(Closed) "Gender" Neutral Parenting

posted 5 years ago in Parenting
Post # 31
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4290 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

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juliette.eliza:  I agree. The people I’m referring to are determined to raise their daughter gender neutral, and refuse to buy her dolls etc. If someone does, they donate them.

The problem is she’s 4! And guess what all her friends play with? They’re making her the odd (wo)man out, and I would argue teaching her that wanting to be a girl is wrong.

Post # 32
Member
1341 posts
Bumble bee

I’m all for gender neutral, but since all babies look the same to me, I find gender colored clothing an easy cue for knowing the sex of someone’s baby. Although, if it’s someone close to me, I probably already know the gender, so I guess it doesn’t matter.  

My nephew is 5 and has always played with dolls and barbies. I think it’s super endearing. Boys are nurturers too!

Post # 33
Member
1552 posts
Bumble bee

Ehh. As babies, we’ll dress our boy like a little boy, and our girl like a little girl. But we’ve agreed to have a gender neutral nursery and to allow our kids to make their own choices when they are old enough to do so. But I don’t have a problem with kids being raised gender-specific as long as the kid understands they could always choose otherwise if they wanted to.

Post # 34
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3244 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

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Everdeen:  I actually did a pretty big research paper as an education major about the literacy gap between genders (boys struggling much more often with reading than girls). One of the major reasons is that a lot of the books “pushed” in schools appeal more to girls or have feminine undertones or female main characters and boys don’t relate to them. So I actually pretty strongly disagree with pushing female protagonist characters on boys to make a point. 

Post # 35
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560 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

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KingsDaughter:  What are your feeling on this couple. 

http://www.thestar.com/life/parent/2013/11/15/remember_storm_we_check_in_on_the_baby_being_raised_genderneutral.html

They’re child “Storm” is 3 years old and the child still is not sure what sex he/she is. To this day no one in the public knows what sex Storm is. They have 3 children all being raised GN Jazz, Kio and Storm. Their eldest son, Jazz, now almost 8, always gravitated to dresses, the colour pink and opted for long hair often fixed into braids. 

 

Post # 36
Member
7704 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 1997

The other thing to consider is that most parents are delighted whether they have a baby girl or a baby boy, and they want the world to know. But most babies are completely androgynous looking, and almost any baby boy could pass for a girl if he were dressed in pink, and almost any baby girl could pass for a boy if she were dressed in blue. Because parents quickly get tired of being congratulated on their baby boy when their baby is a girl (or vice versa), they learn that clothing and headbands are the only things that indicate their baby’s sex. That’s the primary reason I dressed my children in gender-specific clothing; I simply was tired of correcting people about whether my child was a boy or girl. It isn’t even that I found it offensive to have my baby boy called a girl, but rather that if I were to have any future contact with the people, I had to correct them, and it gets old really fast.

Post # 37
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3470 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - The Gables Inn, Santa Rosa, CA

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saratiara2:  My husband had two friends (brothers) like this growing up – their mom despirately wanted daughters so they decided to raise them “gender neutral” which for them meant the boys were raised as daughters would be… it basically equated to two very messed up little boys who had few friends because they didn’t know how to interact with others because their mother spent most of their early years telling them the things they liked or wanted were “wrong”.  

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HoneysHoney: I’ll give you the same advice I give my husband, if it’s in pink or has a bow on it’s head, it’s probably a girl… beyond that just go with “they” or “buddy” until someone has to change a diaper 🙂 

Post # 38
Member
542 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2014 - Maui

My mother is pretty androgynous anyway, and she let me dress however I wanted and play with whatever I wanted. I have an older brother so there was a lot of sharing of clothes and toys going on, and we were never treated any differently based on gender. Sometimes I wanted to dress like a boy and play with boy toys, but usually I preferred dresses and dolls and such. I ended up much more feminine than my mother but she never pushed it on me. I think it’s best to leave it up to the kids to choose what appeals to them.

Post # 39
Member
999 posts
Busy bee

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KingsDaughter:  I have the same plan.  We aren’t ttc yet and we’re still debating whether or not we want to know the gender.  If we do decide to find out the gender, we wont be sharing that info until the baby is born.  

Post # 40
Member
213 posts
Helper bee

I’m for gender-neutral parenting to a point.  I think there is a pretty broad spectrum of gender and it is often not completely lined up with ones sex.  That being said, I think children and adults should feel free to express their gender identity as they see fit, rather than being pushed into a category decided for them, whether that be “girl”, “boy” or “gender neutral”.  

As a child, I was quite girly in the way I dressed and played indoors.  I loved barbies and make-up and dance.  I also loved running and rock climbing and spent most of my time outdoors playing with boys because they were interested in the same things I was.  By the time I got to high school I was in the Robotics Team and built sets for stage crew; but I was also learning how to swing dance and sew my own dresses.  

I did things that I am sure my friends who parent in a wholly “gender neutral” way would not have allowed, but I also did things that I am sure my friends who parents their daughters like they are Disney Princesses would not have allowed either.  Just let kids be kids.  Often, they’ll figure out who they are on their own and will let you know what kind of clothes, emotions and activities suit them best.  

I do think that everyone should be taught basic skills regardless of what their gender is.  Boys and girls should be taught to cook, clean, sew, change a flat tire, work with tools and maintain good financial records.  

Post # 42
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1489 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

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Buymymixtape:  My thoughts exactly on the side eye comment.

Post # 43
Member
620 posts
Busy bee

I’m an uber feminist pregnant with my first child, a girl, so this topic is important to me. But I think there’s been a lot of confusion about what it actually means/how to go about it. I also think clothes are really some of the least important part. Clothes are just clothes, and what’s clean will work. I’m not into pink and frilly so my daughter won’t have much, except what she gets as gifts. But what bothers me is when it’s reinforced over and over again, sometimes in subtle ways. As an illustration, my mom was pretty gender neutral and encouraged my brother and me in all of our interests. I was a very feminine kid and my brother was very masculine. I remember playing barbies with him and he grabbed a doll and pretended to come in and blow all my barbies up. So…yeah, we were pretty stereotypical boy and girl kids. But I was also SUPER into dinosaurs, and my mom got me so much dinosaur stuff and I remember watching every dinosaur educational video ever and loving it. When my 4-year old niece, on the other hand, recently asked for a dinosaur for her birthday, her mom refused. She got dolls and princess stuff instead, and that made me mad as hell. I’m the obnoxious aunt that buys the kids educational toys and books and tries not to only buy them the newest princess doll. They love it, but I wonder how much of that is really their choice if mom won’t let them play with anything else? Now, my daughter may turn out to love princesses and pink frilly things, and then, well, I will buy them for her, whether I like it or not. But it won’t be her only option and I want to start her off with a variety of toys from an early age so she never gets the idea that she can only play with “girl” toys. Kids are kids, and while they naturally gravitate to what they like, there’s so much subtle and not so subtle influencing that starts basically from birth, and that’s what I want to avoid. I don’t want my daughter to get the idea that because she’s a girl, she shouldn’t play with certain toys, and vice versa when/if I have a boy. In sum, for me it’s about not forcing ANY particular idea on them, and giving them a variety of toys, clothes, etc. and letting the child choose what he/she likes and gravitates to. 

Post # 44
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1444 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

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KingsDaughter:  I am totally comfortable with boys and girls playing with the toys that they like, wearing the clothes that they like, as long as they are not inappropriate by my standards, and just being who they are.

All too often, however, I see people treating the term “gender neutral” as synonymous with gender opposition. Some people are forcing their children, and others, into adopting or supporting the adoption of the traditional norms for the opposite gender as a way of rebelling against existing social norms.

I get the good of not subscribing to gender roles, but I think that forcing someone to like particular clothes or toys or games in the name of neutrality can be extremely unfair. Pink is my favorite color, is that allowed in the gender neutral mindset, to actually have a favorite color that aligns with traditional gender norms? 

For me, the important issue isn’t taking sides or claiming that one parental decision is better than the other, it’s that parents should be allowed to parent their children in the way that they see fit as long as they are coming from a place of love. As long as parents are doing that, we don’t have the right or the need to judge. It takes all kinds of parents and parenting styles to make this world go around. 

Post # 45
Member
410 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

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KingsDaughter:  My DD is almost 10 months old, and although most people who have bought us things have opted to select BRIGHT PINK clothing, we try to counterbalance that with lots of…well, every other colour. When we dress DD up in anything other than pink (which is a lot), people almost always assume she’s a boy. We don’t bother correcting them, and ususally joke about our “handsome little boy”

I am with the PP’s who choose to buy a wide array of clothing/toys/gear that includes stuff traditionally considered both “masculine” and “feminine”. When DD is old enough to communicate her own preferences, we’ll let that be our guide.

I also think about how toys that are typically considered for “boys”, such as blocks, lego etc. help with the development of certain skills, just as spatial reasoning, which would in turn, be useful for future “manly” occupations, such construction work, or architecture. These are also considered to be male dominated occupations. Whereas, dolls and toy kitchens were cultivating “homemaker” skills for girls. Therefore, I want DD to play with all sorts of toys that will develop a wide variety of abilities, to widen the scope of possibilities for future pursuits.

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