Home > Kids > Childhood Development > Social and Emotional Development > Gender Differences > Preschoolers Who Role Play the Opposite Gender
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Preschoolers Who Role Play the Opposite Gender

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: Our childcare provider told my daughter, who is three-and-a-half, that she isn't allowed to play the role of "daddy" in the dramatic play center. She says that research shows that children of this age can have potential gender confusion. As an educator, I disagree. The caretaker isn't insisting that the children assume certain gender-specific "duties," but she doesn't want them pretending to be the opposite sex. If I'm off target, please let me know.

A: There is no research concluding that kids who try on opposite gender roles in dramatic play are prone to gender confusion. If anything, young kids benefit from play-acting the roles of their opposite gender parents and caretakers. Assuming such roles contributes to their social development, while allowing them to explore and experiment with a variety of adult roles. Androgynous play is also a character trait of resourceful and resilient children.

You will have to decide whether your childcare provider's insistence on forbidding your child to play opposite gender roles in dramatic play is cause enough to seek other care for her. I wonder what other early childhood development tenets she adheres to and whether, upon further discussions with her, you might find her overall child development philosophy to be potentially unhealthy for your little girl. Perhaps you should explore her philosophy in detail with her before you make a decision as to whether to retain her as your childcare provider.

More on: Expert Advice

Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit BICFightForYourWrite.com to sign our petition to save handwriting!

7 Fun Driveway and Sidewalk Games for Kids
Looking for classic outdoor games kids can play in the driveway or on the sidewalk, just like the good ol' days? From hopscotch to bubble-blowing contests, there's something for all ages!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Best Sun Safety Practices for Babies
Follow these sun safety practices for babies to ensure your little one stays safe on the beach and on sunny days all year long.