Beyond the pinks and blues
More and more parents are deciding to raise their kids gender-neutral. Experts explain what it is; when parents should start, and how it affects a child's development.
Our society that is so gendered is not really setting our kids up for success. Gender-neutral parenting thinks about fostering good skills or traits for all humans to grow up with, so that then they'll be successful no matter what society is saying they should or shouldn't do. We know that children are shaped by early experiences really profoundly, at the level of the brain, the body, health, and well-being, the effects of caregiving, even with small variations, can have a significant impact.
The days of telling little girls to play with dolls and little boys to stick with trucks are long gone—and for good reason. Thanks to the rise of gender-neutral toys, kids have the freedom to play and explore without being restricted by stereotypical gender roles.
Parents are now dividing domestic chores equally among themselves so that children can learn that there are no gender-specific roles at home. They are narrating stories of inspiring women and nonviolent heroic men to teach children there is no concept called the weaker sex. These parents are open to letting their boys and girls choose the kind of toys they want — no more cars for boys and dolls for girls.
The preference goes beyond toys. These urban millennial parents want to break the norm that pink is for girls and blue is for boys. Gender-neutral upbringing empowers kids to be confident in their choices and expression. It makes them open minded individuals who can have stronger conversations to fight gender stereotypes and biases as they grow up.
How to Raise a Gender-Neutral Child.
Gender-neutral parenting psychology can be tricky. Here are a few science-backed tips.
1. Avoid the pink and blue themes:
You can get them gender-neutral clothes, and encourage them to wear neutral colours. However, if your child naturally gravitates towards either pink or blue, don’t discourage them. Teach them that all colours are equal, and they can choose whatever they like.
2. Encourage girls and boys to play together:
You can enter your child in mixed-gender activities, sports, and playgroups.
3. Introduce them to role models:
Expose your children to role models like male nurses, female engineers and mechanics, and so on. Your child will be encouraged if they learn about people who challenge gender stereotypes, and express themselves in a gender-fluid manner.
4. Teach them that being different is okay:
It is important to teach and reassure your child that being gender-neutral might be slightly different to others, but is still completely okay, positive, and normal.
5. Encourage free expression in a safe space:
Support them in whatever choice they make. They may choose to express themselves in ways that are or aren’t characteristic of their biological gender. Let them keep their possibilities open.
6. Teach them about sexism:
This will equip them better for the future, and help them realise that gender division is not due to the difference in ability, but due to a culture which is stereotypical.
7. Remember that toys have no gender:
Let your child play with a wide variety of toys which are not segregated as being toys for boys or girls.
Most importantly, the decision to raise a gender-neutral child should not be to make the child a symbol of social change; it should be to give the child freedom to decide their own identity, free from any gender limitations.
It's the only way forward; Gender Neutrality and Gender Inclusion
Gender neutrality and gender inclusion in the language ultimately necessitates awareness, knowledge and a commitment towards achieving the same. A strenuous challenge in gender neutral drafting lies ahead but manning up is most certainly not the way to go about it.
LET THE WORLD BE BEYOND PINK AND BLUE, LET IT BE PURPLE OR YELLOW OR GREEN.