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THE GEM DEBATE: WOULD YOU LET YOUR SON WEAR A DRESS?

Hey everyone – it’s time for another GEM debate!

As I was rushing the kids out the door today I heard Nick Cannon discussing this story on the radio. It was about a Seattle mother who has made the decision to allow her son to wear whatever makes him happy. It just so happens the things that make him smile are dresses.

This story is a reminiscent of the little boy who dressed as Daphne, the curvy character from Scooby Doo, for Halloween. But in this case it’s not just once a year. Cheryl Kilodavis lets her son, Dyson, wear dresses whenever he wants – and she doesn’t care what anyone thinks. Here what she has to say on yesterday’s edition of the Today Show.

Now I have very strong feelings about this and when the debate ensues, I will weigh in. But I’m curious, would you allow your young son to wear dresses on a daily basis – not just as a costume for Halloween? Ready? Set? Sound off!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KiFRAX1v9I[/youtube]

14 Comments

  1. america

    January 4, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Yes I would…because as he turns older more momma amo on him…I’ll facebook u …keep it up…
    Seriously I dont have a problem with allowing your kids to dress how they wish during play time because thats what they are supposed to do…PLAY…Daily…well Idk..I may because there is gonna come a time when he grows out of wanting to do this…so who is it hurting? Again more momma amo for the future.. :-)…

  2. pattyrowland

    January 4, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    i can see both sides gem but boys wearing dresses just isn’t culturally acceptable…maybe when it is, i’d have no problem with it but you’d have be raising a very strong boy to not be crushed by onlooker comments – rude or otherwise.

  3. Tania

    January 4, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    I have no kids but I don’t want my brother nor cousin dressing like a girl. Sorry, but no.
    I am more socially acceptable than most but really NO!
    It’s time for the parent to say, no that’s not right. You are a boy! Now if he’s gay, let him be gay but to dress like a girl is not the same thing. Sorry.

  4. Zee Triplett

    January 4, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    Yes I sure would!!!! I have a son who is obsessed with blue nail polish, but he is also built like a dump truck and LOVES to wrestle and is just plain rough!!! At the end of the day, he is my son and I ACCEPT his likes and dislikes despite my own feelings. Kudos to the little guy’s mommy for letting her child be who he is.

  5. Cody Williams

    January 4, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    When we first put a Big Wheel down for my son to ride at 18 months he did not know what to do with it. He just sat there and looked at it. I got on and showed him what to do.

    My… point?

    We have a responsibility to show our children who and what to be instead of letting them make things up as they go. (Otherwise my daughter would want be a large plate of macaroni) What if this little boy said at age five that he felt like he needed a gun to shoot somebody? Would we discourage him?

    I’m as liberal as the next guy. I’m open and tolerant. I just don’t let my kids fill up on candy and junkfood all day either. We have to show them, and teach them how to be them with the acceptable rules of society.

  6. Pam R

    January 4, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    I have a son and he is all male. I am not saying that this little boy isn’t but for me…no. I can’t and I wouldn’t. He’s 5 years old…if he wanted to play around like that at home I would be side eyeing him trying to see if this was something that made him really happy or not. He can’t make a decision like this on his own and understand what it really means. Some could look at this as a phase and he “might’ come out of it…..maybe but for now the adults in his life need to make the decisions for him. If you listen to Dr. Phil talk about teenagers and how the development of their brains as far as the decision making section is not even fully developed. So of course to him in his little mind it’s all good because that is what he wants to do. Mom and dad are like ok. They have made their decision so they have to live with it. I am not here to judge anyone…..but this is such a tough world kids are coming up in now days. Really tough….I pray that this kid does not fall into the new statistic of teens taking their lives because of bullying and things. I pray for him that he’s strong and he has strong parents. It’s a really hard situation I am sure that his mom and family found themselves having to deal with.

  7. yang

    January 4, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    If this little guys dad is ok with this, it’s ok.

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  9. Rene Syler

    January 4, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Okee dokey here’s my take:
    I think the mother and father are doing a good thing in letting Dyson express himself, even if it is in ways that are slightly outside social norms. They are letting him know that they love him just the way he is and that is important. I am also all for letting kids have a little control over their environment when they are young and what’s more innocuous than clothing choices? As I said in my book, Good Enough Mother, I allowed my kids to pick out their own clothes as soon as they could walk, as long as they were weather and age appropriate. It empowered them and so what if there were stripes and polka dots paired with pink camouflage. No one could tell them they did not look good! I do, however, think Dyson’s parents need to prepare him for the fact that he will be ridiculed for his sartorial selection. Not may, not possibly, WILL be because kids are mean. If he is properly prepared for that, then fine. But does a four year old really know what he’s getting himself into? Perhaps he will always march to the beat of his own drum and if he does, it will be because he’s super confident. You know who will have to thank for that? His parents, of course.

    And yes, if Cole wanted to wear a dress, I would let him. Remember the blue nail polish? (http://www.goodenoughmother.com/2010/11/boys-will-be-girls/)

  10. Mia

    January 4, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    WOW. Interesting perspectives. I honestly don’t know what I would do. It was one thing for my kid to put on anyone shoes man or woman when he was a toddler, but the whole dress thing, I just don’t know how I would feel or react to that.

    I think it is critical for the parents to prepare him KIDS WILL TEASE HIM, but the thing I don’t get is buying my son dresses. I don’t think I could do it. This mother is the only woman is the house if I recall the story when watching the today show, so I just can’t help but wonder if some of this is her maybe wanting a daughter subconsciously.

  11. lena cole dennis

    January 4, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Just yesterday I had a conversation with my niece about her daughter being a tomboy. How she does not like ruffles nor curls in her hair. She is nine years old. I know notice when she she is totally gussied up she looks miserable. Barely smiles. I have pictures of her from Christmas in pants and tops she choose and she was smiling and happy the entire evening. I don’t know if it’s because she was in her own home and comfortable…..I think not. I looked at past photos and she was wearing pants and top without faux-faux and again with smiles. My niece had a sour look as she was growing up, also, it bothers me now. To answer the question….yes I would allow my grandson to wear a dress. I would have to fight a family of eight brothers on a daily basis. I just don’t care anymore. I cry for young boys who can not grow up free to be! My ex husband had feminate ways. He had four sisters who did all types of girly things to him. He grew up to be an idiot who dresses well and is a nice human being.

  12. Michelle

    January 4, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    My older brother played barbie dolls with me. I would be Cher and he was Tina Turner. Obviously, growing up, he had feminine qualities. For Halloween one year, he dressed up as a girl. No one said a word because it was a costume. Being the bright person that he was, he knew that society would be cruel to him if he expressed his feelings too openly. When I was 12 and he was 17, he confided in me that he was gay. He told me that he tried for years to suppress his feelings……..to no avail. He dated young ladies while he was in high school but as soon as he went away to college he felt free to be himself. He didn’t become a cross-dresser but was openly gay…..not overtly feminine either. My family accepted him as he was and welcomed any friends that he chose to invite to our homes.

    My brother had friends, however, whose families were cruel to them and their lifestyle choices. They had to move far away from their families and live secret and agonizing lives. Always running from who they were, always feeling like lepers, never having the comfort of bring their friends home to their families. They envied what my brother had in us. Some acted out in rebellious and dangerous ways………some resorted to suicide.

    Last January, we lost our beloved brother, but I can sit at this computer and say that he died knowing that he was loved and accepted by his family, as he was. We loved him and made him feel comfortable in his skin. He shared with me many times how grateful he was that he had a family that loved, respected and accepted him and his friends.

    In the situation with the “Princess Boy,” who knows what he’s feeling or what he will grow up to be? I’m moved that his parents have accepted early in his life that he is different. I love that they are teaching him that although he is different, he is LOVED. However, if I were his parents, I wouldn’t allow him to wear dresses in public because of the potential damage to him both physically and emotionally. He’s too young to make such decisions. He’s young enough that he can be taught about how cruel society can be without shoving that cruelty in his face. At that age, parents have to be more careful and protective of our children. Parading him around on national television isn’t the answer although the book was an excellent idea.

  13. Rene Syler

    January 4, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    Michelle, that was just beautiful, thank you. I know it’s been a tough year for you, having lost your brother. But you are so right in that he led a life where there was never a question about whether he was loved or belonged. I must also applaud you because you must have been incredibly sensitive to him for him to confide in you at such a young age.
    An aside: I also was a little concerned about the TV thing with the Kilodavis family as well..

  14. consequenceofsounds

    January 4, 2011 at 11:33 pm


    Cody Williams:

    When we first put a Big Wheel down for my son to ride at 18 months he did not know what to do with it. He just sat there and looked at it. I got on and showed him what to do.
    My… point?
    We have a responsibility to show our children who and what to be instead of letting them make things up as they go. (Otherwise my daughter would want be a large plate of macaroni) What if this little boy said at age five that he felt like he needed a gun to shoot somebody? Would we discourage him?
    I’m as liberal as the next guy. I’m open and tolerant. I just don’t let my kids fill up on candy and junkfood all day either. We have to show them, and teach them how to be them with the acceptable rules of society.

    You sound the opposite of “open & tolerant”. You can try as hard as you can to force your children to be a certain way, if it’s not who they are in nature, then no amount of toy trucks and other “gender appropriate” toys will change that. A boy dressing up like a girl is nowhere near in the same ballpark as shooting someone, and you know it. One activity is illegal and causes physical harm, the other doesn’t. I can’t believe that you would make such an asinine comparison. And teaching them to be themselves only as long as it is within the “acceptable rules of society”? Really? Sounds like you’re teaching your children to be mindless conformists, rather than individuals with independent thoughts and feelings. You sound like a great father.

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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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