Raising kids is the easiest thing to have an opinion about but the hardest thing to do. The one thing to be kept in mind while performing this arduous, life long task is to help kids discover themselves. to not hold them down by any restrictions. A common one being- gender biases.
There are many problems associated with modern parenting that parents have to face. These challenges are new and they exist partly because of the modernization of our society. The parenting principles haven’t changed. what needs to change is the way we implement these.
Boy – mom I want to play with this doll
Mom – no baby, it’s only for girls, boys play with cars.
Sounds familiar? This is how we start the gender divide in kids minds. If we let our children think that there are “boy toys’ or ‘girl toys’, then we are curbing their curiosity and interests right from childhood. We begin to condition their mind and limit their possibilities.
-What begins with toys, doesn’t stop at toys.
Pink is for girls and blue is for boys. This is a classic, cliche example of a gender-based stereotype. Most modern parents of this generation are conscious of this fact. Even if you are not, it’s fine. That’s not what is to be highlighted. What’s important is to not let our kids understand and worse, settle in the boxes made by society. The ones that define a girl and a boy.
Choice of colour doesn’t matter. So what if it is used by big companies as a way to market their toys and products. There are greater choices that we need to focus on. Girls are more creative and boys like to play sports. How many times have we heard that growing up? Here’s an example. If your girl wants to play basketball and your boy has an interest in painting, let them do it. Don’t limit creativity because of your regressive thoughts. Ones you were bought up with.
‘Gender’ deals with whether someone is male or female.
Gender identity is about how someone expresses his or her gender. Despite the many roles men and women play in today’s world, some people still judge others based on how they think males and females ‘should’ act.
While Stereotypes are ideas about how people will act, based on the group to which they belong, many children grow up identifying certain characteristics as belonging only to boys or girls. If I have to explain stereotypes to a child then -a stereotype is an oversimplified and unfair belief that a group of people has particular characteristics or that all members of a group are the same. So, for example, a stereotype would be that “Women are good at cleaning and cooking; Men are good at making things.”
These stereotypes might be unfair or limiting to children as they as they grow up and decide what they like to do, what careers they strive for, what sports they want to play.
These stereotypes are so deeply rooted in our systems that they don’t feel wrong any more. But here we are, trying to make a difference by making conversations
Gender-neutral parenting. For the same reason of breaking gender stereotypes as they are unfair and may restrict a child from reaching his full potential or capability, parents need to make changes in the way they raise their kids. And that applies to both boys and girls.
This conversation might seem incomplete if we didn’t talk about gender-neutral parenting. Kids nowadays are ridiculed for being themselves, being something different. It is because they don’t conform to societal norms. They don’t fit in the square made by society.
Here comes a question about how the kids are being raised nowadays. If we wish for our kids to be the best they can be, beyond the limit of their capacity then we need to set them free from gender restrictions that can hold them back.
Here is a letter published by the famous children’s toy company lego. Back in the year 1970s.
The urge to create is equally strong in all children. Boys ad girls. “It’s the imagination that counts. Not skill. You build whatever comes into your head, the way you want it.
A bed or a truck. A dolls house or a spaceship. “A lot of boys like dolls houses. They’re more human than spaceships. A lot of girls prefer spaceships. They’re more exciting than dolls houses.
“The most important thing is to put the right material in their hands and let them create whatever appeals to them.”
We don’t know much about human psychology when it comes to the different kinds of personalities that a child can have or how we impact the child in his formative years. But one thing is quite clear, Parents are the biggest influencers in the lives of children. Your thought process and behaviour is going to be emulated by your kids and it will become the voice of their subconscious.
Beware of what you speak and how you behave. Because they are always watching you. You want to raise a boy who respects women, be a husband who respects his wife and mother first. You want your girl to be bold, to speak up, start addressing issues that trouble you, first. Then watch the change happen.
This post is part of Blogchatter’s CauseAChatter campaign which is a year-long initiative which aims at making a difference with our writing better known as Blogging with a purpose.