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My 5 year old granddaughter says she's a boy
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My 5 year old granddaughter says she's a boy

My 5 year old granddaughter has said she is a boy since she was about 2-1/2 years
old.  She is adament in stating that she is a boy when you ask her if she is a girl or boy.
We used to dress her in girls clothing until she was old enough to know the difference.
She now will wear only boys clothes.  She cries if you say anything to refer to her as
a girl.  She especially likes super hero's and cartoons that have boys in them, not girls.
There were only girls in her pre-school class last year, so she played with only a few.
This year there are several boys, so she only plays with the boys.  She likes running and
rough and tumble play.  She seems to be a happy kid, but I am very concerned about
her unhappiness in the future.  Is there a chance she will outgrow this?  I need some
help.
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JMO but you shoud do some internet research on children 'knowing' they are gay from early childhood. Or , you could consider looking into past life regression if thats something you think is possible. I know this is a medically focused board, but I for one dont believe everything has a 'medical' cause that can be explained by science.

*with much apprication and respect* Jennifer
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I wouldn't worry too much about this. I'm 23 years old, and when I was a kid, about the age of 5, I wanted to identify myself as a boy. I wanted short hair, to wear boys clothes, and most of my casual friends were boys. My poor mom, lol, would always shake her head and look so disappointed at times; she'd want me to grow my hair a bit longer and wear down-to-earth girl clothes (not even the frilly, girly kind), but I wanted no part of it. She just let me develop as I wanted, though, and I'm glad she did. The only thing she enforced to me is that I have to accept the fact that I am a girl, and so that's how I have to identify myself--but as for clothing, hairstyles, toys, sports, etc. she let me have my choice.
I think back on it now (I've grown up to be an average, straight, make-up wearing female) and realize that the reason I did not want to "be a girl" was because they seemed so vulnerable, so cutsie, like little dolls that everyone wanted to dress up and dote on.
My thoughts about that: Barf.
I wanted to feel tough, respected, free from the confines of dresses and snug-fitting girly clothes and long hair care and maintenance, play in the mud and collect rocks, climb trees, jump bikes off dirt embankments and take taekwondo and horseback riding lessons.
When I hit puberty, it was horrible for me. The last things I wanted were breasts, hips, and a period. I hid in a clothes rack when my mom took my training bra to the register to pay for it. Well, I learned, with great dismay and plenty of tearful moments of frustration, that puberty can't be halted and I was just going to have to deal with it.
Then I started noticing guys and wanting them to notice me. That didn't quite work out the way I wanted it at first, seeing as I'd been "one of the boys" for so long. So I grew my hair long enough to have a short, feminine hairstyle and started to wear girls clothes. By golly, it worked!
I'm still a tomboy, but I came to my senses and realized that being a girl is not such a bad thing after all. And fortunately, I was never pushed or forced to be someone I wasn't, which, if I was, probably would've made me a completely different person than I am today and a lot more negative about my gender.
Your granddaughter should be just fine. I think the best thing you can do for her is have a talk with her and tell her she can play and dress how she wants to, but she IS a girl, and that's just how it is. But she can be who she wants to be.
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Avatar_f_tn
Some kids outgrow this phase but it has persisted for a while in your granddaughter's case. There are also kids who have gender identity problems beginning at a young age. If left unaddressed it can lead to further problems later in life. This is a controversial area but there are some centers around the country that specialize in this. There is some research about this area. If the parents want to pursue getting help or an evaluation, leave word what general area of the country your grandchild lives in and I could try to direct you to a specialist.
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Avatar_n_tn
I agree that not everything has a medical cause.  My daughter-in-law is very much
a believer in past life's and often makes comments that her daughter (my granddaughter)
must have been a boy in her last life, which I believe can be possible.  We are all doing research about Gender Identification Disorder but I see no real answers because they just don't know what the cause is.  I go through a lot of anxiety over it at times because I have never known anyone else with a child that felt this way.  I just feel so bad for her because it frustrating for her, even when we say "you are so pretty."  She says, "No, I am handsome."  I did get a response from a young lady that seems to have experienced
the same kind of thing in her childhood and seems to have grown out of it.  That gave me
hope.  Thanks so much for your response.  I appreciate it.
Caroline
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Thanks for your response.  It's given me hope.  We do (the immediate family) let her
be who she wants to be...we buy her the boy clothes she wants and her mom does
let her wear her hair short.  We all do let her call herself a boy's name when she's at
home.  I go through periods of anxiety over it because I've seen other cases on TV
and the anxiety and unhappiness these kids go through.  Her mom is doing all the
can
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Thanks for your response.  It's given me hope.  We do (the immediate family) let her
be who she wants to be...we buy her the boy clothes she wants and her mom does
let her wear her hair short.  We all do let her call herself a boy's name when she's at
home.  I go through periods of anxiety over it because I've seen other cases on TV
and the anxiety and unhappiness these kids go through.  Her mom is doing all the
can
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(sorry, computer problems).  Her mom is doing all the research she can on it,
but I guess it's just a matter of time on the outcome on this.  I'm praying for
her to eventually accept and be OK with her gender like you did.  Thanks again
for your response. Caroline
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When it first started at age 2-1/2, my son and husband said they were not
worried at all because it was just a phase and she would be fine.  I think they
are starting to be concerned about it by now because she is just getting to be
more adament that she is a boy.  They are accepting that she probably will be
diagnosed with GID.  I did talk to my daughter-in-law yesterday and was glad
to hear she is making an appointment with a doctor to discuss what is going on
with my granddaughter.  They went to see another doctor yesterday about my
granddaughters sleep issues and that doctor suggested they see someone else
about her issues about being a boy.  At least I know she is going to see a
professional about the situation.  Thanks so much for your response. Caroline
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Glad to hear that the parents are pursuing help. There is a center in Toronto - Drs. Bradley and Zuker I believe - who are doing leading research in this area. I don't know if that is in proximity to your family, but if not perhaps they could help direct you. Sometimes, it is worth a trip to an expert for an evaluation session if that is within their means. Anyway, best wishes to you and your family through this difficult process.
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Your response just reminded me that I, too, wanted a more masculine name when I was going through that stage. So I insisted that everyone call me by my initials (AJ) or my nickname (which was Murph).
Like I said, this stage lasted from about age 5 to 17. I slowly phased out of wanting to wear boys clothes and participate in male activites, but I phased out of actually wanting to BE a boy by the time I was 12 or 13. Lol, I remember crying the first time I shaved my legs at 13, because I was going on a Scuba diving field trip at school and I didn't want to get teased by the other kids that I had hairy legs; but after I shaved them, I actually liked the look. I think that's the first time I can remember really feeling proud to be a girl and accepting that there's no shame in it.
Most likely, your granddaughter will accept this in the years to come as well. However, I also think it's really important that you and her parents regularly let her know that physically, she is a girl. She can be who she wants to be for the most part, and you all are okay with that, but she has to accept the fact that her body is female, and that's how other people are going to see it no matter how she identifies herself.
I think it's critical she knows this because she is so young and impressionable. When I was going through this stage, if my mom and family told me I could physically ID myself as a boy, I would have, and I probably still would--and therefore no telling where I'd be today.
My mom always told me she'd love me no matter who I wanted to be or how I wanted to be, but emphasized regularly how glad she was that I was her daughter, and a girl, and that she saw absolutely no flaws in me as a girl and had no shame of me being a girl. She didn't accept me wanting to *be* a boy, but never repremanded me for it, so therefore it didn't disappoint me that she didn't want me to be a boy. Rather, she was always there to strengthen the insecurities I had about my gender without telling me or forcing me to act and dress like a girl.
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Thanks again for all the good advice.  I do find myself trying not to mention
either gender when talking to her about herself because she acts hurt and corrects
me (and everyone else).  But I think you are absolutely right.  She is a girl.  I
hope and pray that as she matures she will accept it and even think its OK
as you did.  My daughter-in-law is so loving and makes sure her daughter knows
how loved she is no matter what.  But it does hurt our hearts to see her go
through this. It was really nice to hear from someone that experienced the same
thing and everything turned out OK.   We all hear about kids that have gender
confusion, but never dreamed we would be dealing with it.  I think my daughter-
in-laws decision to go to a psychologist is a step in the right direction.
Thanks again for all your help.
Thanks again for
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Thank you so much for your good advice and well wishes.  I appreciate it.
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Hello Caroline58,
You could very well be my mother in law.  You have described my daughter exactly- it's scary.  Although I am sorry your family is going through this, I am glad my family is not alone.  My daughter thinks she is a boy, from the age of 3, she is now almost 6.  You can not call her pretty, she says "I am handsome"  She wants to be called "Jack" or sometimes "Johnny".  All her toys are spiderman, trucks, tools, anything boyish.  I can no longer dress her in anything girly.  She even stands over the toilet seat, so she can pee, standing up.  She just started correcting me when I say to my husband (for example) " can you get her a drink".  My daughter screams "I am not a she, I am a he".  When playing house she MUST be the daddy.  She never wears a shirt while inside the house.
At first, we thought she was imitating her older brother & dad.  It was cute & playful.  Now, it has gone on so long I am beginning to think something is wrong.  I try telling her, that even though she is a girl, she can like all boy things & have boy toys & work like daddy doing construction, but she gets so emotional screaming & crying, trying to convince me that she is a boy. As I type this, she came to me & said she wants her hair short, as short as daddy's hair.  
Please, if you can, let me know how you make out at the psychologist.  That may be my next step.
Take care!    
            
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I am sure she will outgrow this and if not, there will be another time in puberty when she will discover her true orientation. That`s when she may need a good listener or some other support.
You already got a lot of great comments here but I wanted to add aside from genetics, there can be other influences for a little girl living a boy`s life in her imagination: the parental relationship as well as the peer group.
For example in my parents` marriage, my dad always seemed to be the winner type. My impression from early on was that it sucks to be a wife and mother or girl in general. My friends from toddlerhood happened to be all boys and of course they went through that stage when all girl things were "silly" but they accepted me as their buddy and even leader of the pack - despite being a girl....I looked much like a boy anyway and spent all the time until puberty roughhousing. It was so much fun. Maybe coincidental, I have also always worked in male-dominated jobs and still enjoy this down-to-earth atmosphere. Despite all that, I`m a real woman and mother, straight as can be. My feeling is that girls with an abundance of joy of life tend to throw restrictions overboard and pick whatever role model seems to be the most fun - which often excludes the girlie stuff because it is too artificial. Maybe that`s what`s happening?

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All of these comments are so reassuring. I also have a 5-year-old (almost 6 in May) who has been acting like a boy since she was 3. I find it truly frustrating that she only wants to wear boy's clothing which can look downright trashy on her. She even walks like a boy. She hasn't asked to have her hair cut really short and she does seem to love lipstick and nail polish but aside from that, her outlook on life is very much like a boy. She's very rough like a boy and quite bossy also. I'm worried that her friends that may not stick with her because she doesn't like to play barbies or dressup. Many times she tells me that she wants to be a boy because they can do cool things like play guitar or she likes their clothes better, etc. and I tell her she can do all of those things and be a girl.

I guess only time will tell how our children will turn out and ultimately, we just want them to be happy. We all know how difficult life can be as a transgendered person or being gay and we don't want our children to have to go through that. Not to mention the higher rate of suicide that accompanies GID persons.

Thanks for everyone's input!
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I can't say I ever persisted to be a "he", but as a kid, I'd often wished I was a boy. I hated being put in skirts and cute things... For one thing if I wore a skirt/dress, I had to sit with my legs closed and crossed. That didn’t sit well (no pun intended!), because hey, I wanted to sit whatever way felt most comfortable! Eventually I protested until mom finally got the idea no more skirts... I wear jeans and that is just about the only kind of pants I wear.  If I wear skirts it is on rare occasions.

I didn't like girl games, because let's just face it, there's no excitement to playing house... and treating dolls like whiny babies...  I played house on occasion but the doll doubled as the broom!  Sometimes I tossed my dolls in the air…

Not to mention the things that interested me were things often associated with boys. I like insects, wandering through the field across the street (that is non existent since I moved from that house).

Choice between an EZ bake Oven and a Creepy Crawler oven: The Creepy Crawler Oven won without any competition. I loved my big wheel which was modeled with an Arf theme (yay...I'm born in the 80's).  Overall boy activities were a lot more fun and rewarding.  I viewed boys as having more freedom to do what they want. Girls have to be stuck with things pink, white, and pastel colored with putrid artificial floral scents... Floral scents make me gag…  If I want to smell flowers, I smell real flowers!

Puberty was hell! It was a battle to get me to wear a bra and get used to having a harness. I put off wearing until I had no choice... genetics have endowed me with moderately huge breasts...  I still don't like the visits from Aunt Flo, but I've come to accept it.  I know I am a female. I wear long hair, because A) I am proud of being a redhead and b) I’m trying to grow it out for LoL or similar charity. I think it is long enough now.

Sexually, I'm asexual... it's something I've always been and probably not something that will change. I’ve accepted this with myself and at peace with it. What gets unnerving is when other people (even with the best intentions) try to change me.

And with my writing, I tend to write from a male's viewpoint. Interesting.

Sorry I don't have any advice to offer. I just found this topic interesting to read.  I think a lot has to deal with stereotypes.  Girls/women seem to be portrayed as inferior to the male gender.  If I wanted to have freedom to do whatever I wanted it doesn't make sense believing in the gender stereotypes. Really those stereotypes need to be broken!
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You need to read up about Gender Identity Disorder.  
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I agree with Shooting_Star_Avatar.

I know this discussion hasn't been active for a while, but it disturbs me that so many of you use such phrases as "it gives me hope"--it seems, in your eyes, like the only way for your little girls to turn out all right is for this boyishness to be a passing phase.

Guess what? Some girls grow up to be boys. And that doesn't stop them from being happy and well-adjusted individuals. (In fact, for many, transitioning ALLOWS them to BE happy and well-adjusted individuals.)

Speaking as a 25-year-old tomboy/genderqueer who's done a fair amount of research on the topic, the issues that transmen have seem to largely stem from the fact that their families and/or friends refuse to acknowledge or accept their decisions to transition. It sounds like some of you might be those types of families.

I'm not trying to freak anyone out here; I'm no child psychologist, and it's entirely possible this IS a passing phase. But as long as they feel accepted and loved and supported by the people who are important to them, they'll be fine.

(And just remember--even normal girly-girls have to deal with cliques and cattiness and rude comments from so-called friends. Being a tomboy yields a slightly *different* set of problems--no better, no worse, just different.)
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I also have a 5 year old daughter, who at the age of two started behaving and dressing like a boy. She has gone as far as to convince the teacher and all the rest of the class to call her a him. She wears school shorts and refuses to wear the school skirt. She plays only with boys toys and will not touch anything that is pink or purple etc.  At first we thought this was a phase and now I am definite that this is not a phase.  She has an older sister who is very much a girl.  I took her to the pediatrician when she was 4 because of her behavior and he told me to come back after she has reached puberty.  I think that every mother knows their child and knows when their child has some serious issues. I am worried about her future and acceptance.
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Avatar_m_tn
When I was young I dressed like a boy and now I'm an adult, nothing has changed. Dont try to change her if she wants to be different, its frustrating, my mum always tries that, even now. She might grow out of it but if she doesnt, make sure to support her. Her happiness is more important than what people thinks she should dress/act like.
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