In the past couple of weeks, little boys who like to dress like girls has caused quite a stir, particularly in the world of mommy bloggers. The topic came to the fore as the result of a five year-old boy who chose to dress like Daphne from Scooby Doo for Halloween. While the little boy’s choice didn’t garner any negative reactions from his classmates, the reactions from their parents were another matter entirely. In fact, those reactions so troubled the little boy’s mother that she took to the blogosphere to sort out her thoughts.
Obviously, not every family will deal well with the issue of having a son who prefers to dress like a girl, whether such a preference ends up being a phase or something more. For most families who do see this in their sons, in fact, the phenomenon will end up being nothing more than a cute photo-op – something to put away for future embarrassment at a wedding rehearsal dinner. For some families, though, having a son who expresses an identification with feminine clothes or accessories can be heart wrenching for any number of reasons.
Whether or not these reasons seem reasonable to the majority of other people is irrelevant. For those families who are concerned, the problem is real.
Developmental psychologists agree that just because a little boy likes to dress up in girls’ clothes does not portend anything for his future. In plain talk – it doesn’t necessarily mean he is gay. In all likelihood, the fact that a boy feels comfortable stepping outside his assigned gender role means two things. First, his parents have been supportive of his expressing himself in a variety of different ways, and, second, he excels at imaginative play. In the vast majority of cases, as boys grow up and go to school, peer pressure, however gently exerted, will naturally ease them away from a fondness for girls’ clothes.
Seasoned parents will often remind newcomers to the job that things which seemed of critical importance at one time often all but fade from memory, often within just a few months. Realize that, regardless of how unusual something your son is doing seems to you, it is nothing that uncounted boys before him have not already done. That thought alone can often put uncomfortable situations into perspective. Finally, realize that your son is still your son, even if his behavior is baffling to you. If you truly think either that your son has a genuine problem, or that your family might have a problem coming to terms with your son, then certainly seek professional counseling.
Especially for the youngest boys, though, it is very important to realize that sometimes a Daphne costume is just a Daphne costume.