GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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May 10, 2013

Choice of toys is cause for family's concern

:Dear Abby: I am a longtime reader but a first-time writer. My problem has been bothering me for some time now.

We have a grandson who is 4 and very much a “princess boy.” He likes girl toys and dresses and doesn’t like any of his boy toys. We’re at a loss about how to handle this.

He’s an adorable little boy and we love him to pieces. His parents don’t accept this behavior, and I’m afraid it will affect him now and in the future. How would you handle this? We don’t say anything to his parents because they are pretty much in denial.

:Worried Grandma

:Dear Worried: If he were my grandchild I’d talk with the parents. I, too, am concerned about how their attitude will affect the child in the future, because parents are supposed to love and accept children the way they are, and sexual orientation is inborn. Children who feel consistent disapproval grow up thinking they aren’t good enough and don’t measure up — which can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I would “handle this” by making sure my grandson knew I loved, accepted and valued him just the way he is. If that means allowing him to play with the toys of his choice in my home, that’s what I’d do. And if he showed more interest in art, music and dance and less interest in sports, trucks, etc., I’d support that, too.

I’m glad you asked this question. Your grandson may or may not grow up to be gay or transgender, which is what I think your letter is really about. Regardless of what his orientation is, it’s very important that he knows he is valued for who he is.

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