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Lynda Loveland: Tomboy transformation

Posted September 22, 2010

Lynda Loveland

Put her hair in a ponytail? She'd rather stick a hot poker in her eye. My 7-year-old daughter Campbell is a tomboy through and through.

She stopped wearing dresses when she was two. She won't even wear a tunic because it too closely resembles a dress. She's VERY proud of her tomboy status. I too was a tomboy. I tell her it's OK to be both girly and be a tomboy. She doesn't buy it though.

I didn't think it would ever happen, but we had a breakthrough. We were at the beach and I suggested Cam put her hair in a ponytail so it would stay out of her face. And to my shock, she agreed!! I quickly put up her hair before she changed her mind. She looked so different. My husband and I instantly followed with compliments galore. You know, that powerful, positive reinforcement thing.

I said "Wow, Cam, you look older!" And that did it. That pushed some kinda button with her. She perked up and said, "How old?" And that was all she wrote.

The next day she was playing around with her hair and held it up on top of her head. I put in a clip to hold it in place so she could get a look. I told her how cute she looked. She was LOVING it! I've never seen her respond like that. She wore her hair up every day AND she wore a bikini, which she had also refused to do.

Meantime we got back from the beach and my husband told Cam he'd put her hair in a ponytail before camp. Without skipping a beat she said, "Oh no, people will see me here!"

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

17 Comments

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  • STRAWBERRY LETTER 23 Sep 24, 2010

    Great story, Lynda! I have no children (by choice) however, I'd just like to say how very lucky your daughter (and all your kids) is to have you as her mother! They are very blessed.

    Beth

  • allyloop Sep 24, 2010

    Geez people!!! Lighten up! I'm sure if Lynda's daughter never wore her hair up again, she'd love her just the same. I think you're looking into this way too much. Lynda, I can tell that you're an awesome parent with nothing but good intentions for your children. Cute story! It's funny that Cam is already so concerned about what other people think of the way she looks. Kids are so funny some times. I always enjoy reading you post. Keep 'em coming:)

  • davisbaby Sep 24, 2010

    My 6-year old niece is the total opposite. She hates sneakers and begs her mother to let her wear dresses every chance she gets. Her mother has a deal with her that she only has to wear sneakers on Fridays for P.E. She is a total princess.

  • Killian Sep 23, 2010

    I'm very against pushing gender stereotypes, but I don't feel like Lynda did that just by encouraging her daughter to try something new. It's not so much that she wanted her daughter to be a girly girl, but to not be locked into a preconceived idea of what is or isn't her style.

    Our kids were always allowed to express their personal styles in whatever way they wanted (within certain limitations like school rules). We never pushed gender restrictions on any of them, and they all have their own styles now. They went through some "weird" hair styles, and outfits that made me roll my eyes, but as long as it didn't cross any lines of appropriateness, I just let it ride.

    Good for you, Lynda, for encouraging Campbell to try new things to find HER style. She needs your support and acceptance of the person she becomes, whomever that is, as she develops.

  • MomOfTwins Sep 23, 2010

    I have to agree with quiturwhining- I too have a 7 year old girl. But she's the exact opposite- ONLY wears dresses, in fact she owns her first pair of jeans in 3 years this fall. We've got nailpolish in every color, sparkly headbands, and she probably has more shoes than I do. While it upsets me that she's SO GIRLY, we accept that this is how she is. Yeah, there are times when I point out that if she wore jeans then her legs wouldn't get scratched when hiking- but it's from a practical point of view, not an arbitrary 'you look older' or 'you look cuter'. Kids should be allowed to develop their own personalities and not have their parents of all people try to shape them into a gender stereotype- the media and peer pressure does enough of that.

  • waytogo Sep 23, 2010

    It's a cute story people. Lighten up.

  • 4Cats Sep 23, 2010

    quiturwhining - "Why does the "girly" have to be given "positive reinforcement"?"

    Have you thought that maybe the 'positive reinforcement' could simply be...hey great job on trying something new? or for stepping out of your comfort zone?

  • peppercorns Sep 23, 2010

    THis made me laugh. All through high school my daughter wore boyish clothes. Recently she went through her old clothes and just laughed..she could not believe how she dressed. So they grow out of all of it. Don't worry.

  • quiturwhining Sep 23, 2010

    noinfo167, hard to consider new perspectives? Last time I looked around, girls look a whole lot of different ways. Short hair, long hair, athletic, not athletic, like boys, don't like boys--and they're all still girls.

  • RaleighRob Sep 23, 2010

    @quiturwhining: Thank You for your post. Pushing kids to follow gender stereotypes just leads to the pressures that cause kids to separate & stigmatize, instead of accepting each other. There's a connection that leads to the same type of bullying of bookworms by jocks and so forth. Teaching kids to accept their differences leads to better adults.

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