Child Behavior Forum
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Avatar universal

8 year old boy , gender/ behavioral health

Our son displayed a number of Aspergertype behaviors thru
Kindergarten and FirstGrade, though he has improved and has done
some maturing, he is still a quirky kid.
He can be disruptive in class  will be on a 504 plan in 2nd grade
He is very intelligent(though not mature) and he has been able to make friends. Ritalin has helped a lot.

He is clumsy ,I suppose, like an Aspergers kid so he does not
play sports, but has done Karate for 2 years now, pretty well.

About 2 months after turning 7 he declared to his parents, that
he wanted to be a girl. This was however after 7 years of quite
gender appropriate behavior.

All his friends have been boys, and his childhood was all trucks
and trains, and does not shy away from occasional rough & tumble.
Today his favorite activities are computer-games and gameboy.
He does love his Dad and we spend a lot of time together.

After 2 weeks of wanting to be a girl, my wife "convinced" him that this was not possible by showing him an anatomy book.
So he then told us he didn't want to be a girl anymore, but it was not that simple.

In the following months he began to display typical first grade
girl-hating behaviors, he hates Barbies, dislikes the girls in school.
avoids the color pink

But on the other hand during this same time period, as I watched him play with his sister
I observed him often asking his sister to use a potion to turn him into a girl.

About 7 months ago he awoke one morning to tell me he was still
considering being a girl.  (Me and my wife have never been harsh with him)  This episode lasted about a week then I just plain
convinced him that being a boy was better.

Then it seemed like it all went away for about 3-4 months.

His excessive girl-thing-disliking behavior continued.

Last month at a birthday party, that was mostly girls.
The girls were playing dress-up, and my wife found him with a
dress on.  A few days later he went into our basment with a friend of his and began to put on the girly items until I
interrupted him. (There are many dress-up items in our basement)

My question is.  Is it possible for this child (8) to be hiding thoughts from his parents. He is a non-stop blabber about everything he is thinking (it seems)  He is not shy at all
and he is not scared to tell us what he wants.

My other question is.
Is it possible that 2 other extenuating circumstances caused him
to want to be a girl.

1) He has always been horrifyingly scared of haircuts. The weekend he first told us he wanted to be a girl, he had just had
a haircut (that was  nightmare experience) I heard him say that
weekend  "I could have long hair"

2) Same time period.  He was very upset that he had not been
circumcised.  And demanded to be circumcised immediately
even asked the school nurse to do it. He wanted be like the other boys in his class

The Psych. that put him on Ritalin was dumbfounded
when I asked him, these gender questions

8 Responses
242606 tn?1243786248
While it is possible that your son is not disclosing the full extent of his thoughts to you, he has been conveying his thoughts about gender. You might go back to him and open up the discussion and let him flesh out his thinking a bit. For example, you can say: "You know, sometimes you've mentioned wanting to be a girl. What's interesting to you about that? What are some reasons you'd like to be a girl?" In other words, you express an interst in what he's thinking vs. trying to convince him otherwise. Sometimes such gender confusion is scary to parents and we shut off discussion because the topic causes uneasiness in us.

Relative to the haircut and circumcision issues, could they be factors in what he's thinking? Ask him his thoughts about these topics. You won't be asking him if his interest in having long hair, for example, is why he'd like to be a girl. You don't want to put words in his mouth, or ask him yes or no type questions. rather, ask him things that permit some explanation.

With most issues that children raise, they have points of view. All we have to do is ask and then be good listeners and try not to offer our point of view as much as inquire about their point of view.
Avatar universal
We have tried to get him to open up, 7 months ago when he
last talked about being a girl. He never really gives answers.

I don't like the idea of introducing a thought process, when
he may not even be thinking about it. He does obsess like
an Aspergers kid, and I don't want him to obsess that something
about himself may be wrong.

Most often he is embarrassed to be associated with girly things.
I'm scared he'd just deny.

The most I do today is say
"You can tell me anything your thinking about and I won't get mad"

I suppose, I was hoping you could tell me that this may be associated with his Aspergers or PDD-NOS (whatever he has)

He's always playing characters, he often insists that he is
also a super-hero.
His imagination is wild.

Could it also be significant that it all "seemed to go away"
When he started on Ritalin last March?

242606 tn?1243786248
It is true that children who display Asperger's Disorder sometimes display eccentric or idiosyncratic behaviors and this may apply to your son's behavior. There is no reason to expect any direct association between the start of stimulant medication and the interruption in his thoughts (or at least statements) about gender. Stimulant medication has an influence primarily on dopamine functioning, and this wouldn't particularly be instrumental in the remarks he was making or the interest he was showing. Let me know if I'm addressing the points you're wondering about. As a final note, don't worry about injecting some thought. If he's not invested in the thought it really won't be creating a problem. You'd only be remarking on topics he's already raised.
Avatar universal
Have you ever considered that you should just let your child develop naturally, or do you fear that your child will be gay when he is older? If so i think you should seek guidance in the area of homophobia, because evidently there is nothing wrong with your child.
Avatar universal
What is the matter with you?
This person has a legimate concern. I'm guessing by your comment that you are gay and are one of those that push it on others. I feel sorry for your child (if you have any) I suppose somebody tried to persway you the other way when younger and that's where your anger comes from. Kids need guidence and that's a parents job!
Avatar universal
Getting back to the child...I think that it is good that you are listening to your child and not over reacting at this time.  At age 8, kids make decisions and comments all over the board.  I have an 8 year old daughter who lived to be a princess and barbie last year and this year cringes when she sees the color pink.  She has also declared that she is a boy yet has a "boyfriend". It's normal!!  Getting to the ridilen... When a child is on such a medication as this, it refocuses their thoughts.  My older daughter has attention deficit without hyperactivity.  She was unable to concentrate on one thing at a time.  I could have sworn she had Asperger several years ago.  Then we had her checked and she was put on Adderal which is similar to Ridilen.  It has made a HUGE difference in her life.  She is now 17 years old, a solid B student, plays in the school band and has friends.  I never thought she would get to this stage when she was first diagnosed at age 11.  I think you are headed down the right track.  Give him time and let him adjust to the medication.  You will be amazed at how far he will come!
Avatar universal
That is the problem with todays society.  A child is busy being a child playing dressup and we want to impose labels on them, or worry about them.  Just tell yourself, so what, this too will pass.  And if he shows signs that he wants to wear a dress to say,  school, THEN have those serious talks with him.  
I can remember playing the 'boy' when my sister and I would play 'lost child running away from home'.  And we here and there  wanted to be someone else while growing up, some hero.
Now, when girls link arms and skip, people assess it as pre-gay, but in actuality, it is friends.  We have lost our innocence as a society, and that is so sad.
Avatar universal
Some of the posts here seem a little closedminded to me without wanting to cause offense, so I'm hesitant to post this, but it seems noone has gotten here before me about it, so I will. But there's a condition called Gender Dysphoria, it usually manifests at a youngish age, typically with these kinds of traits, definitely if it persists, I have also heard of a link to do with Asperger's Syndrome, I'd advise you to look up and learn about this, it may save your child a good deal of stress and anxiety than if they growing up in the wrong body. I'll clarify now, Gender Dysphoria is a condition where by someone is born with the wrong brain in the wrong body, like they get a hormone wash in the womb as a fetus and it causes this. There is a difference between your orientation (whether youre gay or straight), and what your inner sense of self is, and this is the latter, thus to have a female brain in amale body and to do something about it would not make someone gay. There's obviously a great del of religious convictions and other bad prejudice on this floating around as they don't understand the true nature of the condition, its just ignorance and fear, largely what I'd expect of people who don't know any better. Hope this information or insight helps, I know of quite a few adult people who have aspergers and this condition, tread carefully as this mightn't have anything to do with it, but there's a good chance it has if this behavior persists, its tough going but it can be dealt with successfully and properly before puberty sets in and does real damage with hormones and irrevocable change, I'd take it under consideration for the future in case.
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