Is raising gender neutral children just another passing fad. Could it be another step in reaching true equality of the sexes? Raising gender neutral children is about much more than allowing your little boy to play with dolls or your little girl play with truck. Before deciding on gender neutral parenting you should first understand that sex and gender are two different things.
What is Gender Neutral Parenting
In simple terms it is parenting a your children in exactly the same way regardless of what sex they may be. Every parenting decision you make must be gender neutral. This may be difficult for you as you will be programmed by your own parents to treat boys and girls differently. Gender Neutral Parenting is much more than letting little Johnny wear his sisters pretty blouse.
The other decision you need to make is whether you are imposing your own gender biases on your children. Is your desire to blur the differences between boys and girls based on your own childhood. Perhaps you wanted to climb trees with the boys and was told by your parents ‘Girls don’t do that.’. Perhaps as a boy you were to taught to be tough because ‘boys don’t cry.’
When baby comes home from hospital you may well have the gender neutral nursery, clothes, bed clothes, crib and toys waiting there for him/her but eventually baby will have to go out into the world. They will go to childcare, to school even out shopping and everything they see will have an influence on them.
Even though you may not have any gender stereotyping at home your child will see it everywhere else. If your little boy likes to wear girls clothes he will soon come to realize he is different when he sees how other children dress. Will gender neutral parenting set your child apart and isolate him from his peers? Even as adults we want to fit in and be accepted by others. For children this is even more important. Will it make a child even more susceptible to peer pressure? The biggest question you have to ask yourself is will this benefit my child?
Before you make your final decision on Gender Neutral Parenting you need to understand the pros and cons. There are advantages but there are also disadvantages of raising and gender neutral child.
- Children who are raised gender neutral are less limited in their life choices. Their career choices, interests and hobbies, fashions etc are not limited to the male female stereotype
- Because of the freedom they were given in their choices they are more confident and more likely to succeed in becoming leaders
- The freedom of choice and freedom of expression studies have shown they have greater insight and are more creative
- Experts had found that children who have grown up with gender awareness are more likely to have greater self esteem.
- Children who are raised gender neutral are more likely to challenge traditional beliefs about gender norms.
- Studies have shown that the adults who have been raised as gender neutral are more likely to have more successful realtionships with the opposite gender because they have similar interests and communication styles.
- When children grow up gender neutrally they may feel confused as to which gender they identify with.
- during their childhood and adolescence those who do not conform to gender norms may be victims of bullying.
- It is possible that your child may grow up conforming to gender norms despite being raised gender neutral.
Will Gender Neutral Parenting Improve Society
In a society where a person can stand up confidently because they are able to make their own decisions and are comfortable in their own skin there can be many flow on benefits to the society they live in. Gender Neutral parenting really is just another step on the long road that started with the suffragettes fighting for the right to vote.
Total equality is something that will make life easier for many people both men and women. In the past men were taugh to hide their emotions and this has led to mental illness and in some cases suicide. A world where a man can express his feeling has got to be a better place. We expect women to be emotional and cry when they are sad or hurt and yet we deny that release of pent up emotion to our men.
Having the right to choose our own pathways opens doors for young adults. It is not that long ago that few women were able to become doctors and few men were accepted into nursing. Having a choice of male or female doctors and nurses makes it easier when you need to discuss something deeply personal.
Every man woman or child deserves to be accepted for who they are,not feel they have to change or conform. Raising gender neutral children will hasten this acceptance and that can only make our world a better place.
What are your thoughts on gender neutral parenting? I would love ot hear your comments on this subject so please leave me a note below.