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3 yr old asking 'whats a girl?' what do you say?

(41 Posts)
YoJesse Sun 30-Oct-16 07:31:40

Because of nursery school, lots of talk about boys and girls. Ds decided he likes girls more than boys and is now asking 'whats a girl? ' how do you answer in a way that's not anatomical (he knows girls have fannys and boys have willies) and not stereotypical, like girls have long hair etc. Should I just say they're children, like you?
Sorry if this isn't the right place.

WalrusGumboot Sun 30-Oct-16 07:38:04

Could you point out the other girls in his life? Eg mummy, nanny, auntie etc?

Prisencolinensinainciusol Sun 30-Oct-16 07:40:16

It's a very vague question, probably needs some investigation as to what he actually means. My toddlers came out with incredibly profound sounding questions sometimes, but they always just meant something pretty straightforward when I figured out what they meant.

But I'd probably go with what you've said, boys and girls are children, the same except their bodies are a bit different. Anatomical differences are the only thing you've got really.

Rockpebblestone Sun 30-Oct-16 07:40:54

Sounds correct to me. You can say girls become women and boys become men. Girls can grow up and become mothers and boys fathers. You could say some (but not all) people dress boys and girls differently but there is no actual, practical reason why they should.

neonrainbow Sun 30-Oct-16 07:41:35

A young female human under the age of 18.

VikingVolva Sun 30-Oct-16 07:42:07

'Girls are children who grow up to be women, like mummy. Boys are children who grow up to become men like Daddy' (or other suitable male if there is no DF in his day-to-day life). I think your line about boys and girls are all children is good, and can later be reinforced by saying that children can play how they like and do what they want regardless of whether that are boys or girls.

There is no need to go into every possible permutation of sex or gender at this point. It's most likely to be normal curiosity which comes with that tiny bit more independence of going to nursery, as he may not have interacted that much with groups of children by himself before.

ChocChocPorridge Sun 30-Oct-16 07:42:18

TBH I went with anatomical, and minimised that.

First I asked why DS2 was asking, and what he thought - he wasn't really sure, it seemed to be that he'd heard these words. (DS1 at a similar age had said long hair and eyelashes). Then I told him that the only difference between boys and girls was that boys had willies and girls had a vulva (nod to MN there).

Later on in the car his older brother (DS1, 6) took the conversation a bit further, and pointed out that only girls can have babies, and we discussed how women have a little pouch inside their tummy where they grow a baby, and a special hole that the baby comes out of (which stays squeezed shut most of the time, so no, you can't look at it because there's nothing to see).

I'm very strong on the idea that there are no girl/boy colours/toys/clothes and everyone can do whatever they want, and any kid that tells them otherwise is being silly.

YoJesse Sun 30-Oct-16 07:45:36

He's had a massive speech delay so questions are a new thing tbh! I think some of the responses suggested might be a bit advanced for his understanding.
I like the idea of pointing out women in the family that used to be girls and that girls can grow up to be mum's, boys can grow up to be dad's

BertrandRussell Sun 30-Oct-16 07:49:05

I woildn't say "grow up to be mums and dads" - say "grow up to be men and women."

midnightlurker Sun 30-Oct-16 07:49:10

I will explain (simply) about DNA and that girls are two x and boys x y. Then show the differences that brings - anatomy, growing up to carry children (women) or not (men), differences developmentally etc. Emphasise that both boys and girls are important to our world and look at male/female other animal species. I have one of each though and they are already aware that there are differences between them (not through anything anyone said or did, just observation). I love watching them grow and develop differently with access to exactly the same toys and learning experiences!!

VashtaNerada Sun 30-Oct-16 07:49:49

At that age I'd go with anatomy and just make it clear that girls and boys can do exactly the same things and like the same toys. If really pushed I think I've said things like "yes, girls do sometimes wear dresses but if a boy wanted to wear a dress that's okay too" or "yes, boys often have short hair but not always".
I didn't introduce the concept of trans people till mine were older. Explaining to DD that a transmasculine friend of ours "used to be a girl" (& yes I know that's not the right language but it had to be child-friendly) - her face was an absolute picture! grin

BabyGanoush Sun 30-Oct-16 07:53:51

COme on OP!


Tell him gender is an evil societal constructgrin

YoJesse Sun 30-Oct-16 07:58:24

Eh? confused
I want him to know girls and boys are two separate things but both can do exactly what they want to and should be equally respected regardless of their sex.

I can't get started on any trans stuff because it confuses me. I'm trying to learn via Mn!

WalrusGumboot Sun 30-Oct-16 08:01:31

You'd go into DNA with a three year old Midnight? Really? grin

Datun Sun 30-Oct-16 08:07:48

I always answered questions simply and left it at that. If they want more you can go further. My mum (a nurse) went into Fallopian tubes and the whole nine yards - I was a bit confused

Pointeshoes Sun 30-Oct-16 08:09:48

You guys do make me laugh

Terrifiedandregretful Sun 30-Oct-16 08:52:32

I'd say something like girls grow up to be women (like mummy) and boys grow up to be men (like daddy), they often dress differently but they don't have to.

Shakey15000 Sun 30-Oct-16 08:59:23

That's a strange question to be asked. And surely you'd just say "Like Emily, she's a girl" and that would be that?? confused

What am I missing that would need answering inline? Genuinely!

Elendon Sun 30-Oct-16 08:59:35

Girls are female and boys are male. We are mammals, like a female cat and a male cat.

Shakey15000 Sun 30-Oct-16 09:00:09


ErrolTheDragon Sun 30-Oct-16 09:03:17

Keep it simple unless he asks more detailed questions about the hows and whys. Just something like, girls grow up to become women, boys grow up to become men, but while you're children you're all just kids and it shouldn't really matter if you're a girl or a boy, play with whoever and whatever you want.

Might be worth thinking of a few people you know who don't fit stereotypes in case you need examples if he asks more. And/or unstereotypical behaviours of your own.

Elendon Sun 30-Oct-16 09:06:25

Then, expand, females give birth to babies, like mum did with you. Males help to do this, which is why you have a daddy. Just like when puppies and kittens are born.

Keep it simple, they can learn the bigger stuff later in life.

Prisencolinensinainciusol Sun 30-Oct-16 09:34:49

That's a strange question to be asked. And surely you'd just say "Like Emily, she's a girl" and that would be that?

Yes, that's kinda what I meant in my post, we as adults can read too much into very simple questions. I think this would be a good place to start. There might be follow up questions, but deal with the simplest ideas first.

LyndaNotLinda Sun 30-Oct-16 09:40:54

Why would you answer in a way that's not anatomical? That's the difference after all.

Girls have vaginas and vulvas, boys have penises and testes. Girls grow up to become women, boys grow up to become men. And boys and girls can do anything or be anything they like - people who say things are only for girls or only for boys are being silly.

And do you want pasta or baked potato for tea?

YoJesse Sun 30-Oct-16 09:41:47

Maybe I was reading to much into it but I try to make an effort to answer his questions as it's a massive leap forward in his speech development and I want to encourage it but didn't know what to say bar "girls are children" . He talks alot about girls and boys rather than just saying children so it's obviously something he's thinking about

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