Her Princess Boy

What should you do if your little boy wants to dress up like a princess?  I recently read an article about a mother, Cheryl Kilodavis, whose four year old son, Dyson, apparently loves to dress up in princess costumes.  The supposed fetish began in pre-school when he twice picked out girly costumes to dress up in and from there, his mom decided to embrace his interest in beautiful, sparkly things.  Now, for Halloween or any occasion, he dresses in some sort of princess/ballerina garb, headbands and all.

To show her approval and support for her son’s interest, Cheryl Kilodavis wrote a children’s book entitled, “My Princess Boy.” Together, she and her husband believe they should support and nurture their son’s interest. From a secular viewpoint, the perspective makes sense…after all, children are born gender neutral and we just have to let them choose, right?  To most psychologists and to many parents out there, Cheryl Kilodavis is a heroic mom.  She is paving the way for kids to express themselves however they may choose in school and everywhere else.

But, what should a Christian viewpoint be?  Should this sound good to me as a mom trying to bring up our son and two daughters in God’s ways?  No, and here are some ways to combat secular thought on this topic:

Teach your children that God Himself created gender and gender distinctions. Right from Genesis 2, we see that God creates the first man and the first woman and he gives them both distinct identities in both name and role.

Teach your children about what is masculine and what is feminine. When your children are playing dress up for example, tell your son that the tutu is for little girls if you have to.  Remind your children what manner of dress God created little girls for and what manner of dress he created little boys for.   This is so simple to do and your child will not be harmed by keeping to gender specific items.  They will be blessed by this leading because as they get older, they will have a good sense of their identity as the man or woman God created them to be when he made them girl or boy.  Let me tell you from being married to a man who was taught to be a man, it is only going to serve your son well to be brought up with a clear sense of gender identity.  I see such a healthy self-assurance in men who have been raised this way.  (And it helps that I never have to tell him to please take off his tutu!!;)

Teach your children that the bible, not our secular culture, is the final authority on everything, even gender identity. Read Proverbs 1: 8-33 to your children and most definitely, to your sons.  Here, we find a father advising his son to listen to him and to derive wisdom from his godly council.   When everyone around them is telling them the bible is outdated and for the simple-minded, brain-washed fool, read your children these words, “Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes…but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.” And Proverbs 22:6,  “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

Teach your children bullying those children who might dress differently is wrong but also teach them they do not have to be apologetic for choosing to build their gender identity around the word of God. More and more, our society is forcing acceptance of every sort of unbiblical practise on us and on our children.  Sometimes we can not do much but we can always decide we will not apologize.  A boy who dresses like a princess each day can be proud of his choice if he wants to be but my little boy can also be just as proud of his growing masculinity and though I would never want to see Micah poke fun at another child, I also would hate to see him feel he had to act as if there is no such thing as masculine and feminine.  That would be tragic in my view.

It may go against the wisdom of our society and of modern psycology…but our children do not steer us.  God has called us as parents to steer our children in the way they should go, even in matters of masculine and feminine identity.  It’s not always easy.  But what part of parenting is easy?  It is not going to be a popular choice as Christian parents to make clear gender distinctions but since when are Christian parents ever regarded by society as doing things right?:)

Now, I’d love to hear your thoughts or opinions dear readers!

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6 Responses to Her Princess Boy

  1. Adrienne says:

    Very interesting topic. I honestly haven’t given a whole lot of thought to it before now, probably since I so far have just girls. I think I agree with what you are saying. If I started to see a pattern in my son or daughter, that they were becoming fixated on dressing like the opposite sex, then I would gently guide them towards more gender specific dress-ups. However, I do think there is some flexibility in this. For instance, since I have two girls, often Vivian wants to be the princess, so she will assign Greta the role of the prince. Ha! Anyway, I don’t worry too much about things like that, especially at this age. I would also not discourage my little boy from playing with dolls if he wanted to. After all, many boys will become fathers one day and learning to nurture someone is healthy. I think where I would draw the line is whether or not the child is portraying themself as someone of the opposite sex, then I would step in. If my little boy wants to play kitchen or dolls, then that’s fine. Men can be domestic too–and should learn to in my opinion! If my daughter wants to play with cars or trains, or whatever little boys play with, then I would be fine with this as well since those things don’t define gender in the same way apparel does.

  2. Rick says:

    Douglas Wilson has an interesting thought that stereotypes can play a POSITIVE role, representing the wisdom of the previous generations through the centuries. He says we do well to pay attention to them. I think that’s an interesting way to think about it.

    This lady in particular one wonders how accepting she will be if her son decides to go the other way again as he is such a cash cow now?

  3. Grace says:

    Justin and I flipped on the TV last night and Glee was on. We watched that show about two times when it first came out…but quickly it turned to smut. Well, there was a group of guys singing and one was serenading another guy with the song “Lets go all the way tonight, you and I.” Justin and I couldn’t believe it…but EVERYTHING is acceptable now…

  4. bchallies says:

    God has created such a beautiful “whole” when masculine and feminine come together…He does things so well, and we are utterly determined to deny that….

  5. reminds me of that johnny cash song “a boy named sue”. funny how people want to reverse the good and true. it’s so hard to try to be a man when a woman, and a woman when a man. the internal nature of gender is too strong to be something we are not!

  6. gretchen says:

    god, indeed, created us male and female and i agree that there are roles that go with each sex– most importantly and unchangeably are “mother” and “father” and “husband” and “wife”.

    however, *gender* is a cultural construction and dress and hairstyles for each gender change over time and in different areas. think of the tights and pleated bloomer shorts worn by men in the 1500s. or the long curled wigs tied with a ribbon worn by european men in the 1700s. now, i agree a princess costume is a feminine thing in all cultures so i don’t mean to be obtuse. i generally agree with what you are saying but just wanted to point out that this simplistic approach (that god created boys for boys clothing and girls for girls clothing) might not work if your child has a strong feeling that they want to wear the traditional clothing for the opposite sex.

    my friend’s daughter really rebels against dresses or any feminine clothing. she is most comfortable in khaki pants and a polo shirt bought in the boys dept. (because sometimes it is very hard to find plain, unadorned clothes in the girls department). but she looks fine because a tomboy is an accepted role in our society.

    another friend has a son who really loves to wear girls dress up clothing. it’s a complicated issue when you have a child who truly identifies with the opposite sex. for most boys and girls nudging them in the right direction is all you need to do but if your son tells you if wishes he was a girl, just telling him that god created him as a boy and he should behave boyishly and like boys stuff, probably won’t dissuade him from wanting to wear girls clothes.

    i found your blog through a friend. thanks for the opportunity to weigh in! you are a lovely family!!

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