Polk Moms

Connecting moms in Polk County, Fla.

When my four-year-old plays with her dolls, her six-year-old brother wants to play with them too. I don't have a problem with this but there are some relatives that say that I should not let him for fear that he will be influenced to want to become a female. Instead, they want me to encourage him to stick to his cars, blocks and anything that promotes being a boy. I'm getting really tired of their comments. What can I say to them without causing an inter-family war?

When I was young, I also liked to play with my sister's dolls. There were a few raised eyebrows in the family, but my mom ignored them. I'm glad she did. I am now a grown man with a successful company and am married with three little adorable kids who all share their toys and dolls included. - J.M. in Baton Rouge, LA

FROM JODIE:

This is a ridiculous assumption. Relatives can sometimes be rude in their attempt to hand out parenting tips. They probably mean well but after a while can certainly rub parents the wrong way. It'd be interesting to find out their reasoning on this specific topic though. If you haven't already asked them why they believe this, doing so would arm you with more insight and maybe help you with a more acceptable rebuttal (in their minds). Or, if you have already tried to talk with them about it without getting your point across, just do whatever you think is best for your son. There are lots of little boys who enjoy playing with their sister's toys and there are vice-versa. It's actually pretty normal and both can learn many things from sharing their toys and using their imaginations while playing together. The one thing you need to do is make it perfectly clear that these are your children and if they are happy in their current situation, that's all that counts. Be sure that none of the relatives give him grief for his choices. The last thing he needs is to get a complex or get stuck with a label that he'll struggle to shake as he gets older. Very calmly, tell them that you appreciate their concern but they should mind their own business.

CAN YOU HELP?

We have two kids, a boy age 11 and a girl age 14 that both have birthdays on February 14th. It gets pretty expensive to try to have two birthday parties and buy gifts for Valentine's Day as well. I'd like to buy gifts and have them be for both occasions. Plus, I think they're at an age where they can understand my reasoning. Is this a good idea and do you have any suggestions on gifts for kids this age as well as other friends and family?

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