Train the Child Appropriately in His Formative Years
Annette Nay, Ph.D.
Copyright © 1999
My nephew turned 3 in Oct. '99. His very favorite thing to do is wear dresses. When he was two, we all just laughed and said that it is because he has an older sister who likes to play dress-up. But this dress up has led to painting fingernails, wearing perfume and only playing with girls.
My sister is somewhat concerned because she always felt he would grow out of this, but it is to the point that he ONLY wants to wear a dress everyday. Every morning when he wakes up he runs down the hall to the closet with the dresses in it. He wanted to be Snow White for Halloween. When my sister had him be prince Eric (the closest masculine thing she could think of and that he would allow) he ended up finding a little girl in the neighborhood dressed up as Snow White and had to follow her around the entire night while trick or treating. She has never really been bothered until now. She keeps thinking he will grow out of it.
Do you have any thoughts on this?
Dear Worried Aunt,
When my youngest son was three he liked his next eldest sibling's nylon underwear because is was softer and prettier then his cotton boxers. I was terribly afraid I have a cross-dresser or a child that would grow up wanting a sex-change operation. I totally freaked. We are told in the scriptures
to train them up the way they should go when they are young and when they are old they will not depart. This was something I didn't want him trained in!
I tried to explain to my son that little boys do not wear little girl's underwear. That didn't get through to him. The only thing that did was to hid them from him.
Little people of three years old soon forget things if they are not reminded of them by their constant appearance in their lives. We hid them and allowed no access or talk of them and eventually he forgot them. Today, we have a sexually well adjusted male teen who prefers cotton boxers to briefs. Hooray!
The point is, out of sight, out of mind! Get all the stuff up out of sight. The first few days may be traumatic for him because he does not have access to his favorite play things, but this can be overcome by giving him something else to do or think about during this time.
This can could be a great time to go places that he would like to go like the zoo. Doing special things like making cookies with mom or to be read to out of an exciting colorful book from the library or the store. A special new toy could also take his mind away from his thoughts of the dresses.
Change the subject by doing something with him, go somewhere (even doing errands), or playing with his regular toys in a different manner. Take the trucks and bulldozers out in the dirt or sand and pretend like we are making new roads for a city. My boys loved doing that for hours.
I don't think a whole lots needs to be said to him about the dresses, nail polish, and, etc., only that boys your age don't wear these things. Don't make a big deal of it. Just change the subject and get him doing something else
-- redirect his activities!
If a tantrum results, walk away. Tantrums are no good if there is no one there to see them.
It would also be a good time to get him some all-boy role models. If there aren't any in the neighborhood, bus the boy to them. This is an important training time for this child. If you want him to act like a boy in the future then you had better train him to act like one right now!
The first years of life are the formative years. By the time a child is five he has already molded his basic self and mode of operation. Ask yourself how important then, is it to stop his fetish with women's clothing? It is imperative to stop it now, to allow him to grow into a well adjusted male. Remember,
train them up the way they should go when they are young and when they are old they will not depart.