A 6-year-old boy wants to play only with girls

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz  September 22, 2009 06:00 AM

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Hi Barbara,

My 6-year-old son, a first grader, has a strong preference for playing with girls. When I ask who he would like to have over a for a play date from school, it is usually a girl. We have recently signed my son up for more boy-related activities in the hopes that he will develop some more friendships with boys. Our concern at this age is many of the moms of girls prefer to have their daughters just have play dates with girls. We are afraid this will leave our son feeling left out. Any other words of advice on how to foster more boy friendships with our son?

From: Nikki, Boston

Hi Nikki,

I think you're dead-on about moms of girls preferring their daughters play with girls and, yes, at some point, that preference not only will be communicated to the girls, but also to your son. So good for you for being pro-active.

I think you're barking up the wrong tree, though, by signing him up for more "boy-related" activities.

Girls and boys play differently. Your son prefers to play with girls because the way girls play is more interesting to him than the way boys play. (Researcher JoAnn Deak's work shows that about 20 percent of girls have a boy-style brain and 20 percent of boys have a girl-style brain.)

I chatted with psychologist Michael Thompson about your question. His work on boys' emotional development is ground-breaking and includes the best-selling book, "Raising Cain." Here's what he had to say:

"Some boys find boy-play too relentlessly competitive, too rough, and not verbal enough. They prefer girl-play because it is verbal, involves creative fantasy, and it tends to be more cooperative. So when this mom says, 'We’re trying to find more boy activities,' I want to know: what ones? Pop Warner football, or a place like the Lexington Center for the Arts? That's where he'll find boys who are like him."

It doesn't mean your son will never like sports, although, let's face it, that is a distinct possibility. "It takes some boys longer to ease into the rough and tumble boy world," Thompson says.

Meanwhile, we've got an elephant in this Mailbag, don't we? Parents who ask a question like this almost always are also (really?) wondering if this tendency to play with girls foreshadows a sexual orientation.

Thompson insists not; Deak's research comes to the same conclusion: This is about temperament, not sexuality. It's about interests and activities lining up with the interests and activities of girls. Which brings us back to the question you did ask, and here's the direct answer: Help your son to find boy playmates whose brains work as his does.

And by the way, if you have time to read only one of Thompson's books, I recommend "Best Friends, Worst Enemies, Understanding the social lives of children."

I answer a question from a reader every weekday. If you want help with some aspect of child-rearing, just write to me here.



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23 comments so far...
  1. I agree with Barbara that you should sign him up for activities he will enjoy. I also suggest talking to his teacher - chances are, there's another boy in the class (or at least the grade), whose style would be simpatico with your son. Then, instead of asking "who do you want to have on a playdate?", ask, "Why don't we invite Johnny over today?". Also, I've found that even some of the more competitive, 'aggressive' boys can play in a more 'girl-like' way when there's not a crowd around. I would suggest getting to know the other moms, too - while most prefer same-gender playdates, many would be open to a boy-girl playdate, particularly once you get to know them.

    Good luck!

    Posted by akmom September 22, 09 06:47 AM
  1. Or find some more open-minded moms. My son also has mostly girls for best friends. We routinely have playdates - it's never been a problem.

    Another thing that has been good for both my sons is Cub Scouts. Cub Scouts do a lot of the 'get dirty rough and tumble' stuff, but also make models, go to museums on sleepovers, and do other guy stuff that isn't necessarily sports. My sons could care less about sports, but they love nature, dramatic play, and arts. The boys who have similar tastes around here tend to be found in scouting.

    Posted by BMS September 22, 09 09:33 AM
  1. While it may be true that this boy may not be gay, I, too, had a son that liked playing with girls and is gay. I agree with the advice re: finding activities that celebrate the way the child's brain and temperament work. My son enjoyed art, building (legos), and nature activities and found male playmates that enjoyed the same activities. I, however, needed support in supporting my gay child. In doing that our family could include all playmates and families regardless of gender.

    Posted by Mom2boys September 22, 09 10:02 AM
  1. My son is 13 now and has always preferred playing with girls. He doesn't play sports, but he is a singer and actor. I guess I was fortunate that the parents of the girls he had playdates with did not mind him playing with their daughters. The problems arose in 6th grade, when his (female) friends would be arguing and the guidance counselor called me to tell me he needs to be more involved in "boy" activities. I was very upset with her since I knew he would be completely uncomfortable with all boys (they would tease him for being "different"). It's much better now, he can be himself. I must add that he did tell us recently that he is gay, but there are plenty of boys that he knows that are not and enjoy the same things he does. I agree with finding activities that your son enjoys and let him be who he is. I think boys who grow up preferring to hang out with girls end up being the most sensitive, loving and understanding husbands!

    Posted by jeem21 September 22, 09 10:18 AM
  1. As the mother of girls, I'd be open to having a boy over for a playdate if I knew my daughter was his friend. If there are particular girls he enjoys playing with, then call their moms to schedule playdates.

    Posted by HollyP September 22, 09 11:16 AM
  1. Should it really matter what the sex is of a child as long as they have a friend that they can call over. Parents of children should be more concerned about the fact that their child is playing with someone that they like and that everyone is respectful of one another. I have boy/girl twins and the girl plays with our boy next door neighbor. My daughter and this boy are best friends. My son has no interest in playing with him. Accept the child for who he is and hopefully everyone else will as well (although we know this is not always the case).

    Posted by momof3 September 22, 09 11:30 AM
  1. Please allow your child to play with the friends that he likes, whether boys or girls. I question the judgment of a parent who would limit playmates based upon gender. I grew up with both male and female friends and we all played together. Having both male and female friends did not make me bisexual. I am gay but having had both male and female friends did not make me gay. In addition, so what if your child is gay? Many fabulous people are gay and he will have a lot of friends.
    I am thankful that my parents and my friends' parents allowed all of us kids to play together. It sounds like parents of the 60s and 70s may have been more advanced than many parents today.

    Posted by James H. September 22, 09 01:04 PM
  1. It does seem that all the gay fellows I know report that they liked to play with girls and that they enjoyed girls' way of playing, but it does not follow that every boy who does is going to be gay. As a child, I liked to play games that were generally more girly--but as it was 25 years ago I was able to seek out my own friends and found boys who liked to play at making forts or splash about in the creek or ride bikes and play with legos--things that are interesting to girly boys and boy-boys as far as I can tell. Now everyone is so afraid to let their children out of the house alone I suppose that kind of independence is gone. The most damaging and hurtful thing was for my parents to try to make me do things I did not like--like sports. I think it's good for a boy to be told what is normative play so that they can perform in the expected manner when they must, but they ought to be told that just because what they like is not what most boys like it is still perfectly all right.

    Posted by Whit September 22, 09 01:25 PM
  1. I was the same way as a young boy. I preferred the company of girls because they were pretty and exciting and different, and the boys in my neighborhood I found boring. I turned out well enough; educated, successful, and I think I'm a pretty good husband and father. Your kid will be fine.

    On another separate thought, if the boy was homosexually inclined, wouldn't he rather be near other boys? Even in the second grade, I remember being attracted to the girls, which is partly why I wanted to be near them.

    Posted by Noah September 22, 09 04:47 PM
  1. My son has always played equally well with both boys and girls, but his best friends are girls. We've never had a hard time getting playdates with girls. We even do sleepovers in the living room -- most parents these days are pretty open-minded.

    My son is very verbal and intelligent and I think he hungered for play other than the highly physical kind, though he enjoys that, too, and also being a sports spectator. He's a preteen so I don't know if he's gay, or if he knows it, but we have to be fine with it if that's the case, though I'm sure grandparents would have a harder time with it. That's MY job though to manage them.

    I am currently reading the book Pink Brain, Blue Brain by Lise Eliot about gender differences. In this book, the author states that based on studies, cross-gender behavior (not friendships) IS a strong predictor of later sexual orientation, at least in boys. But the research clearly shows that there's not anything you can do about it. It's genetic, so there's no real point in worrying about it, and definitely no point in trying to change it. No treatment exists that will reduce a child's chance of being homosexual. Nor should we want to change who our children are fundamentally.

    I wish you luck, Nikki, in finding the right playmates and activities for your son. My son has greatly enjoyed ballroom dance. Obviously, since it's a partner activity, quite a lot of boys do it!

    Posted by Just1voice September 22, 09 05:01 PM
  1. I am female, never liked playing with other girls (still don't, which I why I am grateful for my two sons and the cub scouts I lead). I was a total tomboy, went into a traditionally male occupation (engineering), and still am not very comfortable around other women. But that didn't mean I was a lesbian, as my husband will attest. Although the only women I ever did make friends with in college tended to be lesbian or bisexual - they were the only ones who liked to do interesting things!

    Posted by BMS September 22, 09 05:22 PM
  1. I wouldn't worry. My husband is European and it is very normal for kids to play with both boys and girls and enjoy trucks as well as playing "family" with dolls. I must say though, that my brother is gay. He always liked trucks, all of his gay friends are stunning male types, weight lifting, football playing, para trooper marines with tattoos.No one would ever guess. So basically, you can have a manly man who likes the company of women, or a manly man who prefers the company of men. But who knows if they like mustard or mayo.....

    Posted by moi September 22, 09 06:22 PM
  1. From my experience, it's important a boy gets comfortable playing with boys. It doesn't matter much in first grade but in another year and definitely by third grade, it will matter as the other boys will notice a boy who hangs mostly with the girls. I don't think a kid has to be an athlete, although I think there is a sport for everyone, but they should get used to the boy culture of put-downs, roughhousing, and bathroom humor. That's the enviroment they are going to find themselves in and they need to feel somewhat at ease maneuvering through it.

    Posted by mvparent September 22, 09 06:59 PM
  1. My son has also always gravitated to girls. As a preschooler, he loved dress up and almost always played dress up with girl clothes, both at school and home. I never told him not to do it or made him feel bad about it. At 9 now, he never dresses up but still most of his closest friends are girls. He avoids boy "team" sports like soccer and baseball but excels in swim team and tennis. Those are 2 sports where there are more girls but a significant number of boys also participate. I am a parent that wants my kids to play sports for the experience and for the physical activity so this has worked out great for him. I really have no idea whether or not he is gay...I wouldn't be surprised either way and right now, I make no assumptions about it. He is who he is and I absolutely love who he is. As a parent, my job is to prepare him to be a morale decent human being and whether he is gay or not really doesn't matter to me or my husband.

    Posted by happymom September 22, 09 07:54 PM
  1. maybe u should sign him up for a all boy school

    Posted by patricia October 22, 09 04:34 PM
  1. Thanks so much for all the input. My son prefers girls to play with & he is 7 & in the 1st grade. I am really aprehensive about calling a girl classmates family. One of his female friends mom did approach me & now they get together pretty often. But thanks this gives me some encouragement.

    Posted by ch February 11, 10 02:41 PM
  1. Id really love to see someone explain, sexual preference and how it relates to acting like the opposite sex. If you say that playing with girls only and playing dress up and not hanging around with their peer boys etc, is not an indicator of sexuality, I would disagree. A child emulates their surrounding and if their surroundings are girls then why would they not act like them. If this is untrue as most people here say, then answer why gay men act like women and gay women ( one side of a couple anyway) acts like a man? being gay i am told over and over is about sexual prefernce and attraction. Well then why would a woman who loves women dress and act like a man? and vice versa? Just so you know really dont care who you love or are involved with etc. your choice is yours love is love and life is short. But I think there is a lot of denial and political correctness that keeps aomeone from saying the truth, just like the people who keep saying, well people want to ask is my child gay etc. well this is the doctor/pschychiatrist etc saying well.... Noo of course not, when they really want to say, well its quite possible.

    Posted by sh June 14, 10 03:00 PM
  1. Let kids be kids. Let them enjoy their time to the fullest because childhood is very short lived. We need to love and support them. A happy child will grow up to be more productive and responsible adult.
    I have a six year old boy who loves girly things. He plays a lot with his cousion who is same age as him. At school he playes with boys and girls and very very happy. Just remember, how fortunate and lucky we are our kids are playing. they were a lots of kids who never had a chance to play and they are kids at this time and age who still do not get a chance to play.

    Posted by B.Yacob January 27, 11 08:00 AM
  1. My son is also a first grader who prefers playing with girls..It's strange because, at school, he communicates more with girls and hangs with them at recess. He does NOT want to play football or kickball which are two popular "boy" games on the playground. But, there are times when he plays one on one with another little boy at recess, but more often, when he encounters these boys at other places (we live in small town) such as the park/ballpark, or football/basketball games, he will happily play with them without any encouragement from us. But the same goes for girls at these places. I do worry..not because I don't like the way he is..but that he will be hurt by other people who let him know he is different from the rough and tumble boys....

    Posted by J. Taylor March 4, 11 07:59 PM
  1. Wow. I just came upon this comment after a google search. It is spot on to my 5 1/2 year old new Kindergardener son. It is so true of him that he likes verbal fantasy play. He also likes some sports, but when in a mixed group he is always drawn to play with girls. Thanks for this post. It helps me think about why he looks for friends instead of just who. Really helpful.

    Posted by Katie August 29, 11 09:03 PM
  1. Such great commentary here! My son is now in second grade (7) and has always preferred the company of girls and taking part in girl-related activities, including dress up & being comfortable playing female roles during play activities. Everyone he counts as his closest friends are girls & we're fortunate that all parents involved have absolutely no issue with play dates and the like. In fact, his closest friend is a typical "tomboy," so they usually spend half their time doing "girl" things & half their time engaging in more "boy"-like activities. Echoing what has been stated previously, we're all just thankful that our children have these close friendships & enjoy playing together.

    My son and I are also quite close & have always spent a lot of time together (mainly, doing very typically girl-related activities: reading, crafts, dancing/singing, cooking, play acting, etc.) I often wonder if that is part of the mix. My husband is very much a "man's man" and has a hard time relating to our son -- although he loves him very much!

    We live in a smaller community (4,225), so it is sometimes more difficult to find a broadened spectrum of activities (i.e., non-sports-related) -- especially at the elementary school level -- & like-minded male playmates. However, my son is involved with Cub Scouts & I would agree -- it is refreshing to see such a great mix of activities offered!

    I adore my son to pieces & I wouldn't want him to be anyone else than who he's meant to be. (And, yes, I tell him that religiously!) However, I do worry about the bullying & teasing he will most likely encounter in the years to come since he does not fit the typical boy mold. Currently, he strikes me -- and those who know him -- as quite happy, confident & well-adjusted. But I also know from personal experience that peers (especially at the adolescent stage) can often wear away at your inner strength no matter how hard you try to preserve it.

    I can only hope our continued love & support of him no matter what will see him through any difficult times he might face.

    Posted by bex6070 September 10, 11 04:03 AM
  1. I too am so glad to have come across such an insightful post in my Google search, which was prompted by my 6-year-old son eagerly showing me the new hand-clap routines and songs he learned at recess today. After a little probing, I learned that he plays with girls everyday at recess and when I asked why he doesn't play with any boys, he simply said "...because I don't like it."

    While I wasn't surprised by this information, it got my imagination going. After my son having recently been punched by a 3rd grade girl for no good reason, I began to think about how cruel kids could be. I don't think that his preference to play with girls is any indication that he is gay (aside from the fact that he has been fascinated with one girl in particular since the first week of kindergarten) - I think it's simply what he's used to. My two sisters and I were all pregnant at the same time, but they both had girls, so for the most part, that is all he's known to play with. When he does have boy cousins around (who are used to playing with other boys) there always seems to be a conflict because they are either too rough with him or there is a lack of cooperation which frustrates him to no end. However, he is all boy. He loves all kinds of rough and dirty boy stuff, sports, the whole nine - even blushes when pretty girls come around. He just finds it easier to interact with girls because that is what he is used to.

    I do however, worry about other boys taunting him for playing with girls. Cub Scouts seems like a good way to transition into more direct sports later down the line, as well as to develop friendships with boys with similar interests.

    God bless the internet! There's nothing like getting what feels like an instant support group at the click of a mouse.

    Posted by ksjs November 1, 11 09:49 PM
  1. Im 18 years old and play football at a university and when I was in 1st grade i would always have girls over on pay dates and I wouldn't look at it as a bad thing because every time i had girls over I thought we were dating and in a relationship.

    Posted by Tim April 9, 13 09:35 AM
 
23 comments so far...
  1. I agree with Barbara that you should sign him up for activities he will enjoy. I also suggest talking to his teacher - chances are, there's another boy in the class (or at least the grade), whose style would be simpatico with your son. Then, instead of asking "who do you want to have on a playdate?", ask, "Why don't we invite Johnny over today?". Also, I've found that even some of the more competitive, 'aggressive' boys can play in a more 'girl-like' way when there's not a crowd around. I would suggest getting to know the other moms, too - while most prefer same-gender playdates, many would be open to a boy-girl playdate, particularly once you get to know them.

    Good luck!

    Posted by akmom September 22, 09 06:47 AM
  1. Or find some more open-minded moms. My son also has mostly girls for best friends. We routinely have playdates - it's never been a problem.

    Another thing that has been good for both my sons is Cub Scouts. Cub Scouts do a lot of the 'get dirty rough and tumble' stuff, but also make models, go to museums on sleepovers, and do other guy stuff that isn't necessarily sports. My sons could care less about sports, but they love nature, dramatic play, and arts. The boys who have similar tastes around here tend to be found in scouting.

    Posted by BMS September 22, 09 09:33 AM
  1. While it may be true that this boy may not be gay, I, too, had a son that liked playing with girls and is gay. I agree with the advice re: finding activities that celebrate the way the child's brain and temperament work. My son enjoyed art, building (legos), and nature activities and found male playmates that enjoyed the same activities. I, however, needed support in supporting my gay child. In doing that our family could include all playmates and families regardless of gender.

    Posted by Mom2boys September 22, 09 10:02 AM
  1. My son is 13 now and has always preferred playing with girls. He doesn't play sports, but he is a singer and actor. I guess I was fortunate that the parents of the girls he had playdates with did not mind him playing with their daughters. The problems arose in 6th grade, when his (female) friends would be arguing and the guidance counselor called me to tell me he needs to be more involved in "boy" activities. I was very upset with her since I knew he would be completely uncomfortable with all boys (they would tease him for being "different"). It's much better now, he can be himself. I must add that he did tell us recently that he is gay, but there are plenty of boys that he knows that are not and enjoy the same things he does. I agree with finding activities that your son enjoys and let him be who he is. I think boys who grow up preferring to hang out with girls end up being the most sensitive, loving and understanding husbands!

    Posted by jeem21 September 22, 09 10:18 AM
  1. As the mother of girls, I'd be open to having a boy over for a playdate if I knew my daughter was his friend. If there are particular girls he enjoys playing with, then call their moms to schedule playdates.

    Posted by HollyP September 22, 09 11:16 AM
  1. Should it really matter what the sex is of a child as long as they have a friend that they can call over. Parents of children should be more concerned about the fact that their child is playing with someone that they like and that everyone is respectful of one another. I have boy/girl twins and the girl plays with our boy next door neighbor. My daughter and this boy are best friends. My son has no interest in playing with him. Accept the child for who he is and hopefully everyone else will as well (although we know this is not always the case).

    Posted by momof3 September 22, 09 11:30 AM
  1. Please allow your child to play with the friends that he likes, whether boys or girls. I question the judgment of a parent who would limit playmates based upon gender. I grew up with both male and female friends and we all played together. Having both male and female friends did not make me bisexual. I am gay but having had both male and female friends did not make me gay. In addition, so what if your child is gay? Many fabulous people are gay and he will have a lot of friends.
    I am thankful that my parents and my friends' parents allowed all of us kids to play together. It sounds like parents of the 60s and 70s may have been more advanced than many parents today.

    Posted by James H. September 22, 09 01:04 PM
  1. It does seem that all the gay fellows I know report that they liked to play with girls and that they enjoyed girls' way of playing, but it does not follow that every boy who does is going to be gay. As a child, I liked to play games that were generally more girly--but as it was 25 years ago I was able to seek out my own friends and found boys who liked to play at making forts or splash about in the creek or ride bikes and play with legos--things that are interesting to girly boys and boy-boys as far as I can tell. Now everyone is so afraid to let their children out of the house alone I suppose that kind of independence is gone. The most damaging and hurtful thing was for my parents to try to make me do things I did not like--like sports. I think it's good for a boy to be told what is normative play so that they can perform in the expected manner when they must, but they ought to be told that just because what they like is not what most boys like it is still perfectly all right.

    Posted by Whit September 22, 09 01:25 PM
  1. I was the same way as a young boy. I preferred the company of girls because they were pretty and exciting and different, and the boys in my neighborhood I found boring. I turned out well enough; educated, successful, and I think I'm a pretty good husband and father. Your kid will be fine.

    On another separate thought, if the boy was homosexually inclined, wouldn't he rather be near other boys? Even in the second grade, I remember being attracted to the girls, which is partly why I wanted to be near them.

    Posted by Noah September 22, 09 04:47 PM
  1. My son has always played equally well with both boys and girls, but his best friends are girls. We've never had a hard time getting playdates with girls. We even do sleepovers in the living room -- most parents these days are pretty open-minded.

    My son is very verbal and intelligent and I think he hungered for play other than the highly physical kind, though he enjoys that, too, and also being a sports spectator. He's a preteen so I don't know if he's gay, or if he knows it, but we have to be fine with it if that's the case, though I'm sure grandparents would have a harder time with it. That's MY job though to manage them.

    I am currently reading the book Pink Brain, Blue Brain by Lise Eliot about gender differences. In this book, the author states that based on studies, cross-gender behavior (not friendships) IS a strong predictor of later sexual orientation, at least in boys. But the research clearly shows that there's not anything you can do about it. It's genetic, so there's no real point in worrying about it, and definitely no point in trying to change it. No treatment exists that will reduce a child's chance of being homosexual. Nor should we want to change who our children are fundamentally.

    I wish you luck, Nikki, in finding the right playmates and activities for your son. My son has greatly enjoyed ballroom dance. Obviously, since it's a partner activity, quite a lot of boys do it!

    Posted by Just1voice September 22, 09 05:01 PM
  1. I am female, never liked playing with other girls (still don't, which I why I am grateful for my two sons and the cub scouts I lead). I was a total tomboy, went into a traditionally male occupation (engineering), and still am not very comfortable around other women. But that didn't mean I was a lesbian, as my husband will attest. Although the only women I ever did make friends with in college tended to be lesbian or bisexual - they were the only ones who liked to do interesting things!

    Posted by BMS September 22, 09 05:22 PM
  1. I wouldn't worry. My husband is European and it is very normal for kids to play with both boys and girls and enjoy trucks as well as playing "family" with dolls. I must say though, that my brother is gay. He always liked trucks, all of his gay friends are stunning male types, weight lifting, football playing, para trooper marines with tattoos.No one would ever guess. So basically, you can have a manly man who likes the company of women, or a manly man who prefers the company of men. But who knows if they like mustard or mayo.....

    Posted by moi September 22, 09 06:22 PM
  1. From my experience, it's important a boy gets comfortable playing with boys. It doesn't matter much in first grade but in another year and definitely by third grade, it will matter as the other boys will notice a boy who hangs mostly with the girls. I don't think a kid has to be an athlete, although I think there is a sport for everyone, but they should get used to the boy culture of put-downs, roughhousing, and bathroom humor. That's the enviroment they are going to find themselves in and they need to feel somewhat at ease maneuvering through it.

    Posted by mvparent September 22, 09 06:59 PM
  1. My son has also always gravitated to girls. As a preschooler, he loved dress up and almost always played dress up with girl clothes, both at school and home. I never told him not to do it or made him feel bad about it. At 9 now, he never dresses up but still most of his closest friends are girls. He avoids boy "team" sports like soccer and baseball but excels in swim team and tennis. Those are 2 sports where there are more girls but a significant number of boys also participate. I am a parent that wants my kids to play sports for the experience and for the physical activity so this has worked out great for him. I really have no idea whether or not he is gay...I wouldn't be surprised either way and right now, I make no assumptions about it. He is who he is and I absolutely love who he is. As a parent, my job is to prepare him to be a morale decent human being and whether he is gay or not really doesn't matter to me or my husband.

    Posted by happymom September 22, 09 07:54 PM
  1. maybe u should sign him up for a all boy school

    Posted by patricia October 22, 09 04:34 PM
  1. Thanks so much for all the input. My son prefers girls to play with & he is 7 & in the 1st grade. I am really aprehensive about calling a girl classmates family. One of his female friends mom did approach me & now they get together pretty often. But thanks this gives me some encouragement.

    Posted by ch February 11, 10 02:41 PM
  1. Id really love to see someone explain, sexual preference and how it relates to acting like the opposite sex. If you say that playing with girls only and playing dress up and not hanging around with their peer boys etc, is not an indicator of sexuality, I would disagree. A child emulates their surrounding and if their surroundings are girls then why would they not act like them. If this is untrue as most people here say, then answer why gay men act like women and gay women ( one side of a couple anyway) acts like a man? being gay i am told over and over is about sexual prefernce and attraction. Well then why would a woman who loves women dress and act like a man? and vice versa? Just so you know really dont care who you love or are involved with etc. your choice is yours love is love and life is short. But I think there is a lot of denial and political correctness that keeps aomeone from saying the truth, just like the people who keep saying, well people want to ask is my child gay etc. well this is the doctor/pschychiatrist etc saying well.... Noo of course not, when they really want to say, well its quite possible.

    Posted by sh June 14, 10 03:00 PM
  1. Let kids be kids. Let them enjoy their time to the fullest because childhood is very short lived. We need to love and support them. A happy child will grow up to be more productive and responsible adult.
    I have a six year old boy who loves girly things. He plays a lot with his cousion who is same age as him. At school he playes with boys and girls and very very happy. Just remember, how fortunate and lucky we are our kids are playing. they were a lots of kids who never had a chance to play and they are kids at this time and age who still do not get a chance to play.

    Posted by B.Yacob January 27, 11 08:00 AM
  1. My son is also a first grader who prefers playing with girls..It's strange because, at school, he communicates more with girls and hangs with them at recess. He does NOT want to play football or kickball which are two popular "boy" games on the playground. But, there are times when he plays one on one with another little boy at recess, but more often, when he encounters these boys at other places (we live in small town) such as the park/ballpark, or football/basketball games, he will happily play with them without any encouragement from us. But the same goes for girls at these places. I do worry..not because I don't like the way he is..but that he will be hurt by other people who let him know he is different from the rough and tumble boys....

    Posted by J. Taylor March 4, 11 07:59 PM
  1. Wow. I just came upon this comment after a google search. It is spot on to my 5 1/2 year old new Kindergardener son. It is so true of him that he likes verbal fantasy play. He also likes some sports, but when in a mixed group he is always drawn to play with girls. Thanks for this post. It helps me think about why he looks for friends instead of just who. Really helpful.

    Posted by Katie August 29, 11 09:03 PM
  1. Such great commentary here! My son is now in second grade (7) and has always preferred the company of girls and taking part in girl-related activities, including dress up & being comfortable playing female roles during play activities. Everyone he counts as his closest friends are girls & we're fortunate that all parents involved have absolutely no issue with play dates and the like. In fact, his closest friend is a typical "tomboy," so they usually spend half their time doing "girl" things & half their time engaging in more "boy"-like activities. Echoing what has been stated previously, we're all just thankful that our children have these close friendships & enjoy playing together.

    My son and I are also quite close & have always spent a lot of time together (mainly, doing very typically girl-related activities: reading, crafts, dancing/singing, cooking, play acting, etc.) I often wonder if that is part of the mix. My husband is very much a "man's man" and has a hard time relating to our son -- although he loves him very much!

    We live in a smaller community (4,225), so it is sometimes more difficult to find a broadened spectrum of activities (i.e., non-sports-related) -- especially at the elementary school level -- & like-minded male playmates. However, my son is involved with Cub Scouts & I would agree -- it is refreshing to see such a great mix of activities offered!

    I adore my son to pieces & I wouldn't want him to be anyone else than who he's meant to be. (And, yes, I tell him that religiously!) However, I do worry about the bullying & teasing he will most likely encounter in the years to come since he does not fit the typical boy mold. Currently, he strikes me -- and those who know him -- as quite happy, confident & well-adjusted. But I also know from personal experience that peers (especially at the adolescent stage) can often wear away at your inner strength no matter how hard you try to preserve it.

    I can only hope our continued love & support of him no matter what will see him through any difficult times he might face.

    Posted by bex6070 September 10, 11 04:03 AM
  1. I too am so glad to have come across such an insightful post in my Google search, which was prompted by my 6-year-old son eagerly showing me the new hand-clap routines and songs he learned at recess today. After a little probing, I learned that he plays with girls everyday at recess and when I asked why he doesn't play with any boys, he simply said "...because I don't like it."

    While I wasn't surprised by this information, it got my imagination going. After my son having recently been punched by a 3rd grade girl for no good reason, I began to think about how cruel kids could be. I don't think that his preference to play with girls is any indication that he is gay (aside from the fact that he has been fascinated with one girl in particular since the first week of kindergarten) - I think it's simply what he's used to. My two sisters and I were all pregnant at the same time, but they both had girls, so for the most part, that is all he's known to play with. When he does have boy cousins around (who are used to playing with other boys) there always seems to be a conflict because they are either too rough with him or there is a lack of cooperation which frustrates him to no end. However, he is all boy. He loves all kinds of rough and dirty boy stuff, sports, the whole nine - even blushes when pretty girls come around. He just finds it easier to interact with girls because that is what he is used to.

    I do however, worry about other boys taunting him for playing with girls. Cub Scouts seems like a good way to transition into more direct sports later down the line, as well as to develop friendships with boys with similar interests.

    God bless the internet! There's nothing like getting what feels like an instant support group at the click of a mouse.

    Posted by ksjs November 1, 11 09:49 PM
  1. Im 18 years old and play football at a university and when I was in 1st grade i would always have girls over on pay dates and I wouldn't look at it as a bad thing because every time i had girls over I thought we were dating and in a relationship.

    Posted by Tim April 9, 13 09:35 AM
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Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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