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Parents keep child's sex secret - What do you think?

post #1 of 224
Thread Starter 

http://www.parentcentral.ca/parent/babiespregnancy/babies/article/995112--parents-keep-child-s-gender-secret

post #2 of 224

I wouldn't go as far as to hide my child's sex after it was born, but I agree with all their points.

post #3 of 224

our three year old knows (only if asked) what he is but he is being raised gender neutral

 

we did say his sex when he was born but requested ONLY gender neutral clothing/toys and still do

 

he is dressed neutral and gets a far better reception from strangers since they think he is not a male

 

we are raising him neutral and plan to keep this as long as we can

post #4 of 224

A swedish couple was in the news for doing the same thing a couple years ago.  I haven't ever seen an update on that story, it would be interesting to see how things changed as the child got older.

post #5 of 224

I don't really have an opinion about it, but I did think this was kind of funny:

 

“What we noticed is that parents make so many choices for their children. It’s obnoxious,” says Stocker.

I thought this was funny, because these parents are making a choice for their children by choosing to raise them "genderless".

post #6 of 224

I doubt how much this impacts a kid in the long-term. Interesting social experiment but not much value,imo, beyond that. 

post #7 of 224

It's admirable for the reasons they state, but I have to wonder how long they can keep it up. I mean, their other children were not raised by keeping their sex a secret, and based on the few photos, it doesn't seem like they have been super affected by "gender roles" that society creates. 

One of my prof's last quarter told us how her daughter was raising her daughter gender neutral. I mean, everyone knew she was a girl, but the mom refused to accept any pink gifts. Of course, as soon as the girl was old enough to talk, or know how to point out what she wanted, she wanted EVERYTHING pink! Kudos to the parents for letting their daughter make her own decision about what she wanted. And just because she wanted pink does NOT mean that their plan failed... she wanted it, and that's what's important!

I think as long as those parents in the OP really do let their child decide how to live based on gender roles, it will be wonderful. But I'm not quite sure how it will affect hir in the future. I mean, it will all depend on how s/he sees hirself, because even though we hate to admit it, gender is probably the easiest way we have to define ourselves. 

post #8 of 224
There's nothing wrong with letting a child tell you what their gender is (because that has nothing to do with genitalia) and what they're like, but by making such a big deal about it, they're putting a huge weight on their kids. Like this:
Quote:
But he doesn’t like being called a girl. Recently, he asked his mom to write a note on his application to the High Park Nature Centre because he likes the group leaders and wants them to know he’s a boy.
It's obviously bothering the kid to some extent. Instead of just letting the kid be who he is, the parents are burdening him with also having to inform people of his gender and deal with assumptions and judgement. That puts him in the middle between society and his parents. Maybe some of his "don't care" attitude has to do with not wanting to upset his parents.

The problem is that gender has to do with the way your brain works. You can dress a boy however you want or call him gender neutral pronouns all day, but what it comes down to is that males and females have certain interests and aesthetics and that will come out in the end. It definitely is creating a divide between him and the average child, like with them keeping him out of school to protect him from having to deal with comments and questions. It just seems like the parents are making a lot of big choices for him in saying that they're letting him make choices for himself.
post #9 of 224

 

Quote:

he is dressed neutral and gets a far better reception from strangers since they think he is not a male

I'm curious about this. How do you dress a child gender-neutral? I mean, I realise not all clothes are pink or blue, but the vast majority of commercial clothes are "coded" to some degree - button-down shirts, cargo pants, stockings etc are generally viewed as "more" male or female. The only exception I can think of is maybe plain T-shirts in certain colours. But if people who meet your DS think he's female, is that what he's wearing - plain T-shirts and trousers - or clothes that are more often associated with girls?

 

I'm just mentally trawling through DD's wardrobe, trying to think of all the gender-neutral stuff she has. Not a lot. She likes dresses and pink and purple - the latter NOT by my urging - but even her less "girly" stuff is still, well, girly to a degree. She has one button-down shirt my grandmother bought her, which was made for boys (I don't think Grandma would have bought it if she'd realised - heh!), but even her brown corduroy trousers seem pretty obviously designed for a girl, you know?

post #10 of 224

IMG_4056.JPGIMG_4713.JPGIMG_4759.JPG

 

Quote:
How do you dress a child gender-neutral? 

 

 

solids & stripes NO pink, NO blue (my DH hates blue!)--same way I dressed my DD! most are hand me downs-she wasn't into dresses

 

lots of tan shorts and pants plus jeans

 

tons of vintage clothing (shirts both male and female-no one looks at buttons)-we do 90% recycled clothing(by choice not because of $), mostly vintage (50-& 60's)

what "patterned" shirts we have are old and can go either way

 

we did a navy pea coat this winter

our raincoat is a turtle

we use a windbreaker

high-top sneakers (yellow, green black)

strap sandals

 

his undies are new, JC Penny's solid colors and patterns with dots and flowers-socks are white mostly with blue and red, solid and some old fold-down white ankles 

 

 

 

 

it's really very easy when you don't buy at a box store or at a mall, old stuff is made better and last longer


Edited by serenbat - 5/24/11 at 5:04am
post #11 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post

 

I'm curious about this. How do you dress a child gender-neutral? I mean, I realise not all clothes are pink or blue, but the vast majority of commercial clothes are "coded" to some degree - button-down shirts, cargo pants, stockings etc are generally viewed as "more" male or female. The only exception I can think of is maybe plain T-shirts in certain colours. But if people who meet your DS think he's female, is that what he's wearing - plain T-shirts and trousers - or clothes that are more often associated with girls?

 

I'm just mentally trawling through DD's wardrobe, trying to think of all the gender-neutral stuff she has. Not a lot. She likes dresses and pink and purple - the latter NOT by my urging - but even her less "girly" stuff is still, well, girly to a degree. She has one button-down shirt my grandmother bought her, which was made for boys (I don't think Grandma would have bought it if she'd realised - heh!), but even her brown corduroy trousers seem pretty obviously designed for a girl, you know?


I think "boy" clothes can be more gender-neutral. "Girl clothes" seem to have lots of pleats and bows and pink and flowers and dresses -- the clothes are just cut to scream "girl"... but "boy clothes" tend to have simpler lines, basic colors, less patterns, etc. I guess we dress DS gender-neutral, though some of his clothes do seem more boyish and others seem more girly (his clothes are all hand-me-downs)... Like he has a plaid dress shirt that he wears to church, which seems "boyish" (though still lots of people mistake him for a girl when he wears it) and he has girl's sandals that are mary-jane style, gray with pink trim... we don't have dresses/skirts/lace/monster trucks/batman shirts/etc. for him though. I find that his long hair just makes people not even LOOK at his clothes -- they just assume he's a girl, no matter what he's wearing... I save all DS's clothes for future kids, and whether we have another boy or a girl next time around, he/she will wear the same set of clothes. I think it would be harder with a girl though -- grandma has already talked about buying little dresses etc. for our yet-to-be-conceived baby girl. That kind of frustrates me. Some clothes are just hard to pass of as neutral...

I don't think I could keep my child's sex a secret (even though IRL we don't make a big deal out of him being a boy and if people refer to him as 'she' I don't say a thing). I feel like secrets could make my child feel ashamed of who he/she really is. There's no shame in being male or female and you can still question gender norms without making it all a big secret.
post #12 of 224

we dress our child in gender neutral clothing and are raising her neutrally.  she isn't currently being pressured by society or the media to conform to gender stereotypes (helps that we're tv free and she's home all day) and is therefore able to choose for herself what she is interested in.  she is currently obsessed with tractors if that gives you a sense of where we are.  i think that for many people it is just much easier to go along with what is currently prescribed as relating to particular gender ideals, and whenever these posts come up, there are always snarky folks...  i'm kind of over debating it with people.  it's pretty obvious that the trend is to highly stereotype children, their clothing, their toys and their activities.  we're trying to get beyond all that.

post #13 of 224

I think it's ridiculous, personally.  I agree with what Sping Lily wrote.  It seems like the parent's 'cause' and a good way to alienate the child.  I mean what happens when they go to school?    as someone who was brought up 'different' from my peers (not gender related) it's something I'd never do to my kids unless they signaled some kind of need. 

 

 

post #14 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeckyBird View Post

I don't really have an opinion about it, but I did think this was kind of funny:

 

“What we noticed is that parents make so many choices for their children. It’s obnoxious,” says Stocker.

I thought this was funny, because these parents are making a choice for their children by choosing to raise them "genderless".


I thought that was funny too! I think the ultimate helicopter parent is the one who protects their child from gender identity! I do think, however, that baby clothes have gotten ridiculous lately with the whole gender distinction. I was looking at pictures of my dad when he was a baby, and he was in a white lacy dress (circa 1943 England). As a cloth diaperer, I think putting a baby boy in a dress would be awesome!
post #15 of 224

 

 

Quote:
 I mean what happens when they go to school? 

 

they get into school and find out how bigoted some people are (and have been raised by parents that do not understand gender issues))

 

they become ostracized and many are bullied, some commit suicide, others are scared for life-------------please look at the trasngender, gay community, etc

post #16 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

 

 

 

they get into school and find out how bigoted some people are (and have been raised by parents that do not understand gender issues))

 

they become ostracized and many are bullied, some commit suicide, others are scared for life-------------please look at the trasngender, gay community, etc


but what if this is not a transgender child?  What if this child has no gender confusion at all?  Except that which the parent has created for them?  

IDK maybe I just don't get it.  

 

post #17 of 224

I guess the biggest thing this would change would be what people bought for the child. Personally I don't think dresses or toy trucks are the issue. The issue is if a boy asks for a baby doll or a girl asks for a toy truck and you say no, that's not for girls/boys. I plan on letting my LO choose his toys and clothes. I think the genderless thing is odd, but to each their own

post #18 of 224
I don't let DD choose her own clothes for logistical reasons (ie, I don't have enough money to let my two year old decide what she needs). I do let her guide me with toy buying, however. She loves trains and cars etc. She also loves to build with blocks. Right now, if I had to guess what her career choice would be, I would say engineer or architect.
post #19 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by D_McG View Post

I think it's ridiculous, personally.  I agree with what Sping Lily wrote.  It seems like the parent's 'cause' and a good way to alienate the child.  I mean what happens when they go to school?    as someone who was brought up 'different' from my peers (not gender related) it's something I'd never do to my kids unless they signaled some kind of need. 

 

 

you realize that not all children go to school, right?  unschooling and homeschooling are a few choices. 

 

and you also realize that there are parents, such as myself, who strive for gender neutral parenting, as i posted above.  i don't think it's very kind to call someone's parenting choice 'ridiculous.'
 

 

post #20 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy212 View Post

I guess the biggest thing this would change would be what people bought for the child.


Very true. If your child is genderless, you certainly don't have to deal with people buying dresses and frilly pink dolls or an excessive amount of trucks. I bet it will be interesting to see what the child chooses & naturally gravitates toward.
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