Custom CSS of Section contains Conditional Preview for See Life Campaign Elements

Three-Year-Old Boy Plays Dress-Up With Sisters

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

Should I allow my three-year-old son to play dress-up with his older sisters? He not only enjoys putting on the same frilly dresses they wear, but the costume jewelry as well. This doesn't seem like healthy behavior to me. What can I do to stop it?

You don’t necessarily want to stop it – at least not at this very early stage in your son’s development. But you do want to monitor the situation carefully and make sure that he “hits the off-ramp” at the right time.

At three years of age children possess only the most rudimentary awareness of issues like sexuality and their own sexual identification. They realize that boys and girls are different, but the hows, whys, and wherefores of those differences haven’t yet registered on their radar. They aren’t thinking about appropriate male and female dress or behavior at this point in time. That will come later. Their major concern right now is to get in on the fun. A three-year-old boy who plays dress-up with his older sisters is probably doing it simply because that’s what’s going on at the moment, and he wants to be part of the action. For him, it’s a way of relating to his sisters and interacting with them within the context of their world. (It would be a different story, of course, if there were no sisters in the picture.)

For the time being, then, we don’t think you have anything to worry about. If this behavior continues and becomes a pattern as your son gets older – up through ages four, five, and six – you will probably want to step in and do something about it. But you should be aware that the issue usually resolves itself without any parental intervention. You should also remember that this is largely a question of nuance. A situation like this has to be evaluated strictly in relation to your child and your unique family configuration. There’s nothing black-and-white or hard-and-fast about it, nor is there any room here for comparison with other kids. So trust your instincts. You will probably have a good sense of whether you’re dealing with a serious problem or not.

Meanwhile, it might also be a good idea to pay attention to the level of your son’s enthusiasm for this kind of play. If you get the sense that its original purpose – connecting with his sisters – is taking a backseat to some kind of pure enjoyment in wearing frilly clothes, it may be time to start steering him in a different direction. There’s no need to make a fuss. Instead, when the dress-up clothes come out, ask your son if he wouldn’t like to play a different kind of character this time around – a cowboy, for instance, or a fireman or a knight. Dad could take the initiative by saying something like, “When I was your age I loved to dress up as a safari hunter.” Don’t overreact. Just give him the gentle guidance he requires.

We should underscore that Mom and Dad need to be on the same page here. Together, the two of you can provide healthy play-time alternatives for your boy, but you need to bear in mind that each of you has a different role to play in the process. Generally speaking Mom should be the “corrector” – the one who tells her son, “Boys don’t behave like that.” Dad, on the other hand, should take the part of the “inviter” – the one who gently entices and encourages his son to enter into the adventurous world of manhood side by side with his father. It’s important, too, to stay aware of the potential pitfalls associated with these respective roles: Mom may be tempted to coddle her boy too much, while Dad may easily fall into the trap of being too hard on him. You can avoid these twin errors by making a conscious effort to balance each other out. Remember, parenting a boy successfully is an art, not a science.

If you’d like to discuss this situation at greater length with a member of our staff, contact Focus on the Family’s Counseling department for a free consultation.


Resources
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

Nurturing a Healthy Gender Identity in Your Child

Being There for Your Son

Referrals
National Center for Fathering

John Rosemond: Parenting with Love and Leadership

Articles
Your Child’s Personality

SHARE:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 5: It’s Going to be Amazing!

After a couple has chosen life, hear the heartwarming stories of children that culture would have cast aside, yet are making tremendous impacts in their communities. Whether the diagnosis was adverse or the circumstances were difficult, these stories will inspire you to come along side of families who have chosen life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 4: Sometimes the Choice is Hard

Hear real life stories of parents who have made the decision to choose life even though the circumstances were overwhelming. You’ll see why “ALL” life is precious to God and why choosing life is always the right decision!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 6: Families Helping Families!

So, after all you’ve seen through the SeeLife ‘21 Episodic journey; what can you do now? We’ll share how you can partner with some amazing organizations that are making significant impacts in the pro-life movement! You want to Celebrate Life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 3: The Power of a Picture

Have you ever wondered what a baby looked like in the womb? With today’s technology, Moms and Dads can see the baby’s heartbeat, facial expressions, and movements! You’ll find out why more women choose life once they hear their baby’s heartbeat and realize it’s a real living human!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 2: Heroes Providing Hope

Discover the amazing work our PRC’s Directors, Nurses, and Volunteers are making in their communities! You’ll see firsthand testimonies of a PRC in action, and that there are other options outside of abortions! You’ll also discover how your family can support your local PRC!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!