'My 5-Year-Old Son Prefers Girls' Clothing and Toys'

12/13/2002
Robby's 5-year-old son loves to play with Barbies and prefers wearing girl's clothes. She asks Dr. Phil how to deal with this behavior, which she doesn't think is normal.

"There are developmental stages in kids and it is not unusual, particularly for young boys, to experiment and get stuck on certain stimulus items," says Dr. Phil. Particularly because the little boy has two older sisters, he says, it's not unusual.

"This is not a precursor to your son being gay," explains Dr. Phil. He'll know that in time, but this is not an indication of his sexual orientation.

Dr. Phil tells Robby that she has a job to do: "Direct your son in an unconfusing way. Don't buy him Barbie dolls or girl's clothes. You don't want to do things that seem to support the confusion at this stage of the game ... Take the girl things away, and buy him boy toys."

Most importantly, he tells Robby, "Support him in what he's doing, but not in the girl things."

"And if your son is gay," Dr. Phil continues, "he'll learn that when he passes puberty and gets into a lifestyle and determines what his orientation is, and his lifestyle will flow from that. It won't be a choice; it will be something that he's pre-wired to do, and he'll know that in plenty of time if he's an adult. But you shouldn't take this as an indication of that at this
point."