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!