As far as I remember I have always wanted to push the limits of what I can do. I have always been somewhat stubborn. If someone naysays or doubts my dreams, I push against that, push to pursue my dreams even harder, to spite them. Some of this has come very obvious as gender stereotypes are pushed on me. I have made a conscious decision to teach my kids to not only push boundaries of gender stereotypes but to help with society deconstructing those rigid roles.
I was lucky growing up. I did have parents that pushed me and told me I could do anything I wanted. I did go to church until Jr High and I do remember little backhanded comments often from church goers about getting married, having kids, and pushing those standards on me. Now, it’s not to say I didn’t want those things, but they were not a priority for me for quite some time. I wanted to grow up, be successful, have a career, be self-sufficient, then hopefully find the right man, get married, have kids.
I want to raise my children to be confident in themselves, despite gender roles society will try to impose on them. Here are some ways I plan to do that:
I will acknowledge that my child may be a part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
By acknowledging now, that my child may very well be transgender, gay, bi, queer, or any other member of the community I’m acknowledging now that I am okay with who they are no matter what. They will feel that, hear that, and know that every day. It’s okay for them to love whomever they love, be whomever they are and I will be by their side every step of the way.
I will be aware of gender marketing and teach them to do so as well.
Marketing agencies market based off gender stereotypes. Traditionally “boy” toys are advertised with commercials of only boys playing with trucks or dinosaurs, then traditionally “girl” toys are advertised with commercials of only girls playing with kitchens or dolls.
Children learn all kinds of social and emotional skills through play and every toy plays an impact in the development in a child regardless of if they are “girl” or “boy” toys. All children should be encouraged to play with whatever toy they wish to play with no matter what stereotypes are behind them. This encouragement should also remain constant, as they grow older and meet new friends, adults around them, and start to learn some of the societal norms, they will need more reassurance that doing whatever they want is okay despite being told differently by society.
I personally avoid the unnecessary gendering of toys all together. If I see on the shelf in the store a blue Little People plane, then a pink Little People plane, I will by the blue one. The pink one is completely unnecessary to produce separately other than to perpetuate gender stereotypes.
I will encourage mixed-gender play.
I loved playing with the boys more in elementary school. I had friends who were girls, but I always felt like an outcast and out of the group. I also had 4 brothers, three of which were close in age. Encourage your children invite all friends, regardless of gender, to play, birthday parties, special events, etc.
I will do what I can to teach….
- Moms aren’t the only ones that cook and clean and do household tasks
- Dads aren’t the only ones that work
- Both parents have equal responsibility in the child, their development, and care.
We personally do this as we both work from home, parent, homeschool, and manage our kid’s day to day tasks.