree with the others! My dd was a real tomboy at that age -hated dresses and hair clips etc, just wanted trainers and tracky bottoms. now she is 12 she has more interest in what she wears and will wear make up, jewellery, etc.

DS, when he was a toddler, wore nail polish and was happy to dress up in dresses and 'girly' thinks as that's what we had from dd. Now he is a fairly typical 9yo boy, and sensitive yet boisterous.

My point is that they will change over time - just support them, give them the choice of what to wear, and you won't go far wrong.

Terrifiedandregretful Fri 23-Sep-16 18:10:06

The first women to wear trousers were ridiculed. Thanks to them we can all eat trousers now without comment. Unfortunately the same hasn't happened yet for boys and men

WhatWouldCoachBombayDo Fri 23-Sep-16 18:12:28

My 2 year old currently has an obsession with his pink sparkly handbag, a tiara and a dolls house. His father is a "macho army man" it makes no difference about "male influence" so don't worry about that.

Also DP quite rightly has no issues with DS's current obsession 😂

Just leave him be. It's him, you can't change him. He's perfect and fine and all things nice. smile

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