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Does my son have gender identity issues?

I am a little worried that my recently turned 4 year old son has stated to me that he is sad to be a boy. For the past two years we have been pretty liberal with allowing him to do what he wants and watch what he likes. He was very into princesses and even when watching "boy" shows he would seem to identify with the female characters so we would buy him the female action figures to play with so he would normally pretend to be females in his role play.

We took him to Disneyworld at 3 1/2 and he had fun taking pictures and meeting all the princesses. He has also been into Dora, etc. When he turned 4 last month we started taking away the "feminine" movies and tried to start him watching more masculine shows but he doesn't really seem to be taking to any of them.

He likes to jump around a lot and is a very active child who loves playgrounds, water activities etc. but he has never really been into truly "boy" things like cars, trucks, trains, tools, sports, etc. He also likes to wear my shoes (although I think this comes from one of the shows he watches called Franny's Feet), but he doesn't really care to wear my husband's shoes when he has the chance. He likes light colours like green, yellow, and sometimes pink.

After he stated he was sad to be a boy and why we didn't make him a girl, we took him to toys r us to cheer him up and told him he could pick any toy in the store. He basically ignored the boys section and picked up all "girly" items including a Snow White costume which he wanted.

His best friends are boys and he plays well with boys when around them. His teachers don't notice anything unusual at school but my feeling is that he gets along better with the girls and would probably prefer to play with the girls at the kitchen set then with the boys doing other things.

Is my son having gender issues? is he responding to the fact that we took his feminine comfort toys away? is he going to be gay or does he truly want to be a girl?

So many questions are going through our minds right now as to what to do? Were we wrong to so heavily allow his princess and "girl" tendencies? What do we do now? Should we try to curtail his "feminine" interests.

Please help if anyone has had similar situations. I wouldn't be concerned if he had one or two female tendencies if he had a balance of "male" tendencies.

Does anyone else have experiences

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 9:00 PM on Feb. 12, 2011 in General Parenting

Answers (17)
  • You were right to allow him to explore his options in play. I dont know if he is, but you could take him to a child pyschologist to discuss this further. At least you are preparing yourself for the possibility & seem to be loving & supportive parents, which is what your child needs.

    Answer by mrsmom110 at 9:08 PM on Feb. 12, 2011

  • He's four. I wouldn't worry yet. And if I were you I would get over the "it's okay for him to be a little bit girly as long as he's a lot boyish" because if he does have gender identity "issues" that thinking will end up hurting him.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:10 PM on Feb. 12, 2011

  • First of all, I commend you for allowing your DS to be who he is, there are FAR too few parents who would do so. If you are truly concerned about gender identity disorder I would ask your ped for a recommendation to a child psychologist. It is really too early for a concrete diagnosis, but they can help you know where to go from here.

    Answer by peanutsmommy1 at 9:11 PM on Feb. 12, 2011

  • do you know what a transgender is? it's a person who was born mentally the opposite sex of what they were born physically. he could very well be a female trapped in a males body. if that is the case it's not an identity issue. just let him be who he is. forcing him to be something he is not will hurt him more than you can imagine.

    Answer by momofone725 at 9:11 PM on Feb. 12, 2011

  • My son is 3 and loves to do my make up & hair and put makeup on himself [mainly bronzer] my career is at a Hair salon but he loves my shoes; I think he's just a normal kid to be honest i went through a tomboy state from 4-7 but out grew it. I think it's normal behavior to be honest. I'm not a doctor but that's justm y opinion.

    Answer by Jersey_class at 9:12 PM on Feb. 12, 2011

  • He is only 4. My brother played with only girls and I even dressed him up as a girl. He started playing more with boy items as he got older and modeled other boys. I would let him play with whatever he wants and do not worry about it. When he gets older you will have a better idea.

    Answer by jthor at 9:13 PM on Feb. 12, 2011

  • "What do we do now?" <===the same thing you've always done:love him to pieces. Give him the freedom to learn and explore and love him no patter WHAT transpires. My gut says that it's just a phase he's going through and really just wants your love and acceptance of HIS choices. Will you love him any less if he's gay or transgendered?

    Answer by Rosehawk at 9:19 PM on Feb. 12, 2011

  • 4 is way too young to think a child has gender issues... if that were the case there would be countless cases over baby dolls, shoes, and putting on mommy'sdress... later in life they are horrified by doing the same things they find so fun while too young to know the difference! I used to tease my baby brother about how I put a dress on him, at the time he wanted it, but as an older child he would shush me and pretend it never happened...

    Answer by MommaClark3 at 9:20 PM on Feb. 12, 2011

  • If it were me in your shoes I would go see a child psychologist perhaps not to "change" him but to answer your questions and help you in deciding what changes if any you can make.  I'm not going to lie. I'd be really worried but that's just my close mindedness.  I can admit it.   Knowing is better than guessing. 


    Answer by RentaMom at 9:48 PM on Feb. 12, 2011

  • In my opionon I think that it is to early to be concerned about such things. He's to young.

    Answer by stitchintime at 9:49 PM on Feb. 12, 2011

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