How I bust gender stereotypes – ‘My parenting mantra’
I always thrive to break the stereotypes if it makes rational sense to me. Even before my first child was born, my husband and I had decided to bust the usual gender stereotypes in our family. We wanted to give a gender neutral environment to our child. Today, I want to share with you all about how I bust gender stereotypes and how I ensure that my little muffins know, that they could achieve anything they want in life, irrespective of their gender.
It’s hightime we flex some muscles and bust the gender stereotypes in our society.
Kids have a natural ability to see the world without any limits. However it’s often observed that the adults usually signal that certain behaviour or things should be off the limits for kids based on their gender.
When this happens, the little heart gets smaller and smaller and it could also damage the child’s character.
All parents have the best intention for their child, however one might end up promoting stereotypes unknowingly, that could fence your child in.
The mantras that I follow, would ensure that your child understands that he or she could accomplish anything in life.
1. Let there be just toys:
Give your child a wide variety of toys to play with, for the sheer reason that it’s still unknown what the child would gravitate towards and why.
Your son might like playing with the kitchen set, since he sees you in the kitchen most of the times and wants to be like you.
Your daughter might like action figures merely because she enjoyed watching the latest super hero movie.
You won’t really know what your child might want unless you give her some options and encouragement to seek out what interests her the most.
That also means that if your daughter chooses to play with dolls, accept it as long as it’s absolutely her choice and isn’t the only option presented to her.
2. Make your child meet some meaningful people:
By meaningful people I mean making your child meet women who have followed all sorts of paths in life.
The reason why I’m suggesting this, is that the kids often take women as the ones who are responsible for taking care of her family. It’s important for the kids to understand that women have passions, interests and career outside of their family life. It would help expand your child’s horizons and would show her all the things women could do.
You could also get your child some child friendly biographies that showcase the real life achievements of women all over the world.
3. Discuss what you watch:
Television shows and online videos have a really short period of time to convert a story, and kids usually rely on the visual cues they get from there which is quite often gender stereotypical.
I wouldn’t suggest to avoid watching such things, rather watch and discuss.
Ask your child questions like, was the main character male or female? Would it make sense if that character’s gender was reversed?
The more you help your child look at the media critically and understand the negative impact of the gender stereotypes, the better equipped he or she would be, to defy them throughout their lives.
4. Think and then speak:
Your child is watching you all the time. How you speak about the women in your life has a big impact on the way your child would view a woman (or herself if you have a daughter).
When you compliment a girlfriend, your sister or a co-worker, avoid complimenting all the time about their clothes or how they look.
What I would suggest is, try to broaden what you praise in other women. Compliment them about how you admire their work, or like how they nailed it in a meeting.
All women, including your daughter definitely love being called beautiful, but they also need to know that they are valued for so much more than just their looks.
Also avoid talking ill about how someone looks, this could make your child learn about judging someone based on their appearances.
5. Chores have no gender:
You should try to assign household responsibilities in a rotating schedule, so everyone could get to try their hand at everything. If you have same gender Kids like me, try to showcase an environment where your husband and you switch your household tasks often, so your child understands that there isn’t any gender based chore.
6. Be adventurous:
Try to have some time together with your child where you could just do whatever you want. If you have a daughter you could paint your nails someday, but ensure you don’t do it most of the times or everyday. Be adventurous and try some fun outdoor sport too. This helps a girl child to see herself as capable and strong and not just a pretty kid. It would also teach her that the sports aren’t just for boys.
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