The Son I Never Had - Feedback Friday

Angelina Jolie revealed in an interview this week that her daughter, Shiloh, "wants to be a boy". She further explains, "She likes to dress like a boy. She wants to be a boy. So we had to cut her hair. She likes to wear boys' everything. She thinks she's one of the brothers."

Jolie admitted she dresses Shiloh, 4, "like a little dude".

It's Feedback Friday and your turn to sound off -

Would you dress your 4 year old daughter as a boy if she asked?

Would you call her by a boy name?

What if the roles were reversed...and your 4 year son was asking for the same thing?


  1. Wow... that's a tough one. My first reaction would be to allow the child to express themselves however they want. But then in a boy's situation, if he wanted to dress like a girl... oye vay... "society wouldn't treat him as well"... it's a shame really that we can't just be who we want to be!

  2. ummm...no.
    boy is boy.
    girl is girl.
    I may not force her to wear dresses but I wouldn't let a boy wear dresses if he wanted to either.
    it's a phase some kids go through and yes there are tomboy girls...but I wouldn't play into it.
    I think she's setting that child up for some serious counselling.

  3. Um, I'm really at a loss here. On the one hand, you want to let your children express themselves, but on the other?????
    I certainly would not have cut all that beautiful hair off.
    I just feel sorry for all of her kids, because she is gonna screw them up as badly as she is.
    (Is that judging? Or just the truth?)
    I frankly don't know what I'd do except pray that God would give me the answers and the grace to deal with it effectively according to His plan.
    Wow, that is really some food for thought.....
    Have a great 4th of July weekend.

  4. I'm not a fan of judging other's parenting styles, that's a can of worms! but, re: would I do it? I guess I might, unlikely, but surely it depends on a lot of things like do they understand what they are really saying, would they be bullied, etc etc... Hope I never have to make that decision!

  5. If she wants to wear pants instead of dresses and cut her hair, then, ok. I wouldn't call her by a boy name though. I wouldn't let my daughter cut her hair that short either, my limit is chin length. I think it's fine to let her play pretend sometimes and dress/act like she's a boy, but not all the time, I don't see how that could be good.

  6. Wow, that is a really hard question to answer. My daughter is very girly and wants to wear dresses every day so I let her. My niece was a total tom boy and wanted nothing but jeans and tshirts so we let her dress that way.

    I know that Bud loves his big sister and wants to be like her all the time. I guess I would have to wonder if she is just wanting to dress like a boy because that is what her brothers do or if there is some other reason.

    That's a pretty tough call.

  7. When I have kids...

    If my girl is a tomboy, that's fine, she can wear what she wants but I wouldn't cut her hair.

    If my son wants to wear dresses (ok, maybe I'd be a bit happy since I always half-joke that I want a gay son) but no, I wouldn't let him wear dresses. I would let him wear pink shirts.

    I hope when I'm a mom I let my kids be themselves instead of forcing them into being what I want them to be.

  8. Good grief! Why would she make that public knowledge?!? How old is the kid--4 or 5? What happens 10 years from now if this was just a phase---this will be stuck to her forever. Seriously, I could care less if she cuts her daughter's hair and calls her by a boy name---shoot, for months my middle son would only respond if we called him BuzzCorey and he secretly wore buzz lightyear pjs under his clothes! What I do care about is that this is a little kid, leave them out of your publicity stunts and interviews.

  9. What a juicy topic! First, WOW. Look at those two pictures of Shiloh. My jaw dropped.

    Would I dress her as a boy? Not really. I wouldn't ever make her wear a dress, but she wouldn't be shopping in the boys section either. She could wear pants every day and stay away from girlie colors, but that's the limit.

    Call her a boy name? Never. No way. They'll be called by their name or one nickname...but we don't really get a say in what we're called. I wouldn't let them choose a new girl name either.

    If it was my son asking? The answers are the same. Although for boys, it's still not socially acceptable for him to put on a skirt, now is it- even though women have more choices in this area? Which is interesting to consider...

  10. My son went through a phase where he wanted to be a girl. I never encouraged it. we talked about the way he was made, bu Gods design, and how there were things he could dot hat girls couldn't- heck He can [ee ona tree standing up! I CAN'T! I realized that he loved the way i could accessorize my outfits- he said thats why he wanted to be a girl, so he could wear cool jewlery, too. So- we went out and I showed him some awesome guys jewelry. The phase ended quickly, and we spent about $20 bucks on mens jewelry. We also spent alot of time reading Psalm 139, and toalke dabout how God does not make mistakes, and he was fearfully and wonderfully made, as hewas, a boy, to be a man one day.
    Theres my story... at this age its easier, older- Oye vay! God give me grace!

  11. I cut my 3 yr. old daughter's hair short because she asks and doesn't want to take care of longer hair. My 6 yr. old son wears pink every day and I buy him shorts and t-shirts from the girls section of the store because he likes them better. He has been this way since he was 3. Gender identification is fluid and covers a wide spectrum. Sexuality is not in play at this age. I let my kids be who they are. I don't let my son wear clothes that will be distracting to the setting. For example, he doesn't wear dresses to school. We have our own personal uniform for school... polo shirts, usually pink, and plain jeans or shorts. Other times he pretty much wears "girls" clothes. That my son likes pink and sparkles and loves sewing colorful buttons on his clothes does no harm to anyone, least of all to himself. I am constantly amazed at the folks, big and small, who are so offended by his presence. Why does it offend others to see a boy in pink or with a t-shirt that has a butterfly, rainbow or heart on it?

  12. I WAS that girl! I would kick and scream and pout for days when forced to wear a dress. I wore my brother's hand-me-downs. I had my hair cut short (but that was my mother's choice, not mine. I was no good at taking care of my hair, and Mom didn't have time. So, off with her hair!) My mother forced me to pierce my ears just to show people that I WAS a girl (this is in the days before boys had pierced ears!) I hung out with boys, climbed trees, played with trucks and guns. I was a tomboy through and through. Today I'm still very much a tomboy, but also embrace my feminine side. I love dresses and high-heels, but I still love playing with the boys!

  13. Oneblessedmomma...I loved your post! When my son was little he wanted to wear make-up and fingernail polish b/c that is what he saw me do. My husband works at night and gets ready for work after the kids are in bed. My son never got to see his Dad shave. I think Shiloh is just wanting to do the things her brothers are doing b/c they are who she looks up to. I think this is a natural thing...don't we want to emulate those that we look up to? Encouraging her by cutting her hair and calling her a "boy" name is much farther than I would go, but she is not my child.

  14. What a heartbreaker this is, and you can't just say it's Hollywood being crazy - after all, the little girl isn't an actress. Maybe it's pretend or play. I hope so! It's better to encourage your child to embrace who they really are and show them the wonders of that. How else are you going to feed a healthy self image? When she's much older, THEN if she's not happy with being a girl, she can make her own mind up to make whatever change she wants.

  15. Um, No. At four, kids have no idea what they really need or want. For goodness sake, a four year old would dress like an elephant all the time if that was their fascination.
    Ridiculous! I'm not saying that girls can not have "boyish interests" or vice versa, but seriously. How about some moderation, people.

  16. Wow. I think if I had a little girl & she didn't like to wear girly clothes I'd go the plain t-shirt & jeans route. If her hair would be easier to take care of short...the heck ya I'd cut it. I wouldn't change her name though. Of course she wants to do & act like the other kids..that's who she's around all the time. I let my kids dress themselves even though it kills me sometimes :) Certainly there are times when mom's decision is final. If I had a girl there would be a line just like there is a line with my boys but I try not to influence them too much. Kids are great...aren't they :) Happy 4th !!

  17. I think I would argue that you are "setting them up for counseling" just as much if you force a child to express themselves the way YOU want them to, rather than the way they feel most comfortable.

    I was a major tomboy and wanted to be just like my big brother, playing football and gi-joes and wrestling... and I turned out just fine! (i think... :) )

    What are we afraid of with her allowing Shiloh to dress in a more "boyish" way?

  18. When I was growing up, that short hair cut was called a "pixie", and my sister had one. I don't see what the big deal is here. I have both a daughter and a son, and both of mine when through stages when then wanted to dress a certain way. It was just a phase that they grew out of. Why not let Shiloh be Shiloh?

  19. NOPE. Either way.

    No one says she (or any girl) has to wear dresses or have hair long enough to put in ponytail. However, Besides a t-shirt or something here or there, I won't be buying my daughter clothes from the boys dept. (I am not saying they do for Shilo). Whatever about the hair, personally, I would do a more feminine short hair cut ~ maybe more of a layered pixi, or cute bob and a different name. NEVER.

    AND nope, I won't be purchasing dresses or skirts for my son.

    Happy 4th Jen!

  20. I see no problem with her statement. She is just sharing her mom stuff. I think she is way past caring about how it is perceived. Win some, lose some.

    But her daughter sounds like a typical little kid. They have phases and guiding them through it in a loving way is better than defining your box and pushing them into it. I want my kid to know I will love them unconditionally but I have conditions they need to live by. But I pick my battles. Go ahead and wear your shoes on the wrong feet, but you can't smoke the marijuana. Ya know what I mean.

  21. It sounds to me like the poor kid just wanted to be like her brothers, and her lunatic of a mother blew it way out of proportion instead of properly explaining that God didn't MAKE her a boy, He made her a girl. She just set that poor little innocent 4 year old up for many many counseling sessions! How embarrassing that the mom made it known to everyone... what's going to go through the girl's mind when she's 16 and it's out there that she was treated like a boy when she was 4? How awful... instead of dealing with the issue, it seems they took the lazy parenting approach.

  22. I've seen these kids on Oprah and stuff. Some parents take it to far in my opinion. If a kid likes a certain kind of clothes, fine. If they want short hair and to be called Bob, fine. Full makeup for a 4-year-old boy would not be cool with me. Dresses would not be okay for me with a boy. Unfortunately it's just easier having a girl. Girls can be whatever they want to be. And honestly, anyone that thought Angelina Jolie wasn't going to mess up her kid was off their rocker.

  23. I would take that kid away from her unfit mother.

  24. Wow! I'm shocked..not at the fact that little Shiloh likes to act and dress like a boy (no big deal people)..see this link:
    I'm very shocked by the cruel negative comments about Angelina as a mother.
    @Shelley..screwed up ...really? And yes, that IS called 'judging'. What do you really know about her except what we have read in rag mags? I found that a very unchristian thing to say about another person.
    @nfmgirl...Right on...you rock and I would be proud to know you as a friend.
    @Kim...A lunatic...again, I assume you have first hand knowledge of her lunacy. I agree..only a lunatic would donate millions of dollars every year to multiple charities without a political agenda...pure lunacy. Also the lazy parenting comment...you have personally witnessed this..right??? I thought not.
    @Lani...Unfit mother? Angelina loves her children, is teaching them to be aware of the world, provides an education, food and shelter. How is she an unfit mother????? Different parenting style is not considered basis for an unfit tag ..not in my book.

    Kudos to the many open minded and non judgmental comments made here. Sorry Jennifer...I could not restrain myself after reading some of the comments and will understand if you choose not to post mine...I still love ya!!

    PS...one more thing...Angelina never said she was calling Shiloh by a boys name...that was a question Jen put forth.

    Janet xox

  25. Rock on, Janet. I am not an Angelina Jolie fan in the slightest; I have a really hard time tolerating her; but in this particular instance, I see nothing wrong, in the long run. I am shocked at the negative comments, esp since there are other comments expressing that they went through the exact same thing themselves as a child. If I were one of them, and read comments that people thought my mother was a lunatic and unfit mother because she let me be a boy for a period when I was little, I would be really hurt. Shame on you.

    And to the idea that Shiloh would be humiliated when she was 16 that she went through a "boy" phase? Really? Who here is tragically scarred and requiring many, many counseling sessions, because of some goofy phase they went through as a kid? I think most of us laugh and go OMG when told of some weird thing we were into when we were the grand old of four.

    And for the record, no. I didn't let my boy wear inappropriate clothes. And I didn't let my girl wear inappropriate clothes. I didn't squash, though..I gently guided to more appropriate choices (ok, sometimes it was a little less than gentle when forcing dd to wear pants when we were going to be out in the cold for hours, and we couldn't afford to get sick. :p )

  26. Oh for goodness sake -- what does it matter what this little girl is wearing?
    For my daughter, and any other child I hope to have, I hope I can be open-minded and supportive as they figure out their place in the World. As far as my daughter's attire, my priorities are that she be clean and covered appropriately. Right now I get to choose her clothes and I love it! But when she is ready to choose her own, the same guidelines of clean and covered will apply. The style and colors just don't matter.

    My priorities are how my chiold behaves. That she is respectful, polite, does her best and is nice. I hope the values I instill in my children are about the kind of people they will be, that their actions towards other really matter, not their haircut or choice of shoes.

  27. What a great post and discussion. Like was echoed above, as a parent, you want your child to develop their own personality and express themselves. But there's a line there. I will admit to pushing my daughter a few times to play with dolls when she saw a young boy her age playing with trucks and asked for some. But that kind of stuff is harmless when they're so young. They themselves learn what's "boy" stuff vs. "girl" stuff vs. neutral stuff.

    So now, I wouldn't cut her hair and let her dress like a boy. I think Angelina is making a huge mistake.

  28. My daughter is 5, and is named Mackenzie, but we've called her "Max" since the day she was born. She's an amazing little kid ~ so bright, creative, and self-motivated. She, like Shiloh, prefers to wear her hair short (although I cut it in a slightly feminine A-line short bob) and wear boys clothes. She has an amazing sense of style and the confidence that goes with it. She can put together an outfit, complete with accesories better than most women my age. It seems to be, for her, an issue of style, and comes from a deep place of knowing what she wants and what she's all about. I'm really proud of her. I have two friends whose boys liked to wear skirts and dress up in princess dresses in preschool. We live in a pretty liberal, easy-going area, so the parents let the boys go with it. Both boys are now in elementary school and are "all boy". They wear boy clothes and are really great kids. I'm really impressed with the way their parents handled their preschool fashion whimsies. They didn't shame the boys, or make them feel like their fashion experimentation was bad or taboo. As a result, the phase passed quietly and quickly without emotional damage. Jenn

  29. No. I don't plan on letting my children do a lot of things they want to do. I'm old fashioned like that. I think this is an overly indulgent nation and this is only a small example of the way we placate our children.

    However, I am not overly critical of how others choose to raise their children if they are loving parents and it's obvious that Jolie loves her children. It's hard to be disparaging of parents when you've worked for charities that help abused children.

  30. Of course, i'd let my kids dress the way they please. Why not? In my honest opinion, oppression of one's desire for self expression only leads to self hate and personal pain.
    For a child to feel accepted in any way shape or form, will help the child gain confidence and a balance soul. Its a pity that our culture are so focused on the outer appearance that we forget that we are spirit first and our physical body are just housing our soul.
    I think what we are missing here is raising our future generation to ACCEPT all forms of being Human: gay, straight, cross dressing, transgenders - to LOVE one another without judgment.
    i once read this quote:
    "We are all spiritual beings having a human experience" - and once that click in the psyche - everything else became secondary as far as material and physical state.
    So once again, YES, i would let a boy dress anyway he pleases and any gender he choose to be - becs that is where his soul feels comfortable so let it be.


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