An anonymous mom echoes the thoughts that many other moms may be having. She writes:
I am the mother of an amazing 4 year-old boy. For sometime now, I have noticed that he is ‘different’ from boys of the same age. It didn’t bother me at first, because his interests were also different from these boys. But as time went on, I started to feel anxious for him when I realized that he preferred most things ‘girly’ – girls’ toys, clothing, etc – and also preferred to play with girls at school, etc.
I have read up a lot on this subject, and have mostly read that it’s ok for boys to be interested in girly things – dress-up, toys,etc – that most boys will have a time of doing this, but that it does stop. My son is also sensitive, quite emotional, and often says that when he grows up he’s going to be a girl! He notices my clothes and comments that they are beautiful; he likes to pick flowers and give them to me; he loves the color pink; likes “my little Pony” and loves fairies and princesses too!
On the other hand, he does play with cars and trains, loves kicking a ball and playing with a ball in any way – throwing, bouncing, etc. He loves adventure and playing ‘fighting’ with his dad – rough and tumble, pillow fighting, etc. So there are elements of ‘he’s such a boy’ in him. However, I do wonder how it’ll be when he grows up?
My husband and I have a stable and happy marriage. My husband is great with our son, and for most of the time everything seems great. But then something will happen, or our son will say something, and I get this chill inside me that says, “That’s not normal boy behavior.”
I wonder whether I should prepare myself for my son one day announcing he is gay, or is this normal for boys, and all will be ‘normal’ when he reaches adulthood?
I wonder what other homosexual men were like growing up, do they remember doing things that were ‘different’ from other boys? Did they realize from early on that they were different? Is there a common thread, or common things that they did as little boys, that, looking back at now, fit in with them being gay?
I guess what I am looking for is reassurance. Reassurance that he will be fine – develop into a healthy, happy, well-balanced man who will have a wife and a family of his own.
In future posts we will present ways to help boys with such tendencies to develop into healthy, well-balanced men, prepared to be great husbands and fathers.
In the meanwhile, dear reader, do you have suggestions for this mom?
Dear Anonymous Mum ,
As we raised our children, we found that the things that we worried about the most never happened–or were of no dire consequence.
Sometimes we listen to the radio or watch TV and get the impression that our kid will be abducted, shot, raped…you name it. These things wouldn’t make news unless they were uncommon. Forty years ago, we were not exposed to the media hype and didn’t worry about our kids not being normal.
You far more likely will have to deal with skinned knees, colds, fevers, and the such.
My nephew played with dolls and even operated on one to see what was inside. (Sawdust–to his annoyance). Now he is a physician and is pretty good at surgery. For a guy that loved stuffed animals and kiddie stuff, turn up the audio and listen to Randy Pausch.
Four years old? You have quite a few years left before your son will be be concerned about his sexual orientation. Enjoy these intervening years and let tomorrow take care of itself.
Thanks, Ralph, for the link to the great video by Randy Pausch. I found it both inspiring and entertaining. I hope our readers will take time to view it. To teach our children this kind of resiliency and attitude towards life is a worthy challenge. One warning, though: This video is approximately 90 minutes long. So plan accordingly. 😉
What you say about worrying is so true.
On the other hand, when there are things that we can do that can help our children grow up into responsible Christian spouses and parents, it’s certainly worthwhile to do them.
I guess everyone speaks out of his or her own experience and what I would say to this mother is no exception.
Yes, of course genetics have a lot to do with the sexuality we end up with. A child with different genes might not show the behavior that concerns this mother, no matter how his environment tried to bend him in that direction. But we are not required to passivly flow along with the situation. We have to play using the hand we were dealt.
It seem to me the parents are already pretty much on the right track. A key factor is what psychologists call “identification”. The boy may be identifying with this woman more than with his father. At four I identified with my mother and she encouraged this, taught me to sew, bought me dolls, etc. Then during my fifth and sixth years my father was away for military service. That that served to reinforce this identification.
What a blessing that this boy has a loving dad at home. Without making a big issue of it, and certainly without telling the boy about their concern, I think the parents would want to encourage his masculine side. They can read him stories about explorers and frontiersmen, sea captains and farmers. Especially, the dad needs to spend time with the boy, take him out to ball games, play catch and shoot hoops with him, take him camping. He is at a crucial age when he can take pride in identifying with his father and learn from him to assume a masculine role in life.
It’s a game that you’re not sure to win but you will feel better in the future knowing that you did your best.