Target’s gender-free signage has created a social media free-for-all.
Most have an opinion.
Many have a big opinion.
We are passionate about our kids and the influences around them, no matter the side of argument in which we plant ourselves.
So now Ken (the girls’ boy doll) and GI Joe (the boys’ boy doll) will possibly share the same self-space.
I think this controversy actually stirs a greater concern.
We fear the culture is attempting to move toward gender neutrality, normalizing gender confusion.
Many moms and dads have asked me if they should be concerned if their son wants to wear mom’s high heels or their daughter wants to dress like dad.
Perhaps they should.
My first words are, “Trust what the Lord is showing you. Pray against this.”
Lord, I pray my child rejoices in the way in which you have fearfully and wonderfully created (name). I pray (name) feels satisfied and content with the body you have given him. Give (name) friends of the same sex and have him/her bond closely to the same sex parent. Help me to encourage his/her character strengths and support (name) in his /her weaknesses. Give me the wisdom to parent my child well.
Always pray when you feel a sense of concern. The Holy Spirit is nudging you.
If you believe your child is leaning toward gender confusion, don’t go along with his or her fantasy. Don’t call him by a girl’s name or a girl by a boy’s name. This only feeds the delusion.
Instead show your son or daughter how to appropriately display the traits they value in their own sex.
“A caring man makes a really good daddy.”
“A strong woman is a good leader.”
Here are some facts that moms and dads will find helpful if they are concerned about their child’s desire to be the opposite sex:
- Most children strongly identify with their sex by the age of four.
- At the age of five most little boys strongly connect to dad and girls to mom.
- Most children (70-80 percent) who do entertain the idea of being the opposite sex typically grow out of it.
Most parents do not need to be alarmed.
There is a small percentage who actually have Gender Identity Disorder, a disorder of assumption. (Similar to an anorexic who looks in the mirror and sees a fat person rather than her dangerously thin reality.)
As much as our society wants to blur the lines of gender and claim transgender issues are within the norm, doctors at John’s Hopkins (previously the leaders in gender transitioning surgeries) who have done extensive studies call the transgender expression a mental disorder and do not perform this surgery anymore. As much as Bruce-Caitlyn Jenner would like to believe the transitioning is the solution, the surgery does not fix the patient’s psychological problems.
Here are some warning signs that this may be an issue for your child:
1. Expresses the desire to be the opposite sex and is disgusted with his or her genitals.
2. Girls consistently want to stand while urinating, boys want to sit down.
3. Reject the clothes, games, or toys that are typical for their sex.
4. Girls think when they get older they will grow a penis and boys believe their penis will eventually disappear.
5. They are rejected by their same sex peer group.
6. They feel isolated, depressed, and anxious.
7. Changes brought on by puberty create an extreme amount of distress.
My oldest daughter, now in her twenties, is among the small percent of the population of those who suffer with gender identity disorder. This is a terrible struggle and has a been a battle since she was a preschooler.
Identity issues are confusing and complicated. If your child is dealing with gender dysphoria, get help from a Christian counselor. Have your child to spend more more time with the same-sex parent. Encourage activities where your child can succeed while being in the same-sex peer group.
My daughter’s disorder was not brought on by Target’s marketing. When she grew up toys were labeled boy and girl. Her conflict developed partially from the pain of abandonment (she is adopted). Her confused identity is s symptom of a deeper problem.
That being said…her struggle has been exasperated by the current culture’s normalization of a psychological condition.
Here is a related link to this post:
Bruce Jenner, Chaz Bono, and My Oldest Daughter
With faith, hope, and love,
PS I have my daughter’s permission to write about her struggle.
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About the Author
Lori Wildenberg is a licensed parent and family educator, parent coach, and co-founder of 1Corinthians13 Parenting.com. She has written 6 books including Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home; The Messy Life of Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections; and her most recent book, Messy Hope: Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression, or Suicidal Ideation. Contact Lori for your next event or for parent consulting or parent training courses. Lori can also be found mentoring over at the MOMS Together Group on Facebook.