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Ask Dr. Ed Wilfong Your Own Question
Dr. Ed Wilfong
Dr. Ed Wilfong, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1528
Experience:  Twenty-five years treating all ages; Specialities: psychopharmacology & diagnosis, MMPI-2, testing.
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My son just turned 5 years old and for at least the last few

Customer Question

My son just turned 5 years old and for at least the last few years he's wanted to be a girl, play with girl toys, videos, and put things on head to have long hair like a girl. He is genetically male with no other genetic disorders or signs of anatomical problems. He does not want to cut off or despise his penis. He actually plays with it like other boys but he only likes to sit when he urinates. He is very rough, active and has typical boy energyl. He plays with boys and girls both but likes to play dolls by himself or with the girls the most. He doesn't like any outdoor sports or activities. He is in Pre-K and other kids already single him out as different. He says he doesn't care what they say. He just likes girls stuff. Soemtimes he says because the colors are brighter but he usually says he doesn't know why. I really worry about his self esteem as time goes on and whether his Dad and I should let him be who he is, or try and direct his behavior gentley towards being congruent.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Ed Wilfong replied 7 years ago.
My first observation is that you cannot keep him from turning out how he will, regardless how much to try to shape it. all you can do is make it more confusing and more damaging. Secondly, at this age, just let him explore. Peers don't seem to hurt his esteem. Don't you hurt it either. At such a young age I can't imagine any competent professional "labeling" him, but professionals aren't always understanding. Give him some time. Love him. It'll go how it goes.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I am really not satisfied with such a generic answer, but I understand that this is an online consult. I have never done this before and I saw the website and as a frustrated mother I bit the bullet and went for it anyway. I am more distressed over this situation of dealing with my son than he is, I think, so I will seek counseling for myself. I failed to mention that he is adopted from birth but he does not know yet because he is still very immature. I have attempted to get him to understand about where baby's come from etc. but his attention span is short. He knows that his baby sister is adopted as well and lots of his friends, so I hope this issue doesn't make the gender identity worse. I guess we will see.

Expert:  Dr. Ed Wilfong replied 7 years ago.
It is hard to be as specific as a personal consult. I appreciate your understanding. Sorry you are disappointed. we do our best, ***** ***** we are told. Sometimes things like adoption are more important than you may think to put in initial information.
Ultimately, I think some counseling for you may help and I hope I was part of getting you to that conclusion.
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