Q: Our granddaughter's behavior is causing our family a great concern and anxiety. She is 8, attends an all-girls school, is very good in studies and tops in tests. She is very athletic and enjoys taking part in only boys' sports, such as martial arts. She likes to wear only boys' clothes and cuts her hair very short like a boy. The only time she wears girls' clothing is for school, a uniform.
Does she have a problem identifying her gender. Is this common with some girls? Will she outgrow the problem and act like a girl? Are we paranoid over something we should not be worrying about?
A: Martial arts are not "boys' sports," they're sports, and very short hair is not a boy's haircut, it's a haircut, and pants and shirts are "boys' clothes" only because she's finding them in the boys' department; the moment they're on her body, they're a girl's clothes. That is, assuming your granddaughter identifies female and just likes sportier things. That's certainly quite common and a strong possibility, the best answer to which is to shut up and love her as-is without hand-wringing or eyebrow-raising.
Also possible is that she identifies male and feels as if she's in the wrong body. That's far less common, and also a much more difficult, anxiety-inducing path for sure, especially for her . If indeed that's the case, though, that's an even stronger argument for family to love her fiercely and cease all hand-wringing, eyebrow-raising or skirt-pushing. Your granddaughter, just by the odds, is probably not transgender, but acceptance is the only answer regardless.