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Parents Raising a Boy As a Girl

Are parents justified in choosing to view their son as a "gender-creative child" – or, to put it plainly, in raising him as a girl? This is exactly what some close friends of ours have decided to do. Their son is now six years old. They claim that he was actually supposed to be a girl, and is, except for the male genitalia. Needless to say, we're rather shocked by all of this. What's more, we don't know exactly what to tell these friends when they ask for our opinion or advice. Do you have any insights to offer?

What’s especially sad and disturbing about this situation is that it reflects an increasingly common attitude. More and more we find ourselves living in a society where certain elements of the culture want to argue that gender differences are unreal “cultural constructs.” Many people want to argue that distinctions between “male” and “female” don’t really matter. They claim that they’re simply two options among many different expressions of human sexuality. According to this perspective, we can restructure and re-engineer these diverse expressions of sexuality on the basis of personal preference and choice.

Perhaps you heard the news story about the Canadian couple who are determined to raise a “genderless” child, or the other one about the Swedish parents who have stirred up a controversy by refusing to reveal whether their two-and-a-half-year-old is a girl or a boy. The claim your friends have made is yet another variation on this same theme: “Our son was actually supposed to be a girl, and is, except for the male genitalia.” That’s a bit like saying, “The sky is actually supposed to be yellow, and is, except for the fact that it’s blue.”

You won’t be surprised to learn that we take issue with this perspective here at Focus on the Family. We understand that in a broken and fallen world there is room for confusion about sexual identity in certain individuals. We’re also aware of the existence of certain rare medical conditions such as Turner Syndrome(X), Klinefelter Syndrome (XXY), Kallman Syndrome, Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, or Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (note: this group comprises an extremely small portion of the population – about .018 percent). Since your question didn’t mention any obvious physical symptoms, we’re assuming that the boy in question doesn’t fall into this category.

In spite of such abnormalities, we remain convinced that a boy is a boy and a girl is a girl. We believe that God intentionally made mankind male and female. It’s precisely our gendered humanity that reflects His image in all its fullness (Genesis 1:26, 27). We hold to the biblically based view that an individual’s sex is determined by the Creator, that it’s a vital part of who he or she is, physically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually. We believe that parents have a divinely ordained responsibility to respect that design and raise their boys and girls to become healthy men and women, both inside and out. For a closer look at this subject, we can make no better recommendation than Glenn T. Stanton’s book Secure Daughters, Confident Sons: How Parents Guide Their Children into Authentic Masculinity and Femininity.

If you think it might be helpful to discuss your questions at greater length with a member of our team, feel free to give us a call. Our staff counselors would consider it a privilege to speak with you over the phone. Call our Counseling department for a free consultation.


If a title is currently unavailable through Focus on the Family, we encourage you to use another retailer.

Secure Daughters, Confident Sons: How Parents Guide Their Children into Authentic Masculinity & Femininity

Bringing Up Boys

Bringing Up Girls

Transgender Resources

Manhood and Womanhood

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