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7yo daughter tells people she’s a boy

(57 Posts)
Happydays87 Fri 29-Jun-18 08:26:12

Morning- first post for me, looking for some experienced advice pls smile

Our 7yo daughter loves boys clothes, shoes & wont entertain anything else. She’s always been allowed to choose. She’s happy to socialise with all children, but main friendships are always with boys... fine with us.

Just over a year ago she asked if she could shave her hair off, we let her. No problem, it suits her fine and it’s practical (no more headlice, woo!)

We’ve noticed in the last 6 months whenever she meets new children, she will tell them she’s a boy. They always assume she is anyway; during play when they say “he” she won’t correct them. It’s a mix of both - sometimes she tells them she’s a boy, sometimes she just doesn’t correct. I saw a boy the other day ask why she had some girls stuff in her bedroom, she said it was her sisters ! (Hasn’t got one grin)

My thoughts so far are that other children don’t really care if she’s “he or she”, they just want to get on and play. I feel sad that she’s not confident enough to tell people she’s a girl but enjoys being different & that’s OK?

For info There are a few things which OH will not allow- wearing boys swim trunks and no top (she has a plain costume), wearing boys boxer shorts. She has plain girls school shoes.

He has told her that lying isn’t OK, we are proud of her and happy for her to have freedom to choose, but he says she won’t build trusting friendships with people if she lies all the time ... my worry is OH has said she will no longer be allowed to wear boys clothes if she continues to lie about who she is! I don’t want to do more harm than good. (Would prefer not to start having huge bust ups at home either!)


holeintheboat Fri 29-Jun-18 08:30:23

I used to tell people I was James Bond. Didn’t mean I was.

Seek therapy for her.

claraschu Fri 29-Jun-18 08:38:04

There was a girl like this in my daughter's primary school class. She played only with the boys, wore boys' uniform, joined the boys for any sort of activity which usually divided along boy/girl lines. Everyone just let her do what she wanted, with very little comment.

She is now 16, a beautiful girl, very outspoken, with a serious boyfriend, and seems very comfortable with herself.

SickerThanYourAverage Fri 29-Jun-18 08:41:48

Am with your OH from a trust point of view...being in the habit of telling the truth even when you may feel awkward is a good thing to start early on.

From a practical point of view, not allowing boxers is also great...I know an older child in similar situation but who was allowed to wear she is a teenager who has started her periods, the impracticalities of boxers and sanitary towels have just become obvious and she totally refuses to wear girls pants.

People mainly just assume she is a boy, and she doesn't correct them although if asked, she would say girl. She wears entirely boy clothes and does nothing/owns nothing feminine at all at age 14!

LML83 Fri 29-Jun-18 08:47:42

My DD is very sporty loves playing football and usually wears football strips, plays more with boys and 'likes boy stuff' I remind her that although more boys than girls like these things it's not boy stuff, people like what they like and that's ok it's not boy stuff or girl stuff.

I would tell her she is a girl, she shouldn't lie to her friends as there is no need.

She is now in an awkward position where her friends believe she is a boy and she will have to announce she is a girl. Perhaps sort that some how for her and she will be happier in her own skin.

Next time you see her friends tell them. At that age the accept most things. It will blow over quickly.

BikeRunSki Fri 29-Jun-18 08:50:10

She sounds similar to my 6 yo dd, although more extreme. Mine has an ear length bob, but will not tolerate longer hair; only ever wear school shorts/polo shirt or jogging bottoms, shorts and a T shirt - gender neutral or “boys”. Her hobbies are Beavers, cricket, football and mountain biking. All her friends are boys. She will not go to girl-only parties, avd wgrn invited to a knights and princesses party went as an astronaut! I am rather proud of her for following her own groove.

The main difference is that she does not misheard people that she is a girl, and I think this is down to the hair. When she was younger she was often mistaken for a boy, and took this as a huge compliment!

I would say, at 7, to leave your daughter to find her own way to be vomffurtablenwith herself, however long and complex that path may turn out to be. I agree that you need to try and knock the lying about her sex on the head, but equally you need to respect that she may not be “mainstream” aswell.

Babdoc Fri 29-Jun-18 08:50:44

What are “boys’ clothes”? My DDs wore trousers, jeans, trainers, etc as kids and never considered them to be male clothing.
I hope your DD is not being raised in a sexist environment, where she feels she must be a boy if she likes stereotypical male clothes and activities.
Many girls are tomboys, or simply reject the pink frilly princess shit imposed on them by society. It doesn’t mean they’re transgender or whatever. I’m glad your DD is free to express her own choices, but sad that she feels she has to pretend to be a boy in order to do so.

LML83 Fri 29-Jun-18 08:51:27

......that sentence 'tell her she is a girl' sounds weird reading at back. I mean be proud of who she is.
Obv she knows she is a girl, or if there is possibility of trans gender then would be more sensitive.

TellsEveryoneRealFacts Fri 29-Jun-18 08:53:39

No such thing as boys clothes, or boys toys.

Heratnumber7 Fri 29-Jun-18 08:58:23

DD2's group of friends in primary included "Dave".

Dave always dressed in football shirts or other "boy stuff", and had short hair.

Dave's real name was Sarah. Sarah is now a lovely 20+ woman with long blonde hair, in a relationship, with a baby on the way.

My DS told people he was a dog for years.

Kids love to play make believe.

chickedychicked Fri 29-Jun-18 08:59:32

I used to be a 'tomboy", still am in a way, o prefer sports and can't put on make up to save my life and don't want to, more interest in what's generally seen as boys stuff. when i was a child id tell people I wanted to be a boy I also told people o was half Egyptian (very tan skin and dark features and people would ask why) I'm not half Egyptian and I'm still not a boy.

AnnUnderTheFryingPan Fri 29-Jun-18 09:00:02

Nothing wrong with not conforming to gender stereotypes.

I’d let her be for now. Maybe in time gently explain the physical differences which make us the sex we are, she’ll be aware soon enough. If she wants trucks, tiaras or both then she likes what she likes and good for her.

Littlechocola Fri 29-Jun-18 09:01:46

Another who’s child told everyone that he was a dog for years.
Let her just be.
Why the drama?

Happydays87 Fri 29-Jun-18 09:03:34

Huh ok, some slightly odd replies here but thanks in the main smile without getting into semantics, she chooses clothes from the boys section. Clothes which when people look at her, lead them to assume she’s a boy (even when she has longer hair)... but we all knew that’s what I meant anyway, right?! I’m not sure why someone has asked whether we’re raising her to be sexist- not even sure sexist is the right term, but certainly not anyway. hmm My goal is just to encourage her to be happy & comfortable with the truth- I don’t care what she wears or how her hair is, i’d just like to see her grow in confidence with it.

Some good advice - I’ve definitely started chipping in with her friends to remind them she’s a girl & that we think it’s really cool that she likes to be different. Hopefully it will settle in time ! Thanks

argumentativefeminist Fri 29-Jun-18 09:04:03

I would have a word with your OH about trying to control your child like that. It's not a good precedent to set. Yes, they shouldn't be lying, but they also shouldn't learn that other people can and should dictate how you express yourself through your body, clothing and identity, no matter what gender they are.

Branleuse Fri 29-Jun-18 09:05:45

my daughter did this for a couple of years around the same age.
I explained to her that there were so many different ways of being a girl and she could do anything she wanted to do, be anybody she liked while still being a girl. I listed all the incredible unusual non conforming women we knew. She liked it.
She is not conventionally feminine and probably never will be, but she's absolutely fine with being a girl now. She won't wear dresses etc but who cares

Rednaxela Fri 29-Jun-18 09:06:12

OH doesn't sound like he affirmed DD while coming down on the lying.

Tbh there are times and places where lying is actually socially required. So a blanket no lying isn't going to be helpful.

The main point I'm trying to say is it would be more constructive and helpful to DD to sit and talk about what she can say when asked if she is male or female and if people assume etc. She needs stock phrases she can recite. Because soon situations will arise that are quite horrible and she will need assertiveness and confidence that comes from parental love to get through them.

People used to mistake me for a boy in primary school. It was liberating. Secondary school was a different story though and DD needs to be prepared.

TellsEveryoneRealFacts Fri 29-Jun-18 09:06:29

Huh ok, some slightly odd replies here but thanks in the main smile without getting into semantics, she chooses clothes from the boys section. Clothes which when people look at her, lead them to assume she’s a boy (even when she has longer hair)... but we all knew that’s what I meant anyway, right?!

Yeah - loads of kids do this. I am still wearing 'boys' clothes and I am 50. Stop thinking of them as boys clothes - they are just clothes.

My own DSD's friend thought she was a dog for many years; would only bark answers. She is now a grown up and at uni. The more you police it the harder it will set in her head.

serendipitintea Fri 29-Jun-18 09:07:32

My friends daughter is 6 and has been wearing boys underwear for about two years. She went through a phase of calling herself a certain boys name. We aren't worried smile

Ribosomes Fri 29-Jun-18 09:07:50

I did this. I had a 'boy's' name, wore 'boy's' clothes, did 'boy things'. This was in the 60s. I just wanted the freedom it afforded me

My main friends at the time were adults. This didn't mean I was an adult.

I grew up, happy to be a women who seldom wears skirts.

I wouldn't make a big deal about it.

MrsFogi Fri 29-Jun-18 09:08:16

I think that children often go through a stage of being something else for a while (sometimes a long while). I spent six months as "Deborah who is 13" when I was 7, one dd was a cat for 2 years and another was "yellow" for a looooong time (everything she wore was yellow and somehow she "identified" as yellow). I'd say just let her get on with it, it passes the "why not?" test.

KirstenRaymonde Fri 29-Jun-18 09:08:25

My sister was like this, boy’s hair, boys clothes. She grew into a girly, make up loving teenager.
My DM is also a ‘tomboy’ she wears men’s tshirts and trainers, never make up. Remembers playing with mechano as a child. But she’s also a women (and straight, for what it’s worth) So gender in our home didn’t require strict adherence to any rules, and liking ‘boys’ stuff didn’t mean someone wanted to BE a boy like the trans narrative now which just pushes the idea that certain things are just for one sex, they’re not. Let her enjoy herself for now, and make it clear liking boys stuff doesn’t have to mean you’re a boy, it’s all for everyone.

MrsFogi Fri 29-Jun-18 09:12:03

One other thought my sister lived as a boy (i.e. pretty much no-one remembered she was a girl after a while) for a few years in the 80s whilst she was at junior school. No one thought much of it (apart from her getting thrown out of the boy's changing rooms at the local swimming pools once). Then she just carried on her life as a girl at some point (I can't even remember when). I don't think people used to analyse things so much or feel the need to label or categorise children. Well done for not imposting stereotypes on your daughter so that she can choose to be any sort of girl she wants - your op simply describes the sort of girl she is now and that will no doubt change many, many times over the years.

brownmouse Fri 29-Jun-18 09:16:57

My DD wasn't like this at that age. does she actually seem confused about her sex, or does she know it's playing?

I let her wear boys pants too - they were more loose and comfy. But why are you talking about "boxer shorts"? Boys and girls pants at that age are not much different. Seems odd to me.

VanGoghsLeftEar Fri 29-Jun-18 09:24:14

My daughter's best friend went through the same phase as your child, at about the same age. I can say "she" now because for a long time DD had called her by the male version of her name, as she asked, and DD just accepted it. This girl is now identifies as a girl, aged 11, but still has short hair and wears mainly shorts and trousers. I won't fall into the trap of saying she's a tomboy, because she isn't, she is who she wants to be.

My DD also selects clothes mainly from the "boys section" because they feature more of the stuff she's into like Stranger Things, Marvel and Nintendo. It's not a mark on her expressing any gender or sexual preferences, but like her friend, just prefers certain things.

@letclothesbe and @lettoysbetoys on Twitter make the point that clothes and toys shouldn't be divided up according to gender but simply by the interest, hobby or item.

Your child is unique, as all our children are. Just be open-minded and go with the flow. Encourage their hobbies and interests, regardless of historic gender limitations. Ignore societal pressure to put your child in a pigeonhole. Just enjoy them.

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