Poll: Should Little Boys Dress Like Girls?

kilodavis-princessboyA hot debate is brewing among parents and among our readers: Would you let your little boy dress in girls’ clothing?

Cheryl Kilodavis is the mother of a 4-year-old boy who loves wearing sparkly and pink dresses, skirts, tiaras, and jewelry.  She wrote and self-published a children’s picture book titled “My Princess Boy,” based on her son, to create a dialogue about traditional gender roles, acceptance of differences, and unique self-expression. Another mom named Sarah blogged about her son’s choice to wear a “female” Halloween costume

We heard from parents like you who commented on the Parents magazine Facebook page and on the Parents Community discussion board.  Here are some highlights from the ongoing debate:

As an educator with a master’s degree in education, a former preschool teacher of 7 years, and a mother to a toddler, it is perfectly normal for a child to play in a way that may not be classified as “gender appropriate.”  Children learn the most by playing with other children, especially in the early years…It is all part of their development. Pretend play is a good way for children to model behaviors they see in their world. - Tracy Seng Wren

I do not approve or encourage my son to dress like a girl or act effeminate. As a father, my role is to teach him the appropriate male gender roles.  I would have no problem with my son cooking, helping with household chores, etc. There is a big difference with that and a boy dressing up as a girl. - Jose Tadeo

What do you think? Take our poll below and read more comments after the jump. 

 

My mom always told me its very important to let little girls play with trucks and little boys play with dolls. I learned in my Psychology class that the people set up for success are those who possess qualities from both genders.   If you try to fit children in nice, neat boxes according to what we think is “normal,” then they will never become individuals. Are we raising sheep or children? - Tia Andrews

Personally, I wouldn’t encourage my children to dress like the opposite sex or play with “different gender” toys. My daughter volunteers my son to play princess and I know this is normal, but if he asks to be a princess for Halloween…I’d probably say no. I know it’s not the acceptable thing anymore, but I do believe in gender roles. - Megan Michelle Stone

No offense, but I am more worried about little girls out there dressing as a trampy something-or-other than my little boy dressing as a princess. Why aren’t more parents concerned as to why that is more of a norm than this? - Nicole Pena Litwin

What are we afraid of?  Gender roles and identities are not wrapped up in what we dress in, and our kids are not going to be “gay” because we let them dress up in certain clothes.  It is a shame that we put so much pressure on children to conform and not be themselves.   - JHood99

Continue the debate in our Comments area below,  on the Parents magazine Facebook page, or on the Parents Community discussion board.

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  1. [...] about one mom’s decision to let her son wear a princess costume for Halloween.  The mom, Cheryl Kilodavis, wrote and self-published a book titled “My Princess Boy” about her young son’s love for tutus, sparkles, and pink.  Her book has since gained [...]