• Sat, Sep 7 - 2:00 pm ET

‘My Son Wears Dresses, Get Over It’ – Writes Best Father, Ever

3764975057_901f8a3d3f__1378574771_142.196.156.251“My son wears dresses get over it,” writes a self-proclaimed “guys guy” dad in an article in The Atlantic this week. He’s not just teaching parents who have children with varying sexual and gender identities how to be conscious parents – he’s teaching all of us how to.

I’m a father. I signed on for the job with no strings attached, no caveats, no conditions. I can name every Disney Princess and her movie of origin. I’ve painted my son’s nails and rushed to remove it when he was afraid that he would get teased for wearing it. I didn’t want to remove it, I wanted to follow him around and stare down anybody who even thought about teasing him. I only removed it because he started to have a panic attack. It was his decision and if he wants to edit himself to feel safer, I’ll do it. Every time. No questions asked.

This is amazing. Not just because it shows and open-mindedness that many parents can’t grasp, but because it teaches a very valuable lesson; our job as parents is to support and guide our kids as they navigate through life. It’s not our job to figure out what their interests should be, or push them in any one direction. How many of us could fully support our children if they were exhibiting signs that there were fundamental things about them that were different than us?

I fully realize “interests” and something like sexual or gender orientation are two totally different things. But this essay made me think about ways I may project what I want for my children on to them in unfair ways. I’ve always made the joke, “the only way my child could disappoint me was if he became a conservative Republican.” But, I guess that’s not really funny. What if my son decides he wants to be a card-carrying member of the NRA and vote Republican for the rest of his life? Would I be able to support it? Would I let him be the person he wants to be? What if my daughter decides she won’t identify as a feminist? Would I ever be able to not judge my kids and let them be the people they want to be?

… I’m right here fathering my son. I want to love him, not change him. My son skipping and twirling in a dress isn’t a sign that a strong male figure is missing from his life, to me it’s a sign that a strong male figure is fully vested in his life and committed to protecting him and allowing him to grow into the person who he was created to be.

The “person he was created to be.” That is beautiful. After reading this I can say it is my sincerest wish that I can support my children the same way – no matter who they end up being.

(photo: Flickr/CreativeCommons/ LisaClarke)

You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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  • disqus_WjKIYzni5a

    Aw! He sounds like the greatest. I hope this kind of acceptance becomes the norm.

  • Cee

    “Here’s the thing. When you use those words as a way to degrade or get
    the upper hand on someone, you are implying that to be a man who is gay
    or effeminate is to be “lesser than.” Now, when I hear those words, I
    feel like you are calling my son and people like him “lesser than.” I
    won’t stand for that. Get a dictionary. Learn some new words.”

    Oh my god…CHILLS! This whole piece just gave me chills and the watery. That little boy has a great father.

  • Curly Girl

    I have three sons. The eldest loved those pink Barbie dresses when he was around three to fours years old. My own brother and father were more than a little perplexed that we let him have one. He loved it. I have pictures of him washing his little ride in car outside with his grandfather wearing his dress. He also wore it to the supermarket and called himself “Emily”. My husband never saw it as an issue and our answer to people who thought we were nuts was that he didn’t know what gender was and he was just playing with what he found appealing at the time. Our two eldest both had dolls and strollers particularly as we added to the family. Both of them “breast fed” those dolls also. We enjoyed the fact that they saw the care of their subsequent siblings by me and their Dad reflected in their play. I miss toddlers so much. All three sons are well past those years now and honestly there are days I wish I had a mute button for their booming voices and their boisterous play addiction. It makes no difference what they play with. We let them be and it is heart warming to see how they are developing into actual kind, loving and accepting people…well most of the time! in reference to the other piece, I would have loved to have been able to purchase more gender neutral play things for each of them as little ones. There was very little choice other than pink! Great article!

  • bl

    This dad is great. I always think that when people have a child they think “Wow. This little life, and I’m totally responsible for it.” and they think that’s the hardest part. And I know it is hard, but I think the hardest part is being freely given the responsibility and then giving it back, little by little, until the child has it all back and can take care of themselves. Too many people like to keep a little piece of it.

  • Jessica

    I wish my sons’ father was more tolerant like this. My boys saw me painting my nails a few weeks ago, and asked me to paint theirs, so I did. Blue for one kid and green for the other. They loved it, and got upset as it started to chip after a few days. Daddy’s weekend came, and I immediately got the phone call of “why did you paint their nails, please don’t do that, I told them only girls paint their nails and they’re boys, so they can’t do that”… I was pissed, but when you’re co-parenting, sometimes you have to compromise. I told him I wouldn’t paint their nails as long as he stopped sharing his conservative views about what boys and girls are or do. I don’t want my babies to feel self conscious about who they are as individuals and I sure as hell don’t want them to treat anyone else poorly just because that person doesn’t conform to the “norm”

    • Paul White

      Bullshit only girls paint their nails! I used to paint mine black in HS (redneck goth, what can I say?).

    • meteor_echo

      I used to paint my male friends’ nails for fun. Nobody said a word about it.

    • blh

      Ha I used yo do that too! They didn’t like it or ask for it though just kinda tolerated it lol. Once they even let me put eyeliner on them lol

    • Rachel Sea

      Your ex should look at pictures of rock stars, mixed martial artists, and actors. Dave Navarro, Johnny Depp, Al Pacino, Seal, Joe Rogan…there are hundreds of very attractive, sexually desirable, manly, hetero, cisgender men who paint their nails. There are whole lines of nail polish specifically targeted to men.

      What is and isn’t “for boys” has changed. The clothes no longer make the man.

  • Momma425

    So jealous of this boy- his dad rocks!!

  • BubbleyToes

    As a social worker, I love love loved this article! It’s refreshing to hear about the supportive parents, it really is! I see a lot of the opposite unfortunately. Parenting should be about being there for and supporting your child through THEIR own life, not you trying to mold them into the life you planned out for them or that you wish you had had.