Raising Gender-Sensitive Children
Wed, April 14, 2021

Raising Gender-Sensitive Children

It is hard to accept that gender inequality is something that has existed for centuries. Society still thinks that there are certain areas in a man and woman’s life that are bound to the stereotypes imposed on them / Photo by: Hyejin Kang via 123RF

 

It is hard to accept that gender inequality is something that has existed for centuries. Society still thinks that there are certain areas in a man and woman’s life that are bound to the stereotypes imposed on them. Although still a very controversial topic all-in-all, the idea of raising gender-neutral kids has been in the minds of many parents these days. This is more true with younger parents who are more open-minded when it comes to change.

According to the Parents website, a page that caters to practices in raising children, the issue of raising gender-sensitive or gender-neutral kids is still debatable, especially in the United States. Some people think that it might create confusion in the child’s way of thinking, while others think that it will make them more open to everyone's differences. Society needs to understand how parents are choosing to go about gender-neutral parenting, and what benefits their children can get from doing so.

Gender-Neutral Parenting

Depending on the parents, gender-neutral parenting can be either extreme or less-obvious. Some parents choose to not talk to their children about their gender until a particular age. This could actually have some repercussions when the children reach school age. For others, they just simply let their child play with toys that are used by both boys and girls. They let their children decide which colors they would like to dress up in, without telling them about the societal norms that are related to colors.

Most parents will agree that there should already be an elimination of stereotypes, especially at home where all learning begins. Some parents will practice chores at home which are not specific to their gender. An example would be washing dishes or cooking food. In most households, mothers are expected to prepare dinner and fix the table afterward, but in most gender-sensitive or neutral families, such tasks are not only done by one gender, but by both. So, stereotypes are already being thrown out of the door.

In another set-up, some parents allow their children to choose their own clothes, even if they are for a specific gender. Some couples are very careful about mentioning ideas that involve people of a specific gender, like wearing accessories for women, or playing physical sports for men.

Depending on the parents, gender-neutral parenting can be either extreme or less-obvious. Some parents choose to not talk to their children about their gender until a particular age / Photo by: lightfieldstudios via 123RF

 

Is it a good idea?

The issue of gender-neutral parenting will all boil down to the differences in opinions and ideas about it. According to the Parent Circle page, a website that helps parents deal with issues regarding raising kids, being a gender-neutral parent is a choice made by those who think it can benefit their children the most. Though society always says that things should be done with limitations, for such parents, being gender-neutral removes all such limits, and makes every idea possible in the making. Also, the issue of domestic and sexual violence, forceful practices, and other emotionally-draining concepts can make children mature into close-minded adults. Some gender norms can actually be limiting to most parents, so they try to teach their children about how things can be different from their perspective or point of view.

On the other hand, some experts believe that such parenting can actually create a more confused child in the future. They believe that children should be able to identify themselves strongly to one gender. If not, they can get lost or be confused about who they are. The main issue could be clarity in gender.

Gender and Sexuality

Perhaps not everybody knows that gender and sexuality are two different concepts that most people interchange. One should know that sexuality is more on the biological side, while gender is on the cultural, societal, and personal sides. Often, parents may feel nervous about raising their kids to be gender-neutral because they believe that, in the end, they might turn into homosexual adults. This could be problematic, especially for those parents who say they are gender-sensitive but are not willing to accept the gender choice their child would want to make.

Experts believe that raising gender-neutral children should not be about being able to show everyone that society is readily changing; it should be about their child being able to have his or her own identity, regardless of sexual orientation. If done properly, gender-neutral parenting should not have adverse effects on the way a child lives his daily life. He can still play with either sex, use gender-specific items or words, and be able to have a choice when it comes to the people he wants to be with. Being gender-sensitive could be difficult to explain to many people, especially the conservative one. In most cases, it will come with so much apprehension and surprise. However, as parents, we should be able to know and accept that whatever happens, everything we do should be for the benefit of the child, and not for anything else.

Perhaps not everybody knows that gender and sexuality are two different concepts that most people interchange / Photo by: lightfieldstudios via 123RF