Stop Worrying If Your Son Is Playing with a Doll

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Byline: DR ELLIE CANNON

With all the talk of gender identity disorder and boys who believe they are girls, you could be forgiven for thinking there was something in the water. Certainly, there are alarming statistics coming from the NHS child psychiatric unit that is treating the latest case to hit the headlines - five-year-old Zach Avery.

A total of 165 children have been treated for the 'condition' at the Tavistock and Portman clinic in London over the past year.

As a GP, I am often asked: 'Is my child normal?' Commonly, the complaint is 'My one-year-old doesn't crawl yet' or 'My five-yearold still wears nappies at night'. Zach's story, along with a similar one recently (where the parents of a five-year-old boy called Sacha apparently refused to tell friends the gender of their child), has led to many parents contacting me asking if they should worry if their young son plays with dolls. My answer is this: it is perfectly normal and not indicative of future problems. My own five-year-old son often demands pink crockery at dinner.

Whether you indulge such whims is up to you - there is no evidence either way that it could damage a child, although common sense would suggest reminding them of what is considered the norm.

But in Zach's case there were clearly red flags. …