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How to Make Your Kids Think Outside the Gender Box

I am a professional teacher, writer, researcher, and learner. I always try to learn because there is no age for learning.

How to Make Your Kids Think Outside the Gender Box

As more and more states legalize same-sex marriage, people in general are becoming more accepting of the LGBT community, but the fact that we’re still even discussing this topic says something about how open-minded we really are. The problem isn’t just limited to marriage equality, either; there are still people who think it’s not okay to be transgender, and plenty of parents out there don’t have the faintest idea how to tell their kids that they’re allowed to fall in love with anyone they want, regardless of what gender they identify as.

Beyond Gender

What is Gender?

In a broad sense, gender is simply how we identify with regard to our sex; so, if you’re a girl who identifies as a girl, then your gender is female.

What are the Consequences of Stereotypical Gender Roles?

The late-1960s free love era of hippies and communes led many people to believe that gender roles were becoming a thing of past. However, as scholar Stephanie Coontz points out in her insightful book, Marriage, A History, traditional masculinity and femininity reemerged in full force during what she calls the second wave of feminism. She writes: The second wave redefined masculinity as well as femininity: The new men were sensitive communicators who did not have to prove their power by raping women or beating up other men; they listened and understood, shared housework and childcare equally.

Ways To Raise Emotionally Whole Children

Help your kids understand that gender doesn’t define who they are. Rather, encourage them to pursue interests and develop skills, no matter how feminine or masculine they may seem. By doing so, you help them become happier human beings—and citizens of a more tolerant society. As children grow into adults, their gender identity will evolve naturally; there’s no need for parents to push it along. Just make sure not to discourage your child if he or she gravitates toward activities normally associated with another gender. If you do so, you risk sending a clear message: your child is unworthy of interest because he/she can't live up to society's expectations of what it means to be male or female.

Women

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Playing Sports

It doesn’t matter whether you enroll your son in basketball or your daughter in soccer—the reality is that children who participate in sports tend to develop healthier, stronger bodies and minds. In addition, playing a sport can give kids confidence and help build their self-esteem. Sports are one of those activities that, if done right, teach life lessons we can all use along the way: how to win gracefully and lose graciously; how to keep going even when things get tough; how to work with others toward a common goal...and so much more. So encourage them to try something new! It might just change their life for good.


Boys Wear Dresses

Although a parent's job is not to enforce stereotypes, they should open their minds and keep an open dialogue with their children. Parents should be able to have discussions about gender without feeling judged and without making their child feel like they are somehow doing something wrong. It is okay for boys to wear dresses, it is not okay for them not to be allowed in because of their gender. Teach your children that there isn't just one way of thinking, but multiple ways of thinking and multiple ways of expressing yourself. If you teach your children that it is okay for them to question society's norms then you will empower them as individuals who can stand up for themselves, regardless of what other people think or say about them. My parents never enforced certain roles onto me because I was a girl.

Colors hide Gender

Girls Can Be Anything They Want

Research shows that even preschoolers are aware of stereotypes about boys and girls, and they play up to them—or against them. By mid-adolescence, many girls’ self-esteem is influenced by appearance concerns; more boys’ self-esteem relies on athletic or academic prowess. In short, gender stereotypes make you think girls can be anything they want! are true. They aren’t yet.

Take A Stand Against Bullying And Teasing

Sometimes it’s hard for parents to tell whether a child is simply going through a phase, or has been teased and needs their parent’s help. When you notice that your child is struggling with bullying and teasing, take a stand against it. Don’t wait until someone else—your neighbor, your friend, your kid’s teacher—takes care of it. Protecting your children means teaching them how to protect themselves when they can’t yet do so on their own.

The Importance Of Unconditional Love In Raising Our Children

When we learn how to unconditionally love our children, it also teaches them that they are loved not just for being a good boy or a good girl but rather just because they exist. This is one of the most important things we can teach our children and is something that I believe all parents should focus on teaching their kids.

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Ghulam Nabi Memon

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