Is your little 4-year-old son pretending to be a girl?
Are you getting worried about this behavior?
Well, for your relief, we assure you that is a pervasive and expected part of a child’s development, and they explore the opposite gender to try out different roles.
Dressing up and pretending to be someone else is the activity of choice for children of this age.
Act and play are considered to be healthy signs of development. At this age, they engage in a wide variety of fantasy play and pretend to be anything they like.
So relax, dear mommy; there is nothing to be worried about. Read more to see how it is normal for a 4-year-old boy to pretend to be a girl and what you should do.
Is it normal if a 4-year-old pretends to be a girl?
It is totally normal. We want our children to use their imagination and learn to socialize. So they imagine and play anything they can come up with.
They use their vision more often at this age and love creative play. This is a great mental exercise for kids.
Mainly four-year-olds love to sing, dance, pretend and act. Sometimes they copy a cat, a puppy, or even the opposite gender.
So as long as your child is happy and healthy and having fun, you should not stop him or worry about what other has to say and teach your child the same.
Your son is too young to know about societal norms, which can affect his imagination.
However, if you notice that he is constantly trying to be a girl or actually says that he wants to be girl (for a long period of time), you can seek professional help.
Why might your 4-year-old boy want to be a girl or pretend to be a girl?
All the mommies getting worried about their sons must know that there would be reasons why they love to pretend like a girl. Following are the possible ones:
1- They do it out of imagination:
A 4-year-old child is uber imaginative, and they love to play and pretend the roles they see around them.
Sometimes they imitate the animals they love, sometimes copy their parents, and sometimes copy the opposite gender.
2- They find girl things more fun:
Girly stuff is more colorful and attractive as compared to the boys. Some boys find it more fun to play with it.
Some boys find their stuff boring, whether colorful doll houses or vibrant dresses and want to play with girly things and pretend to be a girl.
3- He is mainly with his mom:
Usually, 4-year-old boys stay with their mom most of the time.
So, they see and learn from their mommies. They admire their moms and act like them in many situations.
4- He has a big sister at home:
Boys who act like girls are mostly those who have an elder sister at home. Ever since birth, they must have seen big sister and her toys around the house.
Big sisters’ toys colors and variation must have attracted him much more.
Similarly, boys with more sisters (elder or younger) may pretend to be a girl just because they live with girls.
5- He has friends who are primarily girls:
At school, boys with more girls around them often pretend to be them. As this age is about learning through the surroundings, boys who play with girls usually act and talk like them.
What should you do if your little boy is pretending to be a girl:
Look, it’s not necessary to stop your boy from pretending to be a girl; however, most parents facing this will want to do something to distract their boy.
In this section, we suggest some simple things you can do to stop your 4-years-old boy to pretend to be a girl or at least reduce this act.
1- Don’t force or scold him.
First, don’t force or scold a child out of frustration. Correcting him directly or taking your frustration out of them is not needed.
Instead, let him be happy and healthy. Let him be. Don’t push him to stop pretending like a girl.
2- Give him time.
He will grow out of this phase once he passes the stage of this intense imaginative play. So give him time before you jump to any conclusion.
3- Talk to him.
Promote more parent-child conversation. Talk to him at night when he is listening to you more closely.
For example, tell him he looks like a Disney male character when he dresses up.
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4- Indulge quality time with male members of the family.
Ask the male member of the family to spend time with him more often. But, most importantly, a dad has to step up and spend quality time with the child.
5- Read him stories.
Read stories with strong male characters to distract his mind from girls. Superheroes, dinosaurs, and car story books are good picks for such boys.
6- Encourage playing with boy toys.
Encourage him when he picks up boy toys, and ask the elder sister to some time play with boy toys.
Don’t fill his room with girls’ toys. Just make a balance of it.
7- Never taunt him.
Never taunt your child just because anyone has pointed out or made fun of him. Instead, support him and let them know it will be okay.
8- Compliment him when he dresses up.
Take him shopping, and ask him to select some nice clothes for himself. Encourage him when he takes an interest in it.
Then, give a reward and compliment him when he is going to a party, dressed up as a decent boy.
9- Introduce more physical and outdoor play.
Try to incorporate some physical and outdoor play for your 4-year-old. For example, cycling, skating, swimming, football, cricket, etc. It will not only make your child strengthful but also deviates his mind from pretending to be like a girl.
10- Seek professional help:
If you see that your little boy not only pretends to be a girl but constantly wants to look and be like a girl for a long time, you can seek professional help.
It is totally normal for a 4-year-old boy to pretend to be a girl or anyone else. A kid’s imagination is super strong at this age. Imaginative play is a good sign of the brain development of 4-year-olds. So, you shouldn’t worry.
However, you can distract him from pretending to be a girl by engaging him in more boy activities. Reading him boy stories and introducing more physical play should be helpful.
However, if you are concerned that your little one wants to be a girl and doesn’t let this concept go for a long time, you can seek professional help for peace of mind.