Photo Credit: NBC/Today Show
Nobody would blink an eye at a girl dressed as a lumberjack or an astronaut for Halloween, but a little boy costumed as his favorite cartoon character has raised some eyebrows. Yup, people are buzzing about a 5-year-old boy who dressed up as Daphne from Scooby Doo complete with orange wig and purple sparkly tights. Frankly, I think he looked adorable and -- more importantly -- he looks happy.
Michele Borba, Ed.D., iVillage parenting expert and the author of 23 parenting books, thinks that pigeon-holing kids into gender roles is confining -- she says it's important to let our kids lead. “What really impacts a child is when we put our own judgement into what's right and what's wrong,” says Borba. “Sometimes, the most important thing we can do as moms is just bite our tongues." So, it's not just about letting our kids choose whether they want the pink toy or the blue toy -- it's about letting them experiment with life, which helps open up the world for them, says Borba.
So, if my son were to dress up as Little Bo Peep or a ladybug one year, I'll be fine with it. After all, I adopted him when he was 10, I think some of his views on sexual politics may come from his foster families. For example, he was amazed to learn about Danica Patrick -- “I didn't know girls could drive race cars, Mom!” I'm constantly reminding him that girls can do anything boys can and vice versa, and I think it's starting to make an impression. If I'd had him earlier I wouldn't have ever stopped him from playing with dolls or playing dress up -- even with orange wigs and purple tights.
Instead of stopping our sons from exploring their softer side, maybe we need to realize that it just might help them turn out to be caring, well-balanced adults.
Would you let your son dress up as a girl? Chime in below!