I thought about posting this as a comment in the other active pronoun conversation but I didn't want to derail it with a tangent. For starters I should make it clear I believe honoring someone's pronoun preferences is a matter of basic decency and respect. Conversely, insisting on using a different word when you know someone doesn't like it is, frankly, a jerk move. It's being antagonistic for no good reason.
That said, an acquaintance recently informed me that her 4-year-old prefers to use the pronoun "they." I have to admit something about this situation doesn't sit right with me. I'm also the parent of a 4-year-old, and it's clear to me that kids that age aren't developmentally equipped to make an informed decision about gender identity.
I can't help but feel like the parents are putting words in their kid's mouth, projecting a non-binary assumption onto a minor who lacks the cognitive and emotional maturity to manage it in any meaningful way. Saddling a preschooler with that kind of baggage just strikes me as irresponsible parenting.
I'm not saying there should be some kind of hard-line age of consent, just that four is too young. One ought to be far enough along developmentally to come to one's own conclusions about pronouns and gender presentation.
Apologies if I'm strawmanning, but I guess the argument could be made that all kids should be referred to as "they" — by default — until they reach an appropriate age to choose their own gender identities. I can sympathize with that as a goal, but it strikes me as unrealistic. I don't think society would ever be able to attain that kind of widespread change.
I'm curious what my fellow tilders think about this subject. (FWIW, I am referring to this kid as "they" and keeping my objections to myself, apart from this discussion.)