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our kids and gender

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone, I was wondering what you were teaching your kids about gender. Our 27 month old DD knows that she is a girl, but we have avoided teaching her about gender beyond that. To her people are people. She does wear pink, but her favorite toys are balls.
I am trying to let her be who she is, and not limit her based on gender.
But I do want her to grow up to be proud of herself as a female, and in all other aspects of herself and family.
What are you doing about teaching your child gender??
Kirsten
post #2 of 7
I don't think there's all that much to teach. Dd was taught that she was a girl due to her biology - she has a vulva and vagina, and boys have penises. That's it.

She is at that preschool age right now, when many kids begin to internalize a lot of gender stereotypes, and will often tell me that, "Andrew said I couldn't play trains because only boys like trains," but I guess we have done a good job, because she goes on to say, "but I told him that everyone can play with whatever they want, and that I'm a girl and I have a train table in my room!" On the other hand, she loves "girly" stuff like pink tutus for dress-up and we don't discourage that, either. I don't want to make the mistake of devaluing "feminine" things in an attempt to be gender-fair, something I think a lot of parents do. I've heard some say, "Oh, I won't let her wear pink; I won't buy her frilly dress-up clothes; I'm just buying her blocks and trucks and balls" and I disagree with that.

I think my daughter is very well-rounded!
post #3 of 7
[QUOTE]Originally posted by LunaMom
[B]I don't think there's all that much to teach. Dd was taught that she was a girl due to her biology - she has a vulva and vagina, and boys have penises. That's it.

I agree with the above. My son knows that he has a penis, as does his father, and that Mommy has a vulva/vagina.
I feel that he is very well-rounded and can often be seen with his hardhat on and his toolbelt around his waist..WHILE having his pink boa around his neck and 'nursing' his babydoll. LOL..He plays with and enjoys "boyish" things and "girly" things equally. His current favorite color seems to be pink, but it was blue for a while..lol..and yellow for a while, too. LOL
I am very happy with who he is and how well-rounded he is thus far!
post #4 of 7
Dp and I have discussed this some. I know that being lesbians has made a little more self-conscious that we'd like about the fact that our daughter plays more happily with boys than with girls. (The exception is girls in the 5-8 age range who love to teach her things.) She plays with dolls (how many poopy doll diapers can you change in 15 minutes?), does art and craft, dresses up in assorted clothes, and is a fine pretend (and real) cook. But her favorite activities are climbing, building, sliding, swinging, running, and make really loud noises.

I catch myself resisting her attempts to have the normal flexible gender identity of the 2-4 set. She asked for neckties for her dressups and I haven't quite gotten around to following up. She asked for a dance class and I've been really responsible about doing the search.

On the other hand, I marvel at her ability to bend the world to her view. She climbed the shopping cart corral the other day. Then she told me "Boys do this." I said "Do girls do it too?" She said "No, only boys." I said "Oh, hmm" as I often do when she is explaining the world to me. The she said "Me older boy." "Ahh," I said. I could not help leaning into her hair and whispering with all my mommy-love "Girls can do anything boys can do." [Our conversation ended when a dad with a like-8 year old boy came by and admired her climbing with nostalgic warmth in his eyes, while ruffling his son's hair.]

When she announces that she is a boy I try to remember that it doesn't make me tense when she tells me she's a tree or a frog or a beekeeper (this week's favorites).

She knows that she's a girl and her mommy and amma are women. She knows the boys and men have penises (and has seen lots of little boy penises) and that girls and women have vulvas. Seems like this information is not connected in her mind with "performed gender" which she clearly sees has not fixed--yet.

What a great journey this is!
post #5 of 7
My babe is only 8 months old, so we don't know what she thinks of it all!

But she is often mistaken to be a boy by strangers, i guess due to her clothes. When that happens, often we play along (she even has a boy's name that we used while she was in utero. It's fun to call her "he")

My deepest hope about this is that she will grow up without assigning a value to either gender, you know? That being a girl won't be better or worse than being a boy.

We have a good amount of transfolks in our lives, and so it may be that as she gets older her gender identity might be really fluid, and we'll probably be supportive and encouraging. I think we can wait until she's 10 or so before we have to explain that it's sometimes dangerous to flout gender norms.

If she turns out to love pink frilly stuff, I am determined to support that, too. it's all about her being able to figure out her own identity and express it in whatever way feels right to her, and pink princess is just as valid as tough tomboy, even though I am scared by the princess thought!

I think it's sad how people get all upset if other people get the gender of their baby wrong. Really, does it matter??? Oh, and how about those little head bands with the bows on 'em? oooh, don't get me started....
post #6 of 7
love this topic..delurking as I was posting a link to queer parenting for a friend, never checked it out before...

Anyway, I have a 6 yo DD who was shocked when she learned that some people beleive only girls can do some things and vice versa. She hasa very machistic Grandpa who she rarely sees and she knows how he is...but just milks him for gifts when he shows up and then leaves it...telling us he has some issues... I have worked with her alot when times came up since school started with "only girls/only boys" stuff. Yet kids notice her indifference to this and have actually not played with her b/c she seemed weird to them...sad but true. I do have to be careful b/c she is sooo accepting that a -albeit very sweet-developmentally disabled approx. 16yo boy was dropped off at the park and started playig with her. She did not judge him and played, but although he was well mannered I had to push the "we don't touch so much rule" cause a 16yo boy and a 6yo boy are different... This is where lines get weird.

Anyway, to my 2 yo DS, admirerer (sp?) of his big sis. Oh I hear it all. It was never an issue when DD played with trucks, sports, etc. but with DS it started with his hair. "Why don't you cut it? He looks like a girl!" I respond, "A pretty girl, I know!" Or when I threw on Big sissy old shirt and he looked "pretty" and then Itold admiring people yes, he is a boy...but he likes girls clothes too..lmao..ahh the fun. I admit I goof with it. Who cares,?!?! Those who make a deal Ijust say" If he wasa girl few would care if he like STEREOTYPICAL boy stuff, shed be a cute "tomboy" . Of course Ican repress it and he will be a 40 yo in the closet cross dresser-like I see at my job..." Ya had to see what isaw at work..some men must have snuck out (I worked 3rd shift) for the thrill..and annoyance when I didn't care.

Anyway, my view is don't stress it, but explain that some people do jusge based on sex/color/etc. but you do not..etc.
post #7 of 7
de lurking to say that I also agree. I think there is little to "teach" per se. but that its more about balance . I also see it as being much much harder for parents of boys to strike a balance then it is for parents of girls.


Lea
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