Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Is this the worst parenting advice?

I don't even know where to start, this advice is so awful. The normally reasonable Dr Tanya Byron has effectively medicalised a nine-year old girl for wanting to be a tomboy. This is the article.


The mother is complaining that her nine year old, who in all other ways is 'normal' only wants to wear 'boys clothes'. And Dr T.B., instead of saying:

'Yes, this is quite normal for many, many, many girls. And they do not
grow up to be warped, hated individuals, they are simply girls who find they
can climb, play football better, run, cavort, do roly-polys better without a
skirt made of tulle and a push up bra specially designed for tweens.
They have not entered that world yet where they will be judged mainly on their
appearance, and long may she stay a child and unjudged a while longer.'

Instead, she adds fuel to the poor, overanalysing mothers fire and throws out comments about sexuality, 'tactile defensiveness' and essentially labelling this child to be abnormal.

Now, I don't know about you, but I was a 'tomboy'. I don't think I wore any other colour apart from navy blue until I was about 13. My hair was a rather unfortunate bowl haircut, and I hated to go to the hairdresser to be girliefied. Both my sisters were 'girlie girls'. I don't think I had a gender problem, I just wanted to climb trees. I didn't have 'touch sensitivity' I just hated the hairdresser. I didn't have any abnormality, I just HATED shopping with a passion only rivalled my passion for ponies.

My mum didn't make a big deal of it. As long as I was clean, that was fine. Bless her.

At age 13 a man in a shop called me 'sonny'. And that was the end of my tomboy days. I slowly accepted prettier clothes, and hairstyles, modelling myself on Susannah Hoff from the Bangles.

We analyse too much what little girls are up to. Too boyish in blue, too girlish in pink. I just hope Dr Tanya Byron has not given this mother free reign to try and squash her daughters free spirit.

Todays spend: $10 for magazines. Had a long wait at the dentists, and knew I didn't want to read 7 year old Readers Digests.


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  2. Uh, I was a tomboy and looked like a boy until I was about 12 or 13 with the haircut to go with it. I lived on a farm and beside an orchard, imagine all the fun I would have missed if I had little dresses and plaits to look after!! I turned out ok too, married, 3 kids etc. Couldn't read that article, probably would only have made me cross anyway! I agree with YOU :) Jen

  3. I was a tomboy (with the bowl haircut) and happily climbed trees until the next door neighbours took to shooting the sparrows out of the tree I happened to be perched in.
    In our backyard.
    Trees were off limits after that.

  4. Ah, we bowl haircutted ones must stick together.
    Love the idea of the shooting sparrows thing. Hmm...