Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Not So Tickled Pink

Liam got a new shirt and sweater yesterday.

The shirt is a nice collared t-shirt. He thought it was great and he knew he would look handsome in it. But this morning when it was time to get dressed, he F.R.E.A.K.E.D. out. You see, the shirt is PINK (technically Raspberry, but still, PINK)

(red tassel from a book mark to help show off the Raspberry)

Somehow overnight he went from loving the shirt to refusing to wear it because he would be made fun of and no one would play with him. Nothing I would say would convince him that it would be okay. In the end he wore his new sweater with a white collared t-shirt.

I talked to the teacher this morning and asked her to help address this problem with the class. Pink is not just for girls! To me, this form of teasing or picking on someone is BULLYING and should not be allowed. Luckily Liam goes to a great school that tries to stay on top of any problems like this right away. And every year our local schools hold an Anti-Bullying day in September that started after a boy was bullied for wearing a pink shirt and some older kids stood up for him.

So I'm hoping now that Liam will wear his handsome new PINK t-shirt to school on Monday for their Valentine's celebration and that he can feel proud and safe to wear it!


Heather said...

Kiddo's been reading a series of books for homework called "Pinky and Rex" - titles include "Pinky and Rex and the Bully" and "Pinky and Rex go to Camp" etc......

Pinky and Rex are best friends who are in second grade together. Rex is a girl (who loves dinosaurs) and Pinky is a boy who loves the color pink. He wears pink, has a pink bedroom, a pink bike, pink sneakers, etc.

You might want to check your library or perhaps Liam's school library to see if they have Pinky and Rex and the Bully because it totally fits this situation with the sudden objection to wearing pink.

Also - Kiddo is seeming to get into the same sort of "what's appropriate for boys v girls" thing at school now, too. She keeps bringing up topics of things boys are "supposed to" like or dislike and what girls are "supposed to" like or dislike. Perhaps this is a developmental stage? Sigh.............

Lastly, I bet not only will Liam look handsome in that raspberry shirt, but my hubby, father, brothers and brothers-in-law own and wear pink shirts and pink ties regularly. So maybe it'll just take him some time to realize that pink is cool for boys, too! :-)

Heather said...

Here's a Canadian site that has the Pinky and Rex bully book:

Unknown said...

My boys will wear "pink" - a sort of light pinkish color. But, ah, Andy - there is no way in hell that my boys would be caught dead in that shirt. Its PINK. And Its a "girls shirt" (according to their universal opinion - the white button sealed that decision) ;) I am afraid you are fighting a losing battle and would probably have better luck trying to get him to wear a skirt. Which, you know, to each their own (I have a friend who also happens to be a lesbian adoptive parent that DOES regularly dress her son in dresses :) so? go for it)

But in the world of little boys, I think I would pick a different battle. Is he a kind kid? Is he friendly to a wide range of kids? Does he eat vegies? :) Honestly, not worth the fight. Of course, now that I have said this, you are going to prove me wrong and he is going to wear it happily on Monday! :)

Andy said...

Ah but Jen, it wasn't our fight. HE liked and wanted the shirt till he thought more about it.

We'll see what happens on Monday!

and Heather, thanks for the book info. I'll check it out.

Unknown said...

:) Good luck. Honestly I hope he wears it, and I did have one son that would have happily worn anything anywhere until he was about 9 or 10 without a second thought, but eventually, most kids to succumb to the pressure to be "like" their peers. For us, as transracial parents, it was something we were taught to accept because there is already so many differences our kids have to carry - and an increased visibility that to "insist" they be non-conformist in their clothing can do alot of self esteem damage. I think you have alot more leeway, and I know L goes to a private school so? Hopefully he get a few more years of comfort with wearing whatever the heck he wants to. Saying that - a hot pink shirt still wouldnt fly up here ;) but then again, neither would the paisley sweater :)

PWNort64 said...

Henry LOVES pink (not that he has a lot to wear, but he does have some and never has qualms about wearing it). He doesn't mind telling anyone who will ask that he likes pink and always qualifies that its okay for boys to like pink, too.

However, he is also very sensitive to what he thinks others will laugh about. Additional questions and conversation always reveals that whatever he is worried he will be laughed at for, he has never been laughed at for before. So he is just worrying about the potential of being laughed at.

I'm hopeful that the same holds true for Liam...that he wouldn't REALLY be laughed at, the he just worries he MIGHT be laughed at.

OAM3 said...

I hope you get excellent support from the school on this one.

One of my fav self-help authors says we need to help our kids make savvy choices and then survive the choices they make... so the only suggestion I would have would be to agree with L that it might not be OK with some people for him to wear that shirt to school. But say again that it is supposed to be OK and help him work through the issues. What are his options if he wears it and gets teased? What does he think boys should be able to wear? What does he think about people who would tease someone for what they wear?

I am sure you already talk to him about these topics because he has a non-traditional family structure... but I'd reframe that same info in light of this issue and then respect his choice in the end. That choice may change over time, but ultimately I think it does need to be his choice.

Good luck! I'm headed to look for Pinky and Rex now!!