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Lynda Loveland: Tomboy troubles

Posted April 25, 2012
Updated April 26, 2012

Lynda Loveland

What’s an 8-year-old girl who doesn’t like girly things to do?

Campbell stopped wearing dresses the second she realized what they were. I think she was 2 ½. She’s always been more interested in the rough and tumble world of the boys than the glitzy and gilded world of the girls.

She has friends that are girls, but she just prefers to play with the boys. But that’s becoming a problem. The boys she’s been playing with at school, a few of them, are starting to push her away. There is a bit of a power struggle going on with one of the boys, but I think a big part of it is, the boys just want to hang with the boys.

This “struggle” though is turning into a feud and it’s just not pretty. They both do things to irritate and annoy each other. Her teacher made the comment that they would either kill each other or get married!

I told Cam to find something else to do. She just ends up by herself at recess.

She’s tough as nails. She just wants to play soccer with them. But sparks end up flying and I’m not talking about the good kind!

It breaks my heart to see her like that. She’s not happy and I don’t think the boy’s happy. I want to magically fix it for her but I can’t. All I can do is offer advice.

Have you had a child in this position?

Lynda is the mom of three and co-host of Mix 101.5 WRAL-FM's Bill & Lynda in the Morning. Find her here on Thursdays. Click here to like her on Facebook.


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  • iriemom Apr 26, 2012

    I think this holds true for everyone - if you are doing something you enjoy, you will meet people of the same mind and build relationships. It's not easy when you are thrust into a group for some reason other than your choice (such as school), but hopefully your daughter will find other kids who like to do the things she enjoys, and she will have the opportunity to build friendships with both girls and boys.

  • ladybug68 Apr 26, 2012

    I have raised two girls, both now moms... My oldest always preferred sports and cars and horses. The youngest more girlie. Neither liked hanging with girls due to their ATTITUDES.. Both were friends with girls but easier for one over the other. Since the tomboy did not do much girlie stuff she was ridiculed a lot---kids are cruel.. Both girls played ball all their lives. I insisted my girls play on girl teams, not mixed teams. You just have to find creative outlets for them where they can make friends. Be supportive. There is no easy answer. Swimming is a good co-ed sport. my girls were in marching band in high school which helped a bunch,but hard till you reach that point. Feel for you....but she will be fine. And the suggestion for her to seekmothers that look to be lonely is good---I am sure there are a few around.

  • nanasmom1002 Apr 26, 2012

    My little girl has had the same issues. She is 7, and she started showing her tom boy side when she picked out the little boy's superman and batman undies for her "big girl" undies when she was potty training. In daycare she played with the boys and is pretty tough. She can rough house with the best of them. In Kindergarten she started having issues with the boys not wanting to play with her towards the end of the school year, and often came home crying that she didn't have any friends. She is in first grade now and is having a hard time with it. Now its different from day to day, either the boys let her play or they push her away. Luckily she has found a fellow tomboy this year so when they are pushed away from the boys they play pirates or some other game together.

  • outlawtaxi Apr 26, 2012

    Tell her to look around at recess and see if anyone else seems to be feeling "left out". They'd probably love to have her play with them, and she may find a friend who is just as much of a tomboy as she is. I was a tomboy too, and an only child but my best friend was just as much of a tomboy as me. We played trucks and cars and tractors and GI Joe and Johnny West instead of Barbies with her older brother's hand-me-downs and had a wonderful time. I'm a little more domestic now and like to cook and do creative things, but my friend is one of the "handiest" people I know; she can do plumbing and painting and all that sort of stuff.

  • Iwasthinkin Apr 26, 2012

    You are probably already doing the most important thing....beomg available for's so hard to watch our young ones struggle to find their 'place'//those growing pains hurt us just as much as they do our babies.....hang in there, mom. I had a tomboy too...she is the most elegant swan now and one of the best kickball players around...with lots of friends of both gender....

  • DWH4sure Apr 26, 2012

    (from previous post) ANOTHER problem with girls playing with boys is when the girl starts developing and the boys start noticing. NOT looking forward to dealing with that issue.

  • DWH4sure Apr 26, 2012

    Our neighborhood has lots of kids, all boys except my 10-yr-old daughter. She's played with these boys since she was 4 yrs old. They've always played well, gotten along - until recently. The difference in genders is becoming very clear, and I foresee a rough few years ahead until they're all teenagers and can hang out together again. The main problem is that while my daughter wants to play with them, they want to play "boy-like" (i.e. rough, rude, aggressive, etc) and sometimes she'll get her feelings hurt. The boys don't understand (why is she acting like that? she's always played with us before) and so my daughter ends up alone. My solution is to encourage her to play with a few more girls (from her soccer team, etc so they have something in common already), just to even things out, give her some confidence and a chance to connect with girls her age. So far it's working - to an extent. She would still prefer to play with her boy "friends" if given the choice.

    ANOTHER problem with g

  • diamondmom Apr 26, 2012

    My soon-to-be 7 year old daughter prefers hanging with the guys as well. I used to try to push her to find girl friends to play with and I often questioned why she was always in a circle of boys. I'll be honest, I was initially bothered by the fact that she didn't connect as easy with girls as she did with boys. I soon found out that that was my problem and not hers. I realize now that it is best to just encourage safe, creative play and whomever she ends up playing with is completely fine. She naturally gravitates towards "all things boy" but will let me sneak in painting her toes or buying a skirt to wear every now and then. I too have found that the conflicts between her and her guy buddies are a bit more difficult for me to guide her in. I'm just not sure what to tell her when the play group she prefers gets too rough and tough and she feels left out.

  • lynne0312 Apr 26, 2012

    Maybe the teacher could help by coordinating a soccer game at recess to include both boys and girls. I'll bet there are other girls who would also love to play soccer at recess. And I'll bet most of the boys won't wouldn't mind that at all.

  • Gottalovemy4dogs Apr 25, 2012

    My daughter has always been a tomboy and preferred hanging around with boys, first and foremost, her 3 cousins. She is 16 now and is still that way. We had no issues when she was younger but it's been harder for her now. She doesn't like the girly things most girls do and can't stand any of the drama. But most boys her age are only interested in dating girls, not hanging out with them. She has dated several guys but decided that was too much drama too. So, without complaint, she hangs out with me and her step-dad when not at school or with her cousins. She's never had any conflicts with other kids, most of them like her, she just chooses to do her own thing. Your daughter will find her place. Just assure her that she's OK and that not all kids will like her or want to play with her all the time regardless of what kind of kid she is. Doesn't mean anything is wrong with her, just that it takes all kinds. My guess is the little boys actually "likes" her. :)