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Is this a 'usual' statement from a 4yo boy?

(13 Posts)
BusyCee Sat 06-Dec-14 22:33:48

DS1 is just 4. He's quite a dramatic child - full of humour, good at identifying and imitating characteristics and tones, loves movies, and had a good grasp of a fairly wide range of human emotion (feeling it, playing it and responding to it). He's a big fan of Frozen (natch) an plays at being Elsa a lot. Today when I was wiping his face before bed I told him he was beautiful. He said he wishes he was a girl (not the first time he's said it) and when I asked why said it Was because then he'd be beautiful. I said 'you are beautiful' and said that he doesn't think he is.

For context, He's said he wants to he a girl before, and that he wants to wear dresses, have long hair - generally wanting the 'girl' things. I've thought in the past either that it's the usual stuff kids say before they have 'gender-types' battered into them, or that he may be on the more camp end of the spectrum.

I think I'm asking whether it's a fairly normal / standard / usual developmental stage, or whether it might be symptomatic of something else. My only wish is that he's happy, and my worry about his statement is that it's indicative that he may not be happy in himself.

Or do high drama 4yo say that sort of shit all the time? Is it just a growing awareness of self and difference and sameness? What do you think? My mum would have been wise counsel but she isn't here any more

Elmersnewfriend Sat 06-Dec-14 22:44:39

He sounds just like my DS2. He is also extremely good re emotions - very empathetic, kind. Most of his friends are girls - because they are more emotionally mature I think.

He is a little bit older than your DS (almost 6). We used to get comments like you have had re wanting to be a girl because then he'd be beautiful. I think now that it's because he likes the "pretty" things in life, and that's encouraged in girls.

My DS used to dress up in his sister's fancy dress stuff all the time about a year ago, but it's really stopped recently... He still loves his "girlfriends" and prefers their company to boys (in general), but seems to have stopped wanting to look like them. I should add here that I too just want him to be happy, so it's not like we have tried to stamp it out of him or anything.

As you say - it doesn't matter - but I don't think your son's behaviour now necessarily means anything.

catkind Sat 06-Dec-14 23:38:50

I suspect that this is more about feeling his options are limited by the stereotypes (disney doesn't help with this), rather than any deep gender identity issues.

Does he have a princess dress for dressing up? Has he actually grown his hair? I'd make it clear he can do these things if he wants to. Lots of boys have long hair, it's cool (and super-cute when they're little!).

We found DS was happy just for knowing he could on those two, and didn't actually want to in practice. I think he decided that long hair was a nuisance when it started getting in his eyes. Other stereotypes he does cheerfully break. He's very confidently a boy, just a boy who likes pink. And he's stuck with that through a year and a bit of school, somewhat to my surprise. But good for him!

FelixTitling Sat 06-Dec-14 23:44:30

I can remember my son wanting to be a mummy briefly, and also liking pink at about that age. I can also remember him asking for bobbles in his hair and dressing up in his older sisters princess dresses. I think it's very normal at this young age.

cornflakegirl Sat 06-Dec-14 23:55:42

Ds2, now 5, also used to want to be a girl, and I wondered if it meant something more. He's very dramatic and empathetic, has mainly female friends, loves Frozen, pretty hairbands, his pink tutu and tights. But school seems to have taught him about being a boy (battered it into him, as you say) and toned down some of his "girliness". Sad in a way, but he seems perfectly happy about it.

Beehatch Sun 07-Dec-14 00:05:45

My just 5yo DS is a happy mix - very rough and tumble, but loves 'girly' stuff too - will always pick a pink party bag, loves a bit of hello kitty. He's in reception and has an equal mix of friends, doesn't really distinguish to be honest. Has often declared he wants to grow up to be a girl.

His older sister is the exact opposite.

Both are super kids smile

BusyCee Sun 07-Dec-14 06:57:40

Fab. Thanks everyone. Sounds very normal, then, as he too can be quite rufty tufty when the mood takes him. His favourite colour is purple, and he chooses that a lot, he loves a sparkle, and a dance. He also seems confident, which I'm very happy about.

I think you're right about wanting the freedom to exist beyond the stereotypes. I've started with some dressing up stuff for him, and always try to reassure that he can do what he wants.

And now I feel reassured. Thanks all

Pelicangiraffe Sun 07-Dec-14 07:09:10

About 1/3 of boys I know go through a girlie stage about 2/3/4 years. I think its great

Pelicangiraffe Sun 07-Dec-14 07:10:28

My DSs favourite colour is pink

BusyCee Sun 07-Dec-14 07:57:19

I meant reassured that he's not feeling deeply, intrinsically distressed, no reassured there's 'hope' he may yet conform. I love the crazy purple unicorn child!

NannyNim Sun 07-Dec-14 17:35:10

I can't say whether this is "ususal" or not but just commenting because I find it interesting.

My LO is 2 and went through a brief phase of saying he wanted to be a girl because he wanted to wear dresses. Like PPs he's also very empathetic and articulate about emotions, really enjoys making people laugh and teasing etc, his favourite colour is purple and whilst he hasn't yet developed any "best friends" he definitely graduates more towards the company of girls.
He also conforms to many of the stereotypical male stereotypes. He loves rough and tumble play, has a passion for cars and construction vehicles and would rather not sit still for kore than a minute!

We've not tried to oppress any of these characteristics and responded to his "I want to be a girl" with "being a girl is great because..... and being a boy is great because....."
He hasn't said it for a month or two now but seems as happy and confident as he ever did!!

Strictlyison Sun 07-Dec-14 18:47:48

I just think it's because they associate certain feelings with being a girl, and other feelings with a boy. It's not necessarily a gender issue, it's because they feel that some of their feelings are 'girly', ie boy characters don't cry in movies, they fight and get angry (Toy Story) - whereas girls show their feelings. It's similar with girls who want to 'be boys' - they are still girls but perceive that girls are really emotional and dramatic, whereas they are not, and align their feelings with boys. But it's ok to be a boy and show your feelings, as well as being a. girl and liking football.

PorkyMinch Sun 07-Dec-14 18:54:21

My son is very much like this too. His favourite colour is pink. He loves princesses, in particular the ones in Frozen, and I have bought him all the figurines for Christmas. He also loves cuddles and laments that one of his female friends doesn't like it.

I don't discourage it. He likes lots of boy things, but also loves things that are beautiful.

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