A Letter from a Concerned Mom: A Gender Case Study (from Childhood: Voyages in Development)

What is the time table for children developing gender stereotypes? What are some questions you would want to ask “Concerned Mom” about this situation? (read below for this question)

My 4-and-a-1 /2-year-old daughter daily pretends she is male in her play. She adores mechanical things, insects, and bugs, generally engages in rough play, etc. She is typically a male character when pretending with her friends. She has many interests but especially wrestling. I have allowed her to pretend to be whoever she wants to be. There are many other dress-up costumes (ballerina, princess), and she pretends all of these characters as well as animals regularly, but she chooses male roles most often. When we are playing, she tells me I can’t be a prince because I am a girl. She always enjoys playing with boys but has several female friends. My husband and I disagree about the normalcy of this play. My husband believes it is healthy to let her play whatever she wants. I think this has gone on too long and that our daughter has gone overboard. We have quarreled about this. How concerned should we be? Is this unhealthy play?

Sample Solution