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Is my daughter's behaviour normal?

Q: My 5 years old daughter is not comfortable in frock or gowns and prefers to wear only pants. She does not like to keep earrings, bangles and not even a bindi. The strange thing is that she always keeps on saying that she is a boy and is elder brother to our newborn son. At first we took it as a joke, but now I am worried. She watches cartoons a lot. Is it normal?

A:Your daughter's behaviour is not something to be alarmed about. She will outgrow it.

However, since she has recently had a male sibling (the new baby) about whom much fuss is made and presents given etc, it is possible that she thinks that being a boy is special. In India, we tend to have a special celebration for a son's arrival. Also visitors may, thoughtlessly, emphasize how nice it is that you have a boy now. This may affect the way she thinks of herself. It is not necessary that she be wearing bangles and bindi, but it would be nice if she wants to grow up to be like her mother.

There is a lot of sexism in the ads and the programmes on TV. Maybe she is impressed by Batman or one of the daring men!

We cannot run away from reality, only learn to handle it. Most children's clothes are unisex, so it is ok if she wears pants and shirts. But you should talk to her when you are playing together and find out why she prefers to be a boy. Over the next few months, you could help her to accept being a girl. But this should be gradual and non-judgmental. After a year, if she has not changed, you could talk to a counsellor.

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