Development Kids

Gender Identity – Guiding Children Through A Potentially Confusing Stage

Gender Confusion in Kids-When you grow up you can be whoever you want to be – as long as you don’t cross the gender barrier!

From the time our children are old enough to understand, we as parents encourage them to follow their dreams, their passions, their likes and their dislikes. But all too often, parents place hidden limitations on them such as boys should be boys and girls should be girls.

If this is your own personal view, you may have to look at changing that. No matter what age your child is, he needs to know you love him unconditionally. Regardless of whether he is feminine by nature or she is a tomboy, your child is still going to need your acceptance and your love.

We assume that our daughters will grow up to be ladies and will be interested in finding true love with the man of their dreams. Likewise, we believe our sons will grow up tough and will want to own a sports car.


Gender confusion struggle

This can be very sad because if they grow up not conforming to what society dictates is -normal , this struggle of gender confusion can lead them to heartache and rejection by society at large. Your child does not need to feel this same negativity from you, too.

But sometimes young children simply need to explore their feelings and this does not mean they will necessarily grow up to be gay. It’s perfectly normal and acceptable for young children to show an interest in clothes or toys and activities related with the opposite sex.

A child is usually very influenced by role models in his life. If a father-son relationship is a healthy one, then the son will often take his cues from Dad, and likewise with Mom and a daughter. But other role models also influence children such as super models, musicians, sports stars and celebrities.


Before their middle years

Children usually start showing strong sexual orientation way before their middle years. In fact, by the time your child is just a  year old an awareness of his gender has already set in. This is the time when he discovers his genitals and by the age of two years old children have become aware of the differences in girls’ and boys’ bodies.

But during a child’s middle years some children may present gender confusion, that is, they may show more interest in clothing, activities and the like of the opposite sex.

The best thing you, as a parent, can do is openly chat to your child about girl and boy behaviours. In this sensitive manner you will be able to help your child better understand his or her behaviour and the reasons it evokes certain responses from their peers. It’s vital that you shower your child with support, understanding and love in order to boost his or her self-esteem and offset the social and peer pressures he or she may be coming up against.


Don’t squash them into a socially-accepted mold

But remember the importance of not forcing your child into a traditional and socially approved gender mold if this is not who he is made to be. Be there for him so he can fulfill his own individual potential. Don’t become overly concerned about whether his interests and preferences coincide with the socially defined gender roles of the moment. Allow him to develop in his own way.

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