Here is something that is really bothering me about modern parenting. When someone speaks about gender inequality we are the first to shout, “oh no, nowadays it’s different girls and boys are brought up the same way”. But really, is that really true? However progressive we seem to think we are, there are many things we do while raising our toddlers that I think may affect how they turn out to be later on.
I personally think home is the first school for our kids. The way we raise our children shapes them into becoming bold, confident men/women in the society. So many of our actions together, shape the minds of the young kids in finding out what is acceptable in the world and what is not. We know everything matters when we are bringing up our child and they learn from us. But we forget the age-old wisdom that actions speak louder than words and resort to doing things just because others are doing it, without reflecting on how it would be seen in the young ones’ eyes.
So this cup of guilt is for the new age women and men, the new parents, who however forward they may be in their thoughts, sometimes resort to doing actions, just because “society” is doing it.
1. Girls are pinkified and boys are blueyfied.
Right from when they are born, however much we claim to be modern-thinkers, we seem to lean towards buying pinkish items for girl babies and blueish items for boy babies. Be it for outfits or for toys. We keep pushing these into a child’s mind, and when they grow up, they look down upon people or tease them for wearing different clothes than what is “expected” of them. So I say let’s buy a blue jumper for our girl babies and let’s not be ashamed to get a pink shirt for our boys.
2. Barbie dolls for girls and construction sets for boys.
Think about it. What message are we sending out to kids when we buy pretty barbie dolls and cooking sets for girls and bulkyThomases and construction sets for boys? That girls should only cook or that guys can only be engineers? So no, let’s stop that. Buy a Thomas train set for a girl and see if she enjoys it. And when we look at a boy child playing with a cooking set, let’s not grab it away from him saying only girls should play with it. Many parents don’t even allow their boys into the kitchen..makes me think whether it could be a reason why many boys grow up thinking cooking is a woman’s job. Well, I am no expert at this. But I say, let’s buy a construction set for a girl and feel happy when she goes around banging it.
3. Boys go scot-free and girls are made to feel guilty.
At a party I went to, a couple was scolding their girl for laughing out loud. “Girls are supposed to be silent. You’re not a boy. People shouldn’t know where you are”. I wish people would stop sending out these idiotic messages. Many parents with boys never scold them for doing something wrong since he is a boy. However when they have a girl child, they scold them for the same action. It could be a reason why boys when they grow up, go around thinking they can get away with doing anything or always feel they are right. Girls however get admonished for the same wrong-doing, and it could be a reason why when they grow up they are wanting to feel appreciated all the time.. what do you think? If a kid does something wrong, be it a girl or boy, let them know what they did is wrong. Don’t bring gender into the picture and let them go scot-free or punish them unnecessarily.
4. Equality begins at home. Show them.
Children learn from people surrounding them. They think we are their world. So I think we should show them moms and dads are equal. Let’s not form the impression that moms have to cook all the time, and dads are for playing all the time.
5. Be bold and your kid will learn from you.
I think if we feel a system is wrong, we should show our child how we can change the system, instead of just complaining about it. I noticed that my kid learnt to say Thank You, Welcome and Sorry, the 3 important words from listening to us, so I knew he is always running around in learning mode. Turns out that being sweet isn’t enough. To survive in this world, I learnt that a kid has to know how to stand up for himself/herself at a very young age. And for that he needs his parents to show him how. If we feel something is wrong, I think we should be bold and speak out and show our kid that he should do the same. I am still working on this with my kid, so let’s see what happens 🙂
Well..I am not an expert in bringing up kids, but I, like you, believe strongly that we are the teacher in our kid’s eyes, they learn from us, from what we tell them directly and from what we tell them indirectly. So let’s all stop pushing gender-based inequality directly or indirectly in our kid’s mind before it nurtures and grows into a strong tree.
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