(I got my son’s approval prior to sharing this)
I was recently reminded of a struggle I went through in the past as a father. My daughter was born first and then 2 years later I had a son. My daughter was one who always wanted to wear dresses, play barbies, and with dolls. She had no boy at all in her. She was a girly girl. My son came a long and completely looked up to her. Everything she did was awesome. He would play with her, wear dresses with her around the house, and do anything she did. My son would ask for barbies and dolls for Christmas rather than GI Joes or footballs. I struggled with that as a father. We would go places and people would always make comments about how pretty his Barbie was he was playing with. We would deal with all the sarcastic comments towards him, everyone telling him that he needed to be playing with action figures and not dolls. (He asked me also if I do write this, to ask those who make fun of him to stop; he still gets teased about this). It was and has been very hard on him as well. He even got that a lot from me and my wife. We thought it was a phase he would grow out of. We discouraged it and got nowhere.
As he grew older I had a sit down talk with him that it was time to get rid of all the dolls and barbies. I asked him to pray to God about if he should play with those toys or not. God told him to ask me to pray about it. So I did, I got alone with God and prayed. God clearly told me to accept him for who he is and not to make any more comments and to stand up for him even if he was playing with dolls. So I did just that, I stopped making the comments, stopped giving him the looks and accepted him for who he is.
Quickly after we accepted him playing with the dolls and barbies, he began to lack interest in them. He began to start liking to play with other toys and not the dolls. My relationship with him grew even stronger and stronger.
Sometimes we try to fit our kids in a box that society wants to have them in. Today I want to encourage those parents to accept your children for who they are. Affirm them with words, encourage them, tell them how you unconditionally love them and then show them with your actions, words and behaviors how you love them. Trust me you will gain a ton of ground in your continued relationship with them just like my son and I have.