I am probably the one who feels the need to speak about this topic even more so; I have a daughter and a son. And if you don’t know what gender-neutral parenting is, well its when two loving parents try to raise their “seed” without the confinement of gender stereotypes. For the record, I like that part of the method. However, here’s where I have a problem with. First, I have known my children a collective of 4 and half years. And within these years, I have seen how my daughter has blossomed into a confident young female. And though my son is only 2 years, I can see what type of man he will grow up to be. Now, I am not raising my children in a strict gender-neutral home but I do not have gender specific toys. My aim as a parent is to allow my children to find their truth with toys that will aide their learning and communication. Here’s an excellent example, my son plays with a baby doll (those anatomically correct baby dolls that look like a baby) and loves it so much he sleeps with it. Now my 4 and half year-old daughter loves watching “PJ Masks” and “Paw Patrol”; two cartoon shows that a geared towards boys of her age group. My daughter still plays with her “Barbies” and loves anything girly like unicorns and sparkles, but her favourite colour is purple not pink. My son too, he loves cars and trunks and especially rough housing games. You could say they are a happy balanced of gender-neutral parenting.
Here’s where I believe this new parenting trend has gone too far. When you don’t tell your children their gender until they are 5 years with the hopes of them choosing their own gender when they are ready to be a boy or girl. I have news for you, your little “bubba” has already been assigned a gender and that happened in the womb at 4 weeks. It’s good for a parent to raise their off spring away from the gender stereotypical roles of society. I mean that’s my parenting aim; I sit in my living room watching tv every evening and I am yet to see a positive representation for both my children.
The world will tell our children, that boys must love football and girls must play with dolls and play dress up. But my problem is, if I allow your son to play with dolls and play dress up but not tell him he’s a boy; then you are setting him for gender confusion.
Secondly, it’s seems to me that society has created a hatred of genders. PERIOD. Not roles, but whether you are a boy or girl. There seems to be a fear nowadays of raising hyper sexualised females and males or even heavens forbid bigots. As if to say if you are born a boy you will develop to be a sexist bigot. Or if you are born a girl, you’ll grow to be a stay at home mum aka housewife where you simply just live for the joy of taking care of your husband and children 🙄😴.
If you haven’t figured it out already, I am raising a black man and dark-skinned black woman, and society has not been favourable to these types of people. Let’s digress for a minute, the #metoo movement was started to help women speak up about being sexually abused and bring the attacker to justice. Now, let’s talk about the black men who have been trailed and convicted on rape charges only to be discovered that no such attack happened. How about the #blacklivesmatter movement, this movement was started because black people in America were being treated unfairly by the police.
Ok, the point I am trying drive is that it’s not neither the colour nor gender of a person determines who they will become. But that of their character, I read someone- and thank God I read it while I was pregnant with my first. That it takes 7 years to develop a character, so in those 7 years parents or parent to be you must develop a character of a confident young man or woman. The aim I believe is not to desire your child to grow to choose a gender, but rather to desire a positive role he or she may want for themselves. It’s ok for your son to want to be a nanny or midwife (yes there are male midwives I met one) and your daughter to want to be a firefighter or footballer. These to me are what gender-neutral roles look like, and not dressing you children in blacks greys and whites because pinks are for girls and blues for boys.
Gender neutral parenting is meant to allow your children to find themselves together with finding comfort in their own genders. To realise that there are no jobs for men and women, and that all jobs can be done by everyone willing and capable.
So, if you’re looking to surround your seed in a gender-neutral environment, remember to also tell them it’s great to be a boy or girl.
Until next time,
Stay blessed, stay positive, stay humbled