6 yr old has gender identity issue

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-04-2010
6 yr old has gender identity issue
Thu, 03-04-2010 - 9:26pm

This is my first post and I am in need of some of insight. I am marrying my fiance in less than 8 months and he has a 6 year old girl (soon to be 7 in April). For as long as I've known her (3 years), I've noticed some very odd behavior regarding gender and her perception. At first she would refuse to go into the womens bathrooms, insisting that her father had to take her into the mens room. But I didn't think anything of it because while he was single and he had her in a public place, he would have to take her to the mens room with him since she was so little. There was a time where she would fight us and would even refuse to go to the bathroom if she couldn't use the mens room. And a few times she would claim she would have to go just because her dad had to go simply so she could use it. Then as she got older she would tell me that she was a boy. I politely told her that she was born a girl just like her mommy and I but she insisted she was a boy. Now that she is about to be 7,

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-13-2007
Fri, 03-05-2010 - 11:55am

If it's as serious and all consuming as you claim, she could grow up to consider sexual reassignement.

Look...she is who she is. Please don't tell her boys are "stinky". You're insulting HER when you say that.

There are Dr's that say that people can be born into the 'wrong' body. That they realize at very young ages that there's been a "mistake" made. Your boyfriends daughter sounds as though this has happened to her.

It couldn't hurt for your boyfriend to take his daughter to see a counselor. NOT in an attempt to change her, but to help her feel at ease with who she is.

Be kind to her. She's going to have a rough time of it in years to come if she believes she's in the wrong body... Poor baby...

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-25-2010
Fri, 03-05-2010 - 11:57am
Honestly I don't have any experience in this situation. But personally, I think you're right on the living with majority males. Is her BM an active part of her upbringing? I know that my SD has not had her mom around a lot and we've had issues with her feminine hygiene before, I know that her father has never gone over it with her and it was of great concern to me. I think you should just show her little by little how wonderful it is to be a girl. Just keep your distance.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 03-05-2010 - 3:20pm

Very nice reply. I agree with you for the most part. I also think it is easy to over-react to things at that age. I was in first grade when the teacher asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up. My answer came without a pause "A boy." This disturbed a LOT of people. But at that age I could see that boys were treated differently than girls and I wanted to be treated that way. I didn't want to be a girl and live with those limits.

Thirtysome years later I'm still a girl, mother of two and die-hard feminist.

There are a LOT of reasons why this child could be acting this way and not all of them call for intervention or blame.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2009
Fri, 03-05-2010 - 3:59pm

My DS used to tell me when he was about that age that he wanted to be a girl. I told him that when he grew up he could be anything that he wanted to be. He's turning 13 now and guess who no longer wants to be a girl (and hasn't wanted to for a long time).

My point is that she's very young and that kids say all kinds of kooky things. How are you responding to her when she says these things? If you are communicating any kind of negative feelings or anxiety about what she's saying, she may be repeating them simply to push your buttons or get attention.

Or she really was born into the wrong body and when she's older she'll adopt a male look and lifestyle. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Relax, it's out of your hands anyway.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-04-2010
Fri, 03-05-2010 - 8:51pm
Thank you for all your replies so far! I can honestly say that I have treated everything she's said to me with an open reply and answered any questions she's asked of me. I know better than anyone that it's entirely possible that she may grow up to realize she was born in the wrong body. I have a close family member who went through just that. I am also a bi-sexual woman and if this little girl grows up to be gay, bi, tomboy or anything under the sun, it wouldn't be seen as negative to me or her father. We aren't hindering her exploration or her questions in any way. I love her no matter who she is, she's our little sunshine :o) But I do want to say that I understand that it's out of our hands however I was definitely curious for some insight since I haven't experienced this with other children I've helped take care of. And as a response to my answer to her about boys being "icky", I was joking with her. She and I have an inside joke about saying things have "cooties" and that was my attempt at being silly with her which she understands is just a joke. Not a joke aimed at boys specifically. Thank you ladies, I appreciate everything!!!
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-22-2009
Sat, 03-06-2010 - 12:34am

My youngest sister, from about age 2 to about age 10, insisted that she WAS a boy.