Q&A: My 4-year-old boy is obsessed with women's clothing. Is this normal?
My four-year old son has been obssessed with gloves, feet and pantyhose for as long as I can remember. (don't laugh)
This obssession leads him to become very excited when he sees those things and he insists on touching them. He always gets an immediate erection.
I tried to stop him from having to touch (without making him feel bad about his physical reaction), but to no avail. Instead, he'll do it when he thinks I'm not looking.
What should I do (if anything?) Otherwise he's an extraordinary child, always happy, sensitive, funny, well-adjusted and confident.
Thank you in advance for your response.
I wouldn’t read too much into this preschool behavior right now. It’s hard to look at a situation as an adult and not to impose adult implications on childhood behavior, but it’s often neither accurate nor fair to do so.
As children develop, they progress through normal stages, from being unaware that there is an opposite sex, to natural curiosity, to a strong identification with the same sex, to an interest in (at puberty)the opposite sex again. It is ‘normal’ for preschoolers to show an interest in the roles, identities and even clothes of the opposite gender. In other words, it’s not abnormal for boys this age to wear their sister’s clothing or to let their faces be smeared with make-up.
While your son is focusing this curiosity on somewhat unusual items, I don’t think you should see it as an ‘obsession’, as you would use that word with an adult. Let it play itself out in the context of preschool development. If, after months, his interests still seem stuck on these items or appear to be way beyond what you see and hear about other preschoolers, bring the topic up with your pediatrician.