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Toddler boy likes to wear dresses

(15 Posts)
foolmadammas Sun 02-Aug-15 18:55:11

I've been lurking for a few months, this is my first actual post.

My DS is aged 2 and he loves to dress up in princess/fairy dresses - both at nursery and at home (I have an older DD who has plenty for him to choose from!).

I am pretty relaxed about this - I do let him put the dresses on and play in them as he wishes. My DH on the other hand does not feel comfortable with it at all, and we have had several conversations where he has said that we shouldn't allow it.

The main reason that he gives me for that is that he thinks that it is embarrassing and that people will laugh at our son. I know that it does often draw comments from family members etc, but in my view they are either positive comments, or from people from an older generation to whom it does seem unusual, and I ignore these comments.

I did chat with his nursery teacher last year, and she said that most boys in the class also enjoyed wearing dresses, but I think that my DH thinks that I am making this up, and that DS is the only boy who does it.

My DH and I have just had another discussion whereby he expressed his desire for me to stop allowing DS to wear dresses, and I expressed my reluctance to do so, as I see it purely as a natural phase, and one that does no harm. I really fear that by stopping him from doing this, it would really confuse him and not be a positive thing. We both always end up bitter and twisted about this subject, and I feel upset about it, both as I feel sad for my DS and also a bit judged for my parenting approach.

On just about every other aspect of parenting we are aligned - it is just this one area where we have differing views.

I'm not looking for my DH's view to be flamed, or necessarily mine to be vociferously supported. What I am after is any resources or evidence that I could give to my DH to try and get him to take a more relaxed approach.......... any books or websites that I could refer to, for example?


KatyN Mon 03-Aug-15 09:26:27

I think you need to talk with your DH about 'the worst'. Is he concerned your son is gay, or transgender. How will he (dh) cope with comments if your son started wearing dresses at 15? [I've had a few comments about my 3.8 year old having a girlfriend and I've quietly said he might have a boyfriend, but also back off and stop sexualising his relationships so early].

On a purely practical note, does you son have dressing up clothes for 'boys'?

shirleybasseyslovechild Mon 03-Aug-15 09:41:42

stick to your guns.
your son's behaviour is completely normal .
your husband is being silly

squizita Mon 03-Aug-15 09:59:16

It's not unusual for boys to dress up in dresses. .. just as girls might put on dress up trousers. It's normal ... what's not good instilling shame so young. sad

Shelduck Mon 03-Aug-15 10:13:47

Yeah, this is such a shame. I think this is one of the areas in which boys/men get really screwed by gender inequality. DS also wears dresses (yes - really is totally normal). And although DH is really liberal in most ways (e.g. never assumes that DS will grow up straight, open to possibility he will be gay, and cool with it), i still notice him steering DS away from pink things e.g. "Oh no, that's a girl's bike" in the bike shop. And I'm not even sure he is aware he is doing it.

Anyway, you asked for resources rather than opinions.

What about this? Maybe a couple of refernces to follow up on?

There's also this, but given that it's a small section on a page about broader cross-dressing, it might just be more alarming than reassuring!

Athenaviolet Mon 03-Aug-15 10:22:49

Kids dress up.

It's normal.

DP is being a shit parent by trying to discourage normal child behaviour.

Dresses are no more girls clothes than jeans are boys clothes.

StitchingMoss Mon 03-Aug-15 10:24:44

It's not unusual! I was dressing my DB up in dresses in the 70s, it's certainly not a "new" thing.

toffeeboffin Mon 03-Aug-15 19:42:06

Its no big deal. If he had an older brother he would be dressing up in Army costume, he's just working with what he's got!

foolmadammas Mon 03-Aug-15 19:42:14

Thanks for the responses. Yes, DS does have typical 'boy' dressing up clothes, but really isn't interested in them, apart from Superman's cape as he it is like Elsa's...... He just loves the pink, sparkly princess type dresses the most.

Things have blown over again and I am sure it won't be mentioned for a few months again. I will just continue as we are, but I will look at those links Shelduck - hopefully they may help back up my position a bit more eloquently than I have been doing.

SylvanianCaliphate Mon 03-Aug-15 19:44:28

Dresses fine.

It's Thomas you need to be wary of.

My DB loved Thomas with all his heart and now he's an adult he's a.....

Trainspotter shock

BlueChampagne Tue 04-Aug-15 13:50:30

It's not at all uncommon, and may go one for a while. I think dressing up stuff "for girls" is more interesting, dramatic and simply prettier than dressing up stuff "for boys". Pink is just a colour like any other.

foolmadammas Tue 04-Aug-15 20:57:05

Sylvanian - that made me laugh!!

Bluehampagne - that is exactly how I see it too.......

knittingbee Tue 04-Aug-15 21:23:58

DS has just turned 4 and has started stating that certain things are for boys and others for girls. Society foists this stuff on kids soon enough. However, he does still like his big toenails painted sometimes ;)

No science from me I'm afraid, but I'm sure if this was the other way round, your DH wouldn't bat an eyelid at DD dressing as a soldier or whatever. As a PP said, making a toddler feel shame at being themselves IS unhealthy so DH should back off and let your DS develop normally.

PS my DM dressed me in frocks from the word go. Pink ones. I became a very ungirlie girl - football supporter, beer drinker, rarely wear a frock. So wearing a princess dress at 2 doesn't mean you'll be wearing one at 32. And even if it did... Who cares?!

PaulineFossil Tue 04-Aug-15 21:49:55

At 2 they love copying and joining in with whatever you're doing. Ask him to think about what your daughter enjoyed at this age - I expect she played games that mimicked what she saw you and your dh doing. Did he worry about that? Does your daughter still do all the same things she did at 2? The only difference here is that your son has an older sister to copy as well as his parents. Every boy I know that age with an older sister loves the princess dresses. Because it's normal and healthy.

Headisinsand Sat 08-Aug-15 05:15:09

My son had a party dress from his sister. I did buy him a floral shirt and fancy vest but he used the dress for ages and wore pink trainers, flowery socks and hair clips.
He is at school now and the most boyish boy you ever met. Likes dragon tattoos rather than the butterflies his sisters used to adorn him with and weapons of all sorts in spite of me actively discouraging them.
Let them be who they are I think, I just want him to be happy to be himself.

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