I love watching my students interactive in Dramatic play and discover the world of imagination. But that is short lived when a parent walks into the room and sees his son in a dress or high heels and screams; “Take that off!” you are not a girl.” I’m sure the student is wondering what he did wrong, and why it isn’t okay for him to experiment with something that his mom wears every day.
The parent then pulls me aside and says “I don’t want my son to put on anything related to girls.” I reply “ok,” but not in agreeance, I’m just respecting the parents’ wishes. I try not to offer my opinion unless it is asked. I know that the parent is firm in his beliefs and I don’t think it’s my place to second guess his decision. So the next time the student puts on a girls piece of clothing I ask him to take it off and let him know that his mother/father prefers that he doesn’t wear dresses or heels.
My heart is broken because I know where this is leading, but I don’t want to disrespect what the parent wants. I know the student will want to experiment with the items, but won’t because he’s been told it is wrong. He might even feel that there is something wrong with him because he wants to wear the clothing.
I don’t feel like a child’s sexual preference will change because they want to see what it’s like to wear heels or a dress. They are only experimenting with what they see their mom wear. And the next day, they might do the same for their dad. I don’t even think they understand the concept yet. To me, they are experimenting, just as we all have done. But parents are so worried that their sons are being influenced by things in the world that they start early, separating them from what girls should wear and what boys should wear.
A parent walked into the class, at the end of the day to pick up his son, but he couldn’t find him. I smiled and pointed to a little person that had on an over-sized hat, a long flowered dress, and heels. When the small person looked up, the dad noticed that it was his son. He said nothing, but you can tell that he was not happy with what he saw. He signed his son out and took him home. The next day, the student returned to the dramatic play area, but this time he didn’t put on any of the dress-up clothing. One of the teachers asked… “If he was going to dress-up today?” His reply was, “No, he said his dad didn’t want him to put on the girls dress-up clothing anymore.”
Educating yourself is the best way to relieve fears, uncertainties, and misunderstandings