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Mom wonders about son's gender identity

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz October 10, 2012 06:00 AM

I read your article about boys who have strong preference playing with girls, but my question goes further, my 6yo is also interested in playing only with girls and quiet play, this less concerns me, what bothers me is that he always says he wants to be a girl and wished he had a magic wand to change his body parts to a girl, this has been since he was very little and hasn't changed, he also says he wished he could put lipstick and eyeshadow, he never tried to dress up as a girl and he does like some boys things, not many though. Should I be concerned that he might be a transgender? or could this be just a phase?

From: Worried Mom, West Hartford, CT


Why does 12-y-o pretend she's 8?

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz September 7, 2012 06:00 AM

My friend's daughter is 12 years old, but she believes she's only 8 and has behaved like a 8 year old since 1/2 year ago, by talking with [a] baby voice, refusing to go to the 7th grade because she thinks that's for older kids. Also, she thinks she's not pretty so that she asks her mom not to look at her when she's talking to her. She got her first period when she was ten, she's tall for her age for Chinese. Her grandmother, who lives with her, often tells her that it's too early for her to have her period. I wonder if that has anything to do with her acting. My question is how to help her to accept that she's 12 and why she refuses to grow up.

Thank you very much for your time.

From: Nini, Beijing China


Sister's sexual orientation unclear

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz August 29, 2012 06:00 AM

My younger sister (who is 16 now) is questioning her sexuality. She told me that she sometimes gets crushes on girls and that she is afraid of it because she doesn't know what to do.Our parents and our family in general is very unsupportive and we never had a bisexual or gay/lesbian person in our family or friend circle. She said that she didn't sleep with a girl but that she would if she was in love with one. I've tried to tell her that it's okay to feel that way and that she shouldn't worry about anything yet because the feelings might change. But even if they don't, I will still be there for her, supporting her no matter what. My question is - Is it normal for her to feel that way? She said that she likes 60% of boys and 40% girls and it's been like that since she was really young. Does this mean she's bisexual? or bi-curious?
Thank you!

From: Loreen, Nottingham, UK


Mom asks, does sexual abuse affect sexual orientation?

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz August 7, 2012 06:00 AM

Good afternoon,,,, my 6.5 year old son prefers to plays with girls' toys. I have a question: can someone become gay if at some point in life he was sexually molested?

From: Sandra, Manassas, VA


No harm for a boy to learn about "girl" things

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz June 29, 2012 06:00 AM

I have three children...of ages 6, 4,and 2 my 6 year old only likes to watch shows where it's all girls. I have an older niece and he looks up to her so much that he only likes to watch what she does...although I might add that I do get upset at him if he pretends to walk like a girl and so forth but I get confused because he loves cars and boyish my question here is it normal for a 6 year old boy to be interested in girl things and will it affect his sexual preference? Thank you.
From: Yolanda, Brownsville, TX


Books for kids on making babies

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz June 26, 2012 06:00 AM


I'm trying to find an age appropriate book for my 6 year old boy. He saw a clip of a tv show where a man and woman were in bed without clothes and asked why are they naked and what are they doing and how does the baby get in the mommy's tummy? Help!!! I was stumped on how to answer and I told him we will find a book for kids that can explain it better than mommy can. What do you suggest?

From: Robin, Brandon, Mississippi


4 yr old boys kissing

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz June 22, 2012 06:00 AM

My boy is 4 and was caught kissing another boy on the lips. He is not exposed to this at home or TV. Why would he be acting like this? How should we react? What should we do?

From: Monique, Miramar, Florida


Kids call her son "gay"

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz May 18, 2012 06:00 AM

My son is 6 years old...He does not play with boys and some times he acts like a girl! We don't know what to do.... other kids at the after school [are] calling him a GAY!
So please let me know something about it!
Thank you so much!

From: GO, Fort Lauderdale, FL


Twin boys and sexual orientation

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz April 5, 2012 06:00 AM

I have identical twin boys who are 3. One of them is your typical little boy who loves trucks, cars and anything super-hero related. The other twin loves all things girly. You name it and that is what he wants and wants to play with..Barbies, princesses, anything pink, etc. He went through a stage all he wanted to do was dress up in my clothes, however that doesn't seem very often these days.
No matter what we say or what we do, he always wants to see or look at the girl character..if we say Batman, he says Batgirl, if we say prince he says princess. He clearly identifies himself as a boy and does not say he wants to be a girl or anything like that but he is just obsessed about anything girl related. We know he is still just a kid but sometimes it's a little intense. He doesn't show much interest at all in trucks, cars or anything boy related.
I guess my question is, is this normal little boy behavior? It's been going on for awhile now. I just worry that if it continues, he is going to have a difficult time fitting in with our society not to mention the distant relationship he will have with his own identical twin brother. I would like to hear your thoughts.

From: Amy, Baltimore


Is sib's affection out of line?

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz February 23, 2012 06:00 AM

Dear Barbara,
I'm feeling uncomfortable with the level of affection my 9 year-old son shows around his 7 year-old sister. Sometimes she will lay on top of him in a playful way and he hugs her quite lovingly with a big grin on his face. He makes noises of contentment and bliss like you might expect a husband and wife to do when they embrace.

He has always been this way - not just with her, but with us as well. I also observe him kissing her sometimes when he hugs, again making those sounds. His mannerisms remind me of an adult.

We are an affectionate family and I certainly don't mean to discourage closeness, but this makes me uncomfortable!

Thank you!
From: Ann, Buffalo, NY


About the author

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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