My 3-year-old son's favourite toy is a Barbie doll. Is it okay for him to play with that?
Yes, Jenny, it is okay for your son to play with a Barbie® doll. I can understand your concern, however, because children as young as 3 years old can show that they are having problems settling down and being a boy or a girl. However, psychologists generally do not feel there is a problem with sexual identity unless we see a child taking a great deal of interest in things of the opposite sex. For example, if your son was fascinated with your shoes, jewelry and make-up, rejected boy toys, and wanted to wear your nightgown, then I would say he most likely had a problem. But chances are your son is normal and is just enjoying his Barbie doll.
When young children are persistent in playing with toys and objects normally associated with the opposite sex and seem to reject their own sex, it is wise to consult a child psychologist who has experience with gender identity problems. Your pediatrician or your local children’s hospital should be able to help you locate the professional you need.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.