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Dear Amy,

I want to ask about my beautiful granddaughter, who's 11. She seems to go after boys her age more than girls. The boys families seem to encourage them by taking them places together. She is very athletic. I really am not condemning them, but the thought of my granddaughter sometimes displaying boyish mannerisms worries me. Not because she displays these mannerisms, but I want to be able to help her understand what she might go through. Her mother will not even talk about it. Am I sticking my nose where it doesn't belong?



I think your concern is valid, however, I don't think you have anything to worry about. My instinct is that she is experiencing a common female problem, which is that the range of behavior available to girls is much smaller than range allowed to boys. And it's not so much that she wants to be with boys, but doing boy things, i.e. being athletic.

I think it's just important to encourage who she is and making sure she has outlets to express that. I think you can have an honest conversation with her about what is fun about hanging out with her friends, and she is less likely to view them in a gendered way, but see them as simply friends and peers. Good luck,