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Son wants a dress

(21 Posts)
Honeybadger83 Sat 31-Jan-15 14:11:16

My son is four and I have raised him to have an open mind with regards to all things gender. He's recently asked several times if he can have a dress. Now, I would like to be clear I have no problem with the possibility of him being transgender, although I don't think he is; he's far too impressed with his own penis.
Equally, if he decides that wearing traditionally 'female' clothes is for him, I'm more than happy to support that as well. However, at this stage I'm pretty sure it's simply sartorial experimentation; he just wants to try it. Of course, he is a little too young to understand the social repercussions he might experience.
I'm happy to buy him a dress, but less sure about him wearing it when we go out, and particularly to pre-school. I am wary about what other people's reactions to him might be. Obviously, I want to protect him from any small-minded comments that may hurt him, but I don't want to stifle him, or make him worry unnecessarily. I don't want to even introduce the concept of such intolerance to him when he is so accepting.
Any advice?

holeinmyheart Sat 31-Jan-15 19:59:42

What ever he is going to be he will be.

What about buying him some outfit that could be worn by both genders? Such as Sinbad the sailor in a kameze style dress and flowing pants and a turban. Everyone would be happy then.

thelittleredhen Mon 02-Feb-15 21:48:09

I understand your feelings about this.

I have been gutted recently that DS who is 7 is now coming home telling me that using a pink pencil will turn you into a girl; that he can no longer sing Disney princess songs because they're girly; that he can't like pink.

FFS I know my DS and one of the best things about him is that he pays no attention to gender based toys! It's one of the things that I love and admire most about him!

He loves to play with dolls and bears (his babies) and to waltz around with a handbag doing a lady's voice.

I might have drawn the line at a dress, but he has lots of female accessories in his dressing up box.

So after all that, I don't know. I admire the parents that do but I'm not sure I could bring myself to actually buy a dress for my son. I will ask him about it in the morning and see what he says as I'm curious. I'd also point out to your DS that women wear jeans and t shirts too, not just dresses.

I've just been looking online now at dressing up costumes - would a tutu skirt be a good compromise?

EhricLovesTheBhrothers Mon 02-Feb-15 21:52:31

What made you put this in lgbt children? Surely you don't really think that wanting a dress aged 4 means he is nascent gay or trans?

Pantone363 Mon 02-Feb-15 21:56:02

You are way overthinking this

Buy some fancy dress stuff for boys and girls, shove it in a box, job done

Honestly the hand wringing around here these days.

WhenMarnieWasThere Mon 02-Feb-15 21:56:14

How about some dress-up dresses that are just for play at home?

I'm a teacher of 8 year olds and the number of boys of that age that un-selfconsciously dress up in dresses in golden time is amazing. smile They love it.

I had 3 disney princesses and a flamingo dancer this week. No harm done.

Micah Mon 02-Feb-15 21:57:24

I'd let him. Maybe a cheap dressing up dress, or something plain and simple.

I'd also have an armoury of replies for the inevitable ignorant comments you get. I think my stock response was to be completely blase and say something like he did a good job dressing himself this morning...

AppleAndBlackberry Mon 02-Feb-15 21:57:27

I was shopping for a towel dress for my daughter today and some are quite unisex e.g. this one. You could also use it on the beach!

Pantone363 Mon 02-Feb-15 21:58:56

You are putting your own adult ideas on what was probably a fleeting idea in his head because he saw a pretty dress or likes the colour pink.

My four year old was playing 'killer tree surgeon' last week, the week before that she would only answer to Tom.

sanfairyanne Mon 02-Feb-15 22:00:14

we just got some princess dress type things for home
and agree - why lgbt?

Honeybadger83 Tue 03-Feb-15 08:45:16

We aren't really a dressing up household, we could start I suppose, but if he has asked for a dress, (which he has done repeatedly, so it isn't just a fleeting "ooh something shiny") then he wants a dress. Because he wants to wear one as an article of clothing, not as something to dress up in as part of playing.
And I'm not remotely concerned about that choice, or ascribing to it any more meaning than a four-year-old simply being four; it's other people's reactions to it I am wary of.
I apologise if I've trodden on any toes by posting this here, but it just seemed a little too specific to throw in with general parenting.

Honeybadger83 Tue 03-Feb-15 08:52:32

Littleredhen, micah, and appleandblackberry; thank you for your thoughts, I like the idea of a tutu or something similar. I will see if I can find something that isn't too pink and spangly. smile And I shall go out armed with retorts, just in case.

sanfairyanne Tue 03-Feb-15 08:55:12

ok smile well i wouldnt do nursery but i wouldnt do a dress for dd either - impractical - so i would explain my reasoning on that. handily avoids any nursery problems although i doubt the kids will be bothered but the staff might raise an eyebrow

actually, dd only has special occasion type dresses as i just find them impractical. do girls near you wear them a lot?

ds used to wear all kinds. he loved pink and dora so that meant mostly girlie stuff. he is mortified now so i wouldnt take too many photos grin unless you want to tease him at his wedding/18th /graduation. we just let him wear what he wanted as long as it was practical. princess dresses tend to get worn everywhere these days but are a nightmare to wash!

out of the house, people who dont know him will just assume he is a girl. i doubt many people who do know him would raise an eyebrow at his age. peer teasing on this kind of thing is quite rare (from what i have seen)

Micah Tue 03-Feb-15 09:44:15

out of the house, people who dont know him will just assume he is a girl.

I wouldn't be so sure. My dd2 got many ignorant comments about why she was wearing a dress when she was a preschooler. Apparently people have tiny little minds that think you're more likely to come across a boy in a dress, and can't even grasp the concept of a girl with short hair.

Even 4 year old dd had a range of sharp put downs when people challenged her gender, clothing choice or hairstyle (having been brought up only allowed to wear exactly what my mother said I could until I was old enough to earn money and buy my own clothes, my children have always been allowed free choice over their appearance- and do you know what, it's given them confidence to stand up to peer pressure smile )

sanfairyanne Tue 03-Feb-15 11:04:30

aw poor dd. we have never really had any comments beyond the usual old people 'what a pretty girl/handsome boy' type things - even when a baby entirely in pink sometimes they would cooo 'ooh lovely little boy' but perhaps their generation still did the 'dressing toddler boys as girls' thing. even dh was dressed in girls dresses as a toddler! it isnt just a new 'progressive parenting' thing. dd had short hair til about 5 - it just never grew! and ds had really long hair til about 8. neither of them were remotely fussed if mistaken for the opposite sex but it did used to happen sometimes. honestly, nowadays there are so few taboo 'one gender only' clothes/hairstyles. i did find, though, that age 6 or so they became v rigid about what was a 'girl' or 'boy' thing

TeaAndCake Wed 04-Feb-15 11:41:52

My friend has a 4 year old ds who loves anything pink/sparkly/girly and she has decided to just go with it. I'm full of admiration for her, I think I would struggle to fend off all the negative comments but she has a thick skin and really doesn't care what anyone else thinks of her or her parenting.

I listened to a 2 part comedy show on Radio 4 a few weeks ago called 'Andrew O'Neill: Pharmacist Baffler' which was brilliantly funny and informative. He talks at length about how cross dressing feels/works and it gave me an understanding of the whole issue. My friend listened on iPlayer and she thought it was fab too (she also sent him a message on Facebook which he replied to, she was thrilled!). Sadly, it's finished on iPlayer now but you may be able to find it elsewhere on the internet. Def worth a listen.

I had to chuckle at your comment about your ds being very impressed with his penis though, this sums up friend's ds to tee!

plantsitter Wed 04-Feb-15 11:48:30

Where do you live? Small boys in dresses are pretty commonplace round here (SE London).

I don't think this says anything at all about his sexuality or gender assignment. I think he is 4 and fancies wearing a dress.

kathryng90 Sat 14-Feb-15 11:20:07

So go shopping and get one. My son aged 4 loves all things glittery and goes to school with a sparkly cape on most days and a tutu over his trousers. We have a large dressing up box and he chooses randomly what to wear or not as the mood takes him. A few curious looks in the playground but no one has said anything. I am openly lesbian and also a childminder of 24 years. Is that relevant? I don't know! Is he gay? I don't know? Will wearing a dress or tutu influence his sexuality? No. He is what he is - loved - and allowed to express himself how he wishes.

Honeybadger83 Mon 16-Feb-15 16:24:38

We found him a simple little dress in Primark today, and he's currently wearing it over his jeans and skipping around the living room.
Thanks for your thoughts, guys

TheSandman Wed 18-Feb-15 04:00:36

My five year son old asked for a Frozen dress on his letter to Father Christmas last year. He got it. He has a pal who likes Barbie dolls and when they get together they both put on frocks and run around being princesses - who shoot Daleks and zombies. Kids are surreal.

Jenny70 Wed 18-Feb-15 04:41:58

My son aged 4 went through a dress phase... first I put him off saying we didn't have one his size. But when he kept asking, then asked at the shops if we could buy one, I decided "why not?". Bought pink dress with lace edging, he wore it to all special occasions - raised a few eyebrows and silly comments, but I just said "I hardly think wearing a dress aged 4 will turn him gay".

He's now 11 and although revolted at the idea of girls, shows no tendencies towards trans gender, identity confusion etc.

Was just a phase, hey ho, worse things happen than a boy in a dress.

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