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Dr. Keane
Dr. Keane, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1696
Experience:  Parenting Workshops, Teacher, PHD Clinical Psychology, 30 yrs. Exp. 4 Children
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My Husband is the housewife and he stays at home and watches

Customer Question

My Husband is the "housewife" and he stays at home and watches our Son, does the housework, and just occasionally does odd jobs here and there to help out with finances sometimes. He typically wears male clothes but occasionally wears women clothes, most likely as some type of Fetish or other reason, and I don't mind personally but I am wondering if it can be harmful to my Son for him to witness this?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Dr. Keane replied 4 years ago.
Hi,

It can be harmful in that it may confuse him. Gender Identity formation requires that the child understands that there are men and there are women and that he is a male and will form an identity with his father. If his father is cross dressing he is giving his son cues that he would like to be a girl (in his son's mind, even if he doens't and just likes to cross dress). The child will not be able to develop a healthy masculine identity. So, who is he forming his gender identity with , his father who is dressed as his mother or his father when he is dressed like a dad. I would suggest you keep the cross dressing away from him as a young child.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Is there ever an age where it would be less conufsing and possible to present to him in a way that allows him to develop healthy while allowing the father to be himself?
Expert:  Dr. Keane replied 4 years ago.
Hi,

Healthy development depends on identifying with the same sex, and if Dad is cross dressing it is way too confusing. You son needs a father and a mother with clearly defined sex roles. Once you decided to become a parent you took on the responsiblity of seeing to it that your child's healthy development takes precedence and you are role models as parents. Do you decide that you want him to witness this side of Dad now or should you wait until his own gender identity is firmly established (usually by age 5-7). The problem with a lot of this is that if you let him know too soon, you are confusing his own development of sexual identity. If you tell him at latency age (age of "reason") you will be telling him that cross dressing is okay and normal (which for you it might be) but then he will wonder why it has been hidden, and it will have an effect on his acceptance of your behavior, confuse him more or cause him embarassment. So would it be better to wait until he discovers the big sized ladies shoes on his own? Or will he have memories somewhere in his mind from seeing Dad dressed as Mom as he does now? Very complicated when it comes to developmental issues. So to answer your question directly there is no age when it is possible to present it to him that will guarantee that his future development will be healthy. I wish I had a simple answer for you, but it's not a simple issue.
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Dr. Keane, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1696
Experience: Parenting Workshops, Teacher, PHD Clinical Psychology, 30 yrs. Exp. 4 Children
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