Since the beginning of time, we have been faced with several gender stereotypes. It probably all started with our parents putting us in adorable pink (girl) and blue (boy) clothing and decorating our nurseries too. However, is this really supposed to be the norm that we’re accustomed to? Does this type of stereotyping render children to gender confusion and instability in the future? Well, it really depends. Being Gender neutral is something that a lot of new-age parents are developing with their young ones. It is, however, like a lot of aspects these days, controversial in its debate.
Labels like “it’s a boy” and “it’s a girl” are also considered being gender-rigid. Exposing these kinds of narrow tags to children can have adverse effects on their future. A lot of brands have even changed their gender tags for their items to support the movement. These parents are of course not crazed to exempt gender from their children’s lives. But they want to raise their children in a stereotype-free environment and we don’t blame them. If you want to bring in this gender neutral behavior to your kids, let’s learn a little more about it.
What is Gender Neutrality or Gender Neutral Parenting?
By factual definition, Gender Neutral Parenting is the parenting method in which children are allowed to be exposed to various gender types so that they can explore them. They are doing so without any societal restrictions or obstacles from their biological gender. Helen Davies says that “the overall theory of gender neutrality tells us that one’s sex from birth does not determine their societal, psychological and intellectual characteristics”.
This may be true depending on how the child is raised and if proper methods of parenting are applied early on. Allowing a child to choose which gender they adopt later on in life also does not put them in a box. In this day and age, no child would want to be put through that. Everything is unconventional these days, and the same should go for gender as well.
Some parents go through extreme lengths to preserve a child’s gender like hiding it from the outside world except a few close family members.
The Question Everyone Wants To Ask.
Is gender neutral parenting healthy for my child? We understand your plea. Neutral parenting is not a mere trend and it should not be taken as one. A parent should know everything there is about a certain parenting method before applying it. After all, it’s a child’s life that is at stake. Coming to the question of the hour, it is more of a 50/50 debate as to how healthy it is for a kid. One major plus point that adopting gender-neutral parenting would allow the child to be raised free without any gender-based restrictions. They would be free to follow gender rules and roles of various types. A negative point here, however, is that children may feel confused about their role if not told to follow a certain one. This fact is backed up by experts. So, it really depends on each parent and whether they’re willing to take a risk.
Don’t stop here, parents. Let’s look at some impacts that this form of parenting may have on a child.
Impacts of Gender Neutral Parenting On a Child.
- Social Impact- Please don’t have the mindset that your kid’s gender will be under the carpet and around your finger till they grow up. If you’re going to be sending them to nursery school and other activities, they are bound to be exposed to some teasing. If you’re planning to keep them at home with a babysitter or just giving them activities yourself, then there is a possibility of strict gender-neutral parenting.
- Play Impact-This should not be a problem as you can give your children ample toys to play with. These toys could be of any gender and the more variety in the toys, the better it will be. So, don’t worry about your baby’s playtime.
- Sexuality Impact- it is common for you to worry about the impact on your child’s sexual development. However, gender-neutral parenting has fewer effects on it than you would think. Homosexuality is factually an occurrence due to biology rather than parenting technique or influence.
The Main Event- How To Raise Kids In A Gender-Neutral Manner.
The psychology and science behind this parenting method can get a bit tricky. So sit back and let us tell you some ways you can get your kids to be raised gender-neutrally.
- Reduce The Importance of Gender– As we said earlier, gender-neutrality does not mean the exemption of gender from a child’s life. They should still be aware of gender but in a way that helps them disregard stereotypes. You can start getting rid of the labels.
- Avoid Pink/Blue Mayhem-Stereotypes are the main enemy here. Look out for any gender suppressing material your child is being exposed to. Run away from anything that focuses on the difference between genders.
- Toys Don’t Have Genders– stay away from toys that focus on gender differentiation too. Teach your kids that they can play with anything regardless of the gender it’s initiated towards.
- Let All Play Together– allow boys and girls to play together. Make them comfortable with playing with opposite genders from a young age. Mixed gender activities now will better their future in work environments too.
- Don’t Remove Gender– the long term objective is to not exempt gender, remember this. We repeat it because it is very common for parents to get carried away during gender-neutral parenting.
- Role Models– And by this, we don’t mean princess fairytales or any of that old nonsense. Those can actually be very suppressing. Instead, introduce gender-neutral role models like female pilots and male fashion designers and nurses.
- Independent Human– it is important today that we look at our children as people first rather than as genders. This is because there is no real difference between males and females except for some biological differences. If the brain is one, let them live as independent human beings.
As we conclude, dear parents don’t make this about a revolutionary change. Although it might become that someday, focus on the wellbeing and future of your kids rather than a popular trend.