Some kids feel like a boy or a girl from their birth on. Others are forced into a gender by the way they have been brought up. But some show signs of being rather gender neutral and gender fluid from a very early age on. And of course, it is every parent's decision how they will go about this, but the only right thing to do is to accept and encourage their child no matter what.
The best way to give a gender fluid child a comfortable and loving environment they can grow up in is to make sure one understands the signs of being gender fluid. So in order to help parents who have no clue where to start, we have assembled a list of things moms can pay attention to and could mean that their kid might be gender fluid. Often the parents will already know because the child will point it out themselves. At the end of the day, their child's happiness and mental health should be every parent's priority which is why accepting a child's gender neutrality is the right thing to do.
Now here they are, 20 signs a child might be gender fluid:
20 They Refuse To Only Play With Boy/Girl Toys
A lot of kids enjoy playing either with dolls or cars, depending on their gender, but some kids love playing with the toys designated for the opposite gender as well. And some like playing only with toys meant for the opposite gender. Of course, just because a kid is playing with different toys doesn't mean they are gender-fluid, but it is a fact that gender fluid children like to explore more with their toys and cross society's boundaries in that way. And why would a child be limited to only dolls or car toys anyways? Toys are fun, regardless of what gender they're meant for.
19 They Identify With Male And Female Characters
Another common thing for gender fluid children is that they don't see gender-boundaries when it comes to their role models and heroes. And that means that a boy's favorite Disney character can be Belle and a girl's favorite superhero can be a Hulk. Gender fluid children don't think inside that box of their role model having to be of their gender, which allows them to actually focus on their hero's personality traits and more important things that go beyond physical looks. And having a child think that way is in absolutely no way wrong, in fact, it should always be encouraged.
18 They Have Close Friends Of Both Genders
Rather more often than not are children inclined to find their best friend in a child of their same gender. But same as with their heroes and role models, gender fluid children tend to absolutely not care what gender their friends are - they care about their personalities first. Gender fluid kids look at friends in a very unique and individual way, and gender is something they completely neglect when it comes to choosing who they want to spend time with. And at the end of the day, isn't that much better than having to choose your bestie based on their gender?
17 They Look For Other Gender-Fluid Children
One thing that is evident is that gender fluid kids love to hang out with other children who are also couldn't care less about gender and the society's imposed gender-stereotypes. This makes perfect sense as they perceive the world in a similar way and can easily bond over their views and experiences. And having someone who you can share your thoughts and opinions with and having them completely agree with you is quite important, which is why it's of no surprise that gender fluid children gravitate towards other gender fluid kids. And sometimes the children aren't necessarily even aware that they are both gender fluid.
16 They Feel Comfortable Experimenting
Not to say that non-gender-fluid children don't like to experiment, but it is quite common that gender fluid kids feel more comfortable experimenting, especially when it comes to their own looks. They enjoy switching their hair up, changing clothes and in general trying out new and fun things. There is something freeing about feeling like you don't need to oblige to society's gender norms that allows these children to feel more freedom in all aspects of life. Gender fluid or not, there's certainly a lot of things grown-ups can actually learn from gender fluid children and how they live their lives.
15 They Don't Like Taking Part In Gendered Activities
Gendered activities are the worst thing gender fluid kids can be forced into, and if your little girl doesn't enjoy princess parties, and your little boy isn't a fan of racing children cars, please do not force them to participate in those kinds of activities. Let your children choose what they like to do, and if it is a gendered activity that is okay, but if it isn't let them be themselves. No child ever grew up happy when they were forced to do things for fun that they actually didn't enjoy at all, so please don't be that parent.
14 They Love Gender-Neutral Things
Gender neutral activities, on the other hand, are their absolute comfort zone. Any board games everyone can play or sports activities that include boys as well as girls are what gender-neutral kids love to do. To them that is what fun activities are all about, doing things with each other without giving any regards to one's gender. And honestly, let's face it, your gender should never define what activities you can and cannot do, and once again, gender fluid kids show the rest of the world what life should actually be about: doing things together. Which is why parents should always encourage this kind of thinking.
13 They Dislike Gendered Stereotypes
Gender fluid kids don't like gender stereotypes. Some girls might like the idea of becoming a model or hairdresser when they grow up, but other, rather gender fluid, girls wouldn't. Gender fluid kids don't like society (or their parents) telling them they can't play with toys meant for the other gender, they must dress a certain way, behave a certain way and grow up to be someone based on their gender. Gender fluid kids don't see why a girl wouldn't be able to be an astronaut or a boy a makeup guru. To them, gender stereotypes are ridiculous and stupid.
12 They Are Uncomfortable At School
However, we have to face the fact that our society is still full of gender stereotypes and as much as we like to think we have progressed there still a whole lot more to go. Which is exactly why gender fluid kids might feel uncomfortable in school, as that is a place cliques can often form - specifically based on gender, and it is a place where they have to choose between the girls and boys bathroom, again making them feel like something they don't identify with. And kids who are very gender-typical can be quite mean and not understanding when it comes to one's gender fluidity.
11 They Question Social Norms All The Time
Gender fluid children are more suspicious in general, and not just when it comes to society's norms of gender. Gender fluid kids also question all other aspects of our society, of the way we live our lives and what is good and bad. Gender fluid children also tend to be more open-minded about their own orientation, as well as more aware of other issues the world faces such as consumerism, environmentalism, and social systems. Especially in their teens, gender fluid kids start looking at a world we are so used to in a new light where they question all of our actions and decisions.
10 They Feel Uncomfortable In Gender Specific Clothing
Gender-specific clothing is a gender fluid kid's absolute nightmare. It's a constriction they don't feel comfortable experiencing, and they really shouldn't. Why is it necessary for all the dresses to be in the girl's section, and all the blue sweatshirts in the boy's? Gender fluid kids can find things they like in both sections of the store, and parents should let them. Besides, just because an article of clothing was initially meant for just boys or girls does this in no way mean that it can only be worn by one gender. Kids can get creative with fashion, and gender fluid children are no different.
9 They Don't Like Their Name
Some gender fluid kids grow up not really liking their name or feeling comfortable being called by it. Which is why they often request to be called by their nickname or some completely different name they feel more comfortable with. And if that is the case parents should be okay with that. If a girl wants to be called James instead of Jennifer, the parents should respect it and who knows, it may be just a phase or it may turn out they want to legally change their name later on - but either way, a parents support should not be missing.
8 They Don't Like Being Called Boy Or Girl
Gender fluid kids tend not to like it when someone refers to them as a boy or a girl, assuming their gender just based on their physical looks. Gender fluid kids don't accept the society's notion that gender is a necessity, which is why they often even want people to use the pronoun they instead of he or she. Respecting a need like this a gender fluid child might have meant being a good parent to them and making other close family members and friends understand this is also a part of a parent's job. Besides, they still have their own names, so there is really no need to call them a boy or girl.
7 They Want Their Personality To Define Them
When it comes to gender fluid children, it is all about personality. That is all they care about and all they let define them, and gender is definitely not a part of it. And when it comes to them seeking acceptance, all they really want is for one to focus on who they really are, not what their outside looks like. And personality is exactly what they look at when choosing the people whom they surround themselves with - which is something we can all learn a thing or two from. Gender fluid also means focusing on the more important aspects of a person.
6 They Think Outside Of The Box
If there's one thing that gender fluid kids are really good at it is thinking outside the box. And this is applicable to every segment of their life, not just gender norms. Gender fluid kids tend to also be more creative as they don't limit their minds in the way other kids who have been brought up traditionally do. And we can all agree that thinking outside of the box is a great trait and skill to have, and it is something that will definitely prove as very helpful throughout their life. Encouraging this is something parents should always do!
5 They Often Feel Misunderstood
Gender fluid kids, if they're not lucky to have a super understanding and open-minded family, can often go through a lot of hard times. They can feel unloved and completely misunderstood, and it is not so uncommon that they also feel like the family is incredibly embarrassed by them. The worst part of it is that parents often don't even notice how misunderstood and unhappy their gender fluid child is because they simply refuse to accept their nature and they hope the more they ignore it the sooner their child will go "back to normal" and fit into society's standards again.
4 They Think Gender Is Stupid And Unnecessary
Gender fluid kids just do not understand why we make such a big fuss about genders, and why we find gender so necessary. They could be completely happy in a genderless world, and they don't see why we feel the need to point out all these differences amongst us. To them, the disadvantages of having a gender-based society outweigh the benefits of it, and they just don't seem to understand why we give gender so much attention. Frankly, they are not completely wrong, of course, gender is and always will be a part of our world, but not everything needs to be gender-based, and often it is.
3 They Don't Like It When People Assume It's A Phase
Yeah yeah, kids tend to go through many phases, but parents (and other family members) should never assume that whatever the child is going through must be just a phase. A child deserves to be taken seriously and they deserve parents who accept them together with what they are going through and how they feel, regardless of whether it turns out to be a phase or not. And honestly, more often than not does it turn out that the child is actually gender fluid and it was not just a phase, which is why accepting it from the beginning is way better parenting.
2 They Are Anxious In Social Situations
Social situations, especially those with strangers who might think they are weird and don't fit in can be a nightmare for gender fluid kids. Sometimes it's hard enough to get your friends and family to understand and accept you, but strangers usually lead to awkward social situations, and those can cause the gender fluid kid a lot of anxiety. Which is why it isn't so uncommon that a gender fluid kid tries to avoid social situations, and wants to only stick to hanging out with people they know and feel comfortable with. Helping them deal with this is by talking to them and encouraging them is what parents should do.
1 They Just Want To Be Accepted For Who They Are
Being gender fluid is in no way easy though. Especially not if the child's surroundings and their family aren't too accepting or understanding. This can make a gender fluid kid's childhood a nightmare for them, as all they really want is to be accepted and fit in in their own way. But of course, it is very common for parents to continue living in denial and not accept their child's needs and wants which is definitely an example of bad parenting. If that is the case, the best way to reach a stage of acceptance and understanding is to talk a lot with each other and express their feelings.