How to Raise a Tomboy

istockphotos.com/CherylCasey

istockphotos.com/CherylCasey

Are you raising a tomboy? Are you stressed out about the way they dress, the way they play and the way they express themselves? If you just want to know how to relate to and raise your tomboy, well then, welcome and let’s continue. Here are a few tips that will help you empower and understand your little tomboy.

1. Tomboys don’t want to be boys, they want to keep up with the boys, while being a girl.

2. Tomboys want short hair for practical reasons. When we’re out playing, a ponytail keeps falling out and our hair keeps getting in our eyes, making an already difficult task of keeping up with the boys, even harder.

3. We don’t want to be boys, we want the same opportunities and access to the fun games that boys are automatically given.

4. It’s not that dresses are horrible, but they’re not really conducive to “keeping up”.

5. Look, we still want to be girls, but in such a way that allows us to accomplish all the physical tasks that help us express ourselves.

6. Find clothes that are functional for your tomboy’s activities that still allows them to express their femininity. As an aside, this falls on clothing and toy manufacturers as well. For girls to have a functional wardrobe or play with toys branded for boys, these items have to come in colors other than pink and in cuts that allow for an active girl’s body. Sorry, but making a boy toy pink and calling it a day is not only lazy, but an outdated gender stereotype. I loathe the color pink, but mainly because of its gender bias. Sorry, I don’t want a pink football, or a pink base ball bat and kit. That’s like saying, I like sports, but it’s pink so I’m still a girl. I can like the color blue, thank you very much. My favorite color happens to be red.

7. Empower your tomboy in the way she expresses herself, through her physical attributes.

8. Look, little boys are dirty slime balls due to the nature of their play, but when it comes time to go somewhere, the are expected to clean up. No difference with a tomboy. It helps if they have a nice wardrobe that still allows them to feel comfortable in their skin, but accommodates the appropriateness of the activity. That doesn’t mean it has to be a dress and bows.

9. There will come a time when your tomboy wants to put on make-up, just to see what all of the fuss is about or because that’s how they think they can get the attention of “one of the guys”. Make sure they have this skill to reject or utilize. At the very least, let them know they can come to you if they ever want to try it out.

10. Being a tomboy may or may not be a phase and may or may not be indicative of their sexuality. I am still a tomboy at the age of 36, married to a man and have two kids. I have more skinned knees than my boys. I can still remember though a talk with my mom at the age of 16 that began, “When you meet your husband, or life partner…” While I appreciate my mom’s willingness to support me, not all tomboys will be lesbians. Saying that, I have many lesbian friends who are and were tomboys and I assure you they are wonderfully well adjusted and happy humans, assuming of course that that is what you ultimately want for your little tomboy- to be happy and well adjusted. As a mom, I can’t think of a better way to ensure such an outcome than to let them be themselves.

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