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ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

What do my son's behaviors mean?

Asked by ItalianPrincess1217 (10534points) September 28th, 2013 from iPhone

My 2 year old son has become very interested in my beauty routine. He watches me get ready and has started imitating certain things. For example, today he tried to help me straighen my hair. The other day he was trying to use my eyelash curler on himself. He has brushed his hair while siting at my vanity and has pretended to put on makeup. He has even put on jewelry and asked me if it was pretty. I’ve never discourage his behavior or scolded him for it. I laugh it off. I personally see nothing wrong with this behavior. I think it’s pure curiosity. He is still a regular boy in every other aspect. He plays very rough, loves cars and monster trucks, and he’s a tough kid. I just wonder if this a “normal” behavior in toddlers. Does this work similarly with girls? Will a girl sometimes imitate their dad shaving their facial hair etc? I’m sure this means nothing about their sexual preference and even if he turned out to be gay, I’d love and support him just the same. When my boyfriend sees him pretending to put on mommy’s makeup he’ll jokingly say “Come on son, let’s go play with tools and talk about cars.” Should we take the approach of redirecting his attention to “boy toys” or just let him satisfy his curiosity?

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15 Answers

Katniss's avatar

He’s just curious. My son used to do the same kinds of things. They learn by imitation. My brother used to wear my high heeled boots and a cape and run around the house with his He Man sword.
Both of them are normal, healthy males.
I promise that you have nothing to worry about. lol

livelaughlove21's avatar

He’s 2. He has no sexuality. He’s just being a kid. My husband walked around in his mom’s 4-inch-heels when he was young (though he denies it now) and he’s as straight as it gets.

I never understood why people think boys doing “girly” things like putting on mom’s makeup might mean he’ll be gay. Most gay men don’t wear makeup. They’re still men. If he tells you he’s a girl and he insists this is true throughout his childhood, this may indicate a gender identity type of thing. But the behavior you described has nothing to do with that.

Don’t redirect or discourage the behavior. Satisfy his curiosity just like you would for anything else he’s interested in. At 2, I’m guessing that’s everything.

Check out Bandura’s Modeling Theory. Kids naturally imitate others.

Sunny2's avatar

Your attitude of acceptance is to be commended, but don’t read anything into your son’s behavior at this point. When he is in nursery school and there are other boys to play with, he’ll have other role models. Right now you are his world.

ccrow's avatar

One of my boys did this sort of thing… I can remember him crying because I wouldn’t let him wear my mascara. It really bugged my husband, but I figured it was just a little kid wanting to imitate. And it was not an indication of his sexuality:-)

DWW25921's avatar

That’s normal. He’s just emulating his surroundings.

JLeslie's avatar

I think you letting him play along is a good thing. He loves you and is curious about everything you do. I also don’t think there is a big harm in your boyfriend saying let’s go play with tools, if everyone kind of laughs it off, never judging, because I think the most important message is you as his mommy is the person he can always trust to let him be curious, ask questions, and never judge him.

Strauss's avatar

I vaguely remember doing something like that when I was about 3 or so. I used to ask my older sister (10 years older) to paint my nails when she did hers. I don’t see that it affected my sexuality or self image.

ninjacolin's avatar

“Should we take the approach of redirecting his attention to “boy toys” or just let him satisfy his curiosity?”

I suppose he is your son so you can redirect him if you care to. You could even encourage him, if you want.

JLeslie's avatar

When I was that young I know I didn’t really realize there was a difference between boys and girls and men and women. Adults were just grown ups. I didn’t really notice gender so much, it didn’t mean anything to me, had no significance.

tinyfaery's avatar

“He’s is still a regular boy in other aspects”? Seems you have already determined his behavior is not boy-like. Better check your biases before you start spouting how you’ll love him anyway.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@tinyfaery I think I made it very clear that I see no issue with a boy being interested in playing with “girly” things. I don’t think there is really such a thing as “normal”. When I said “regular boy”, I just mean he is interested in society’s view of what normal boy interests are (cars, trucks, planes, playing rough). I would absolutely love him regardless. Some family members have made comments to him when he acts interested in makeup or hair care such as “Noooo, that’s for girls!” And I have always thought, what’s the harm in him exploring the things that interest him? I don’t discourage it. I have even showed him how mommy puts makeup on or paints nails. I was simply asking for opinions to see if there was harm in encouraging/discouraging his behavior and whether a toddler knows the difference between gender oriented things yet.

KaY_Jelly's avatar

It probably means nothing or maybe it means something.

My nephew used to play dress-up with my mothers stuff wear her shoes and clothes and her jewelry. He also had a big fascination for Barbies. And I mean he loved those Barbies more than any little girl I ever knew and he played with them often, but ironically a lot more when other little girl friends were around then when he did by himself.

By the time he hit grade school the girls were falling all over him…funny. Did he plan it all along? Maybe he realized at a young age that being close to girls things made girls closer to him. He is now 22 and soon to be married yes to a girl. :)

tom_g's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217: “When my boyfriend sees him pretending to put on mommy’s makeup he’ll jokingly say “Come on son, let’s go play with tools and talk about cars.” Should we take the approach of redirecting his attention to “boy toys” or just let him satisfy his curiosity?”

He’s your kid. But the comment about “lets go play with tools and talk about cars” saddens me. He’s a kid. This kid will spend nearly every waking hour for the rest of his life being bombarded with what it supposedly means to be a boy/man and what it means to be a girl/women. In my humble opinion, shouldn’t he be safe to explore the full range of human experience safely, at home, and without judgement?

There is nothing about tools or cars that = male. We (society) has declared this to be the case. But many of us males despise that shit. Anyway, you probably know this, and I’ll stop my obnoxious lecture.

My boys (5 and 8) both had dolls, both enjoy getting their nails painted, both have enjoyed dressing up like a girl, and both are 100% “boy” from what I can tell. They are kids. They are not going to made to feel guilty in our house for expressing an interest that has been prescribed as off-limits for males in this culture. They are perpetually assaulted by peers, media, tv, etc and more importantly – their genes. They will be who they will be, and I will love them no matter who they are.

Anyway, you have expressed that you feel there is nothing wrong with your son’s behavior. I suppose my only suggestion would be to make sure the other adults in your son’s life know how you feel so you can get them on the same page. Good luck!

JamesHarrison's avatar

Its a normal kids behaviour. Kids are very sensitive & they are also very curious about anything. So, when they saw anyone they want to do like that but is doesn’t wrong meaning. As you said, he is just 2 year old means he haven’t any sense what he is doing but he want to grab new things from you.

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