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Child has confusion with gender identity. Is this normal?

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Pediatrician, Infectious Diseases
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 1528 Questions
3 year old sonMy son keeps saying "I'm a boy right mommy?" Or "I'm not a girl right mommy? You're a girl right mommy?
It's starting to become frequent and I'm getting worried, is this normal?
Posted Sun, 17 Jun 2012 in Growth and Development in Children
Follow-up: Child has confusion with gender identity. Is this normal? 13 minutes later
He is three years old
Answered by Dr. Hema Yadav 2 hours later
Hello ,
Thanks for posting your query.
Yes, this is a normal phase of development in this age group.Please do not worry at all.
Let me explain this milestone called gender identity .
The process of gender identity begins when a child is between two and three years old. During this stage, children begin to identity differences between the genders. Children of both genders will begin growing curious about these differences. This process is a combination of biological awareness and sociological influences. The process of gender identity continues as children begin to watch people in their lives for queues on approved gender roles. For instance, upon learning that a young girl is a girl, she will begin watching her parents and attempt to mimic her mother's role in the house.
Similarly your son may now try to figure out how he being a boy, should behave.
Later, In middle childhood, gender identification continues to become more firmly established, not only in children's interest in playing more exclusively with youngsters of their own sex, but also in their interest in acting like, looking like, and having things like their same-sex peers. During this time of life you will see your child express his gender identity through gender-specific role behavior, some of which began during the preschool years:
Through his or her toys, play activities, household tasks, and family roles. Most often, boys will choose to play "boy games" with masculine attribĀ­utes
Through social behavior that reflects varying degrees of aggression, dominance, dependency, and gentleness.
Through the manner and style of behavioral and physical gestures and other nonverbal actions that are identified as masculine or feminine.

Occasionally, children seem to display gender-role confusion. More than just lacking an interest in sports, for instance, some boys actually tend to identify with females.
This may be just a phase for a three year old who still has to come to accept his gender identity and the differences from his parent ( mother).
But gradually by middle childhood say 6-9 years of age such confusion is resolved.
If it persists beyond that and your child seems to deny his gender or refuse to behave like a boy only then should you be worried and seek professional help.
As of now it's a absolutely normal phase which doesn't need any intervention apart from parental love and guidance.
Hope I have answered your query.
Wishing you good health.

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