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Princess Boys

We all support exploring and expressing oneself fully.  And, we are also in support of playing nice with both boys and girls.  An urbanMama emails:
I am the mother of a 5-year-old boy who is very into all things girly. For Christmas he is begging for the Playmobil Princess Castle, the Princess Treasury book and dress up clothes. We got the mailing for the Princesses on Ice show, and he studied it as though it were the Rosetta Stone. Predictably, all of his friends are girls.
My husband and I are totally into it and are happy to ride the pink train with him. I do have one small concern, though. He's beginning to rule out having friends who are boys, without getting to know them or giving them much of a chance. So, I'm wondering, are their other mamas out there with similar boys? Any tips?

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You know, our son LOVES baby dolls. He loves to pretend that he is a Daddy and that I'm the Grandma. He can spend hours feeding and changing and rocking and nurturing his baby. The nurturing energy is such a nice contrast to the often aggressive energy that he and his brother can trade that I encourage this behavior a lot.

With your particular concern about the choices he is making with friends, I would suggest setting up some play dates with boys. In fact, I would volunteer my loving six year old son... cdscott@comcast.net But setting up some play dates with other boys that you either know or are pretty sure will be able to play in a way that your son will enjoy will offer opportunities for him to create bonds with boys and girls.

Good luck!

I have a 2 year old girl, but still I have to applaud you for your (and your husband's) open mindedness. More people freak out when their son wants to play with a doll, or God forbid, doesn't like to play sports, or worse even, wants to try on a dress. If everyone could just let their kids be kids, and be unassuming of what they will be like later in life, imagine what it would be like. Imagine a world where no child had to "come out" because all of their life they knew that their parents accepted all of their choices. I try to be so careful with my daughter, even at age 2, to not assume she will be heterosexual, or homosexual, or even asexual (at this point, my preference ;)). I try to say things like "if you choose to spend your life with someone" rather than "if you meet a nice boy and settle down" or someday when you are married or have kids" etc. The hardest is not to make comments when she plays with little boys about them being her boyfriends! It's really easy to do. Of course we do not live in a perfect world, but I do believe that by the time our children are adults, the world will be a more accepting place, at least until we find new groups to discriminate against!

About having girl or boy friends, I really like Cindy's idea about setting up playdates, as long as you are willing to take cues from your son about whether it is working for him before setting up a second get together. He might just prefer the company of girls, but that might change in 6 months, or a year, or whenever it is that most boys start thinking that girls are yucky, or it might not. The way I see it, if he is exposed to all possibilities, and then makes his choice, it should be respected, and it sounds like that is what you and your husband live by. Good for you!

The last post made me think of something too (not contrary to the post just an addition) I just wanted to make a quick point that even if your son prefers toys stereotypically reserved for girls, or gets a long better with girls, does not necessarily make him homosexual.

There is a big difference between sexual orientation and sexual identity.

Sexual orientation being which sex you are physically/emotionally attracted to, etc and sexual identity being what gender you personally identify with the most.

I think what you're doing for your son is awesome. The fact alone that you're obviously so conscious of you words and actions in this situation I am sure he will get the message loud and clear that he is loved and accepted.

I am sorry I don't actually have any advice on the actual question you had. :) Having only one ten month old that is uncharted territory for me.

I have a son who is pretty much in the same place, with the one exception of his choice in friends; he seems to enjoy boys and girls both. however, I think it's pretty typical for a little boy at the age of five to eschew playing with girls, and Everett's favorite friends are of the female variety (and he keeps begging for a sister!). not only does he like princess toys, he also has the considerable crew of imaginary princesses who are both his companions and the inspiration for much of his misbehavior (my princesses *needed* me to play that game on your computer, mama!)

He's both in love with a girl and occasionally *plays* a girl during dress-up, so who knows what's going on there.

even though I'm IN your situation, I can't say that I have any advice except, keep exposing him to a variety of playmates and I'm sure he'll find a like-minded little boy eventually.

Interestingly, when one of Everett's friends told him princesses weren't for boys, he just got mad. and, I'm wondering, do your son's princesses have superpowers too?

Thanks so much! I agree that his play choice doesn't have that much to do with his possible sexual orientation. He currently has rather elaborate plans to marry one of his friends, just God help her if she wants to pick out her own wedding dress.

It's nice to know that there are other boys with similar interests and, Cindy, I will e-mail you soon. Thanks again!!!!

I wonder what science (or whomever's job it is to research these things) says about sexual orientation awareness at such young ages. It seems like something would develope physically/chemically/biologically/what-have-you later, maybe around puberty. I dunno. Just seems.

And Sarah, our princesses don't have superpowers, at least not yet. They do, however, dress very well. I'm a tomboy, semi-schlumpy mama who very infrequently wears dresses, so perhaps this is his way of telling me that I should be more feminine.

Absolutely I agree that playing with toys that are "normally" reserved for the opposite gender does not make one gay. I was just elaborating on how great it is to be accepting of all of our children's choices, and not gender typing them. Small statements we make at an early age can stick with them their whole lives, such as "boys aren't supposed to cry" or "girls aren't supposed to get dirty" or the like. I think we are more open minded as parents than the last few generations, but think of all of the things we say without thinking, and believe me, our kids hear every word we say. So my point is, if we are accepting about the small things, it's a huge step toward letting our kids know that we will accept them no matter what. Sorry if people misread what I was trying to say! :)

As an FYI, I didn't mis-read, debby, I was just curious. You hear some people say they knew they where gay when they where 3 years old! I mean, WOW! I don't even rememeber being 3 years old much less having any kind of feelings of attraction for anyone. It's interesting.

I remember something on a sitcom (maybe Will and Grace?) where a guy was talking about how he came out to his parents and how upset they were, and what an issue it caused at his house, and then they had to put the discussion on hold because they had to take him to preschool, or something like that. Monica, I was referring to Sarah's response, not yours, about my prior post. Just wanted to clarify my thoughts!

I have a boy whose best friend is a girl. He doesn't dress up but he plays dolls and stuff with her. I must say that while all of the comments about sexual orientation/identity are very understanding of all of you.....why did you go there? They are only kids playing with toys. The thought of my son being gay because his best friend is a girl or his favorite color is pink, never entered my mind. I just thought it was great that he wasn't a follower.

Delilah, just reread my comment. I never once stated that playing with toys makes someone gay. I repeat, for the last time, I was only saying it's nice to see people supporting their kids playing with toys that are not typified for their gender, because it send a very positive non-judgemental message to our kids. I was just giving an example of how that can make such a difference from experiences I have had. I don't really think it is such a reach.

I have read all the comments. It just seems strange that the original question started with the tone of 'Hey, is anyone else like my kid.' And then it turned into a very different conversation.

I see your point but I don't really agree. I think the conversation you are talking about is everyone responding to my original response. This happens a lot on this forum. Topics take on a life of their own and sometimes deviate to what people have on their minds. I kind of like that about uMs. I hope it never changes! :)

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