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#1 of 97 Old 04-11-2010, 09:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How do you feel about gender neutral parenting?

I read an article about a couple who chose no to tell people their 2yr old's gender, and while I think that is exreme, the idea is interesting.

With my ds I try to buy toys and clothes that a boy or a girl could use, yet dispite that and not watching tv, he STILL uses his hand as a gun or a sword (while carrying a baby doll on his back). Is it even possible to raise a gender neutral child or are they just wired so differently that it is impossible? And is it even a good idea to try? or should girls be raised 'pink' and boys raised 'blue'?
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#2 of 97 Old 04-11-2010, 09:11 PM
 
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I think there's a healthy middle ground between "pink" and "blue" parenting and gender neutral parenting.

I believe that on a bell curve, boys and girls are different. There's nothing wrong, IMO, with acknowledging the probability that girls might like/be like XYZ to a greater degree than boys, as long as you simultaneously acknowledge that they might not be. I think it's just as damaging to prevent a "girly" girl indulging her love for stereotypically girly things as it is to push those things on her. In theory, gender-neutral parents wouldn't necessarily do that, but I can imagine some would in practice (as it'd be a little embarrassing to preach about the virtues of gender-neutrality while yur daughter paraded past in a pink Princess tutu and glitter lipstick, pushing a pram - you know?).

So - I dunno. I'd need a better definition of "gender-neutral parenting", I think. What would it involve? Not pushing gender-specific toys and activities on kids? Not letting them use gender-segregated bathrooms? Allowing boys to wear girls' clothes if they want? Buying them an equal number of girls' and boys' clothes as a matter of course?

I think most kids are more "gender-neutral" than we give them credit for. People make comments about how maternal my two-year-old daughter is, because she's notoriously clucky around babies. But she also has perpetually skinned knees and loves trains, trucks, tractors and cars - "boy" things. I think people sometimes overlook the latter because they notice the baby thing first and peg her as a "girl". You know? They see what they expect to see. If she were a boy they might notice the cars thing more obviously, because they expected to find that attribute in her. Him. Whatever.

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#3 of 97 Old 04-11-2010, 09:12 PM
 
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If it helps my DD also pretends to have guns and swords, while my 1st DS has a baby. We just get them toys that they like and they share amongst themselves. I'm not worried that I'm raising a chauvinist just because my son has more interest in cars then barbies. That's just what he likes.

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#4 of 97 Old 04-11-2010, 09:29 PM
 
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I haven't gone gender neutral and don't see any need to. As a mother I did some things that were very gender specific that I hope my dd will do if she has a child. I hope she loves the gender she is and doesn't associate being a woman as limiting or something to hide behind neutral activities and belongings or only doing things traditionally associated with girls. I want her to be happy with who she is and embrace what she loves without questioning whether she should or not. I don't think neutral is the way to go though.

I think that girls and boys should be able to follow their interests, and I really don't like the push towards saying that a toy or color should be associated with a specific gender and that we should avoid these or only give each gender these. Toys are toys and kids should get to interact with the ones that interest them. I get my dd toys she enjoys. We have a wide variety of cars, trains and tracks, building toys, dinosaurs, dolls, play animals, etc... and my dd uses them frequently and enjoys them.
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#5 of 97 Old 04-11-2010, 09:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'd need a better definition of "gender-neutral parenting"
This is something else I wonder about - because 'gender neutral' by definition means 'not specifially 'boy' or 'girl'' - BUT does that mean you ONLY buy gender neutral clothes like jeans and white shirts, and toys like art supplies and books, and only do non-gender associated activites like swimming... OR does it mean you buy both boys and girls clothes/toys, and sign your son up for ballet and karate.

I'm not sure which is meant when people say they are raising their kids neutral.
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#6 of 97 Old 04-11-2010, 09:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh and I just have my ds, and most of his friends his age are boys... I think it would be much easier to 'not have to think about it' so much if you had a boy and a girl, esp. if they are close in age b/c then toys/clothes could be shared and it would be easier for the kids to have options of both kinds of things.
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#7 of 97 Old 04-11-2010, 10:12 PM
 
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I'm not sure what the exact definition of gender neutral childrearing is, but I would say that we don't do anything affirmative to be neutral...we just don't say anything negative about DD's choices. For example, she loves wearing tutus but she also shows great interest in being a mechanic (for some reason she finds the idea of fixing things cool). Unlike my parents (whom I love but with whom I often disagree), I wouldn't tell DD she couldn't do something or discourage her from doing something because it is a boy's thing. I was told that I couldn't do things because I was a girl. I promised myself that I would never do that to a daughter. Oddly, my parents and I were often at odds because I didn't dress DD in pink. So what? I mean, it's not like I dressed her in clothes specifically made for boys, but brown was a popular color and I thought the clothes were fun. A lot of DD's toys are art related but that is because she loves art. She has dolls, trucks and games. She is who she is and I'm not going to sweat over things that give her pleasure at play.

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#8 of 97 Old 04-11-2010, 10:18 PM
 
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I guess it's like saying Attachment Parenting. It's just too vague. I don't and won't force my child into gender specific roles or behaviors. But I consider that basic common sense parenting. If my girl wants to play knights or my boy wants to play kitchen then all the better for them. Looking back at my childhood, I know I came from a more gender neutral family, but it all seems normal to me. My brothers can cook and do laundry and care for babies better than most of the girlfriends I've met in my life. Meanwhile I can change the oil on my car, do basic plumbing/electric and other housework, etc. Of course, those are trivial examples of gender roles. It had more to do with my parents simply unconditionally accepting us and trying to give us resources and skills for our lives so we could do what we wanted, not so we could fit into a mold.

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#9 of 97 Old 04-11-2010, 10:29 PM
 
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I wouldn't tell DD she couldn't do something or discourage her from doing something because it is a boy's thing. I was told that I couldn't do things because I was a girl.
ITA. This is as far as I take GNP (Gender neutral Parenting, we are saying it a lot, I am abbreviating it ) Like PP mentioned, there is a lot of ground between an entirely blue existence, and not reveling gender.

My DS is very young, but he likes to head butt and ram trucks together and he even likes to brush barbie doll hair.
I don't think that he is going to be a sissy and I don't think I am going to 'make him' gay. I think it is a valuable skill to be able to play with the opposite gender. Men in the workplace are having whole seminars on this! If only their mothers would have let them brush barbie hair with the girls.

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#10 of 97 Old 04-11-2010, 10:37 PM
 
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I try to be as GN as practical. I always by the GN version of things, and if my older dd has a choice she often (maybe even usually) choses the boy version of things. I havn't kept score but she really likes pirates and star wars. The younger one's baby blanket is blue, and that was somewhat chance but I felt no need for pink or to get a different one. I buy mostly gender neutral clothes, though we've been given a lot of clothes and those are usually pretty girly. We have lots of trucks and trains and things in our house, but we also have dolls and a play kitchen. If something comes in primary colors or pink and purple, I get the primary color one.
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#11 of 97 Old 04-11-2010, 10:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a friend who has a ds the same age as mine, her dh will NOT let her ds have anything remotly girly (he wouldnt let his son play on a pink ride on car at a kids playroom place b/c he thought it would 'turn him gay', and wont let him wear a speck of pink on any of his clothes.... )

My ds couldnt care less what color he wears, and I usually make his clothes so I go for bright colors and embelish them however I feel like (his spring shirt is bright green with multi colored flowers on it for example, but its a boys button up shirt pattern)
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#12 of 97 Old 04-11-2010, 10:51 PM
 
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I try to parent my children according to their needs and interests, rather than according to gender. A lot of the things that my kids do are 'gender neutral'. Both kids are really into stuffed animals right now. Are stuffed animals 'girl' toys or 'boy' toys? I dunno. I do know that they fill a need for each child. Ds has invented great stories about his menagerie of stuffed animals (including the Animal Olympics and the ANC (animal news channel)).

Both also play soccer and this year, baseball/tee ball. Both ride their bikes and scooters. Ds plays more with girls than boys. Is it because he's the only boy in the neighborhood or because he's a sensitive new age kind of guy? (He is.) He doesn't like violent play or rough and tumble play. He's only recently become interested in sports.

My kids also have some pretty gendered behaviors. Ds was fascinated with all things with wheels from a very early age. The child would wake from a sound sleep when he heard the garbage truck several blocks away -- for 2 years, we could not miss seeing the garbage truck when it came. Dd watched too, but only because her brother did. Dd is much more into caregiving and pretending about families. Dd sat down and pretended to change her doll's diaper at 15 months, something her brother never did. Ever. Dd wants to do dance, ds is mortified at the thought.

If my kids have access to a range of toys and a range of models for how to live, then that's the best I can do. I am the WOH parent and dh works from home. So, they have a great model of parents doing different things. I do the gardening and a lot of outside yard care, but dh does more house maintenance. We both do laundry and cook. We both do dishes and baths.

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#13 of 97 Old 04-11-2010, 11:03 PM
 
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I love the fact that my DS likes to wear his baby, has to have the pink or purple cup and plate ect. I didn't want to raise a boy who knew those things to be only for girls. My DDs both love playing with cars, blocks, and trains.

When I had my first child I didn't put a lot of thought into those things, it wasn't until I had a boy did it really hit me that I am one of the only people I knew at the time who "allowed" there boy to love those activities.

I don't try to do neutral parenting as I don't know anything about it, I just do what feels right and hope he turns out to be a great husband and father and a very nurturing person.

This thread is interesting.

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#14 of 97 Old 04-11-2010, 11:36 PM
 
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I'd need a better definition of "gender-neutral parenting", I think.
How about a whole different term. How about gender flexible parenting. Where the parent is OK with their kid loving tutus and sparkles and pink, whatever the child's gender is. The parent is OK if the child loves construction vehicles and every thing football and blue, whatever the child's gender is. The parent is fine if the child loves nature and books and yellow, whatever the child's gender is.

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#15 of 97 Old 04-12-2010, 12:39 AM
 
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This is something else I wonder about - because 'gender neutral' by definition means 'not specifially 'boy' or 'girl'' - BUT does that mean you ONLY buy gender neutral clothes like jeans and white shirts, and toys like art supplies and books, and only do non-gender associated activites like swimming... OR does it mean you buy both boys and girls clothes/toys, and sign your son up for ballet and karate.

I'm not sure which is meant when people say they are raising their kids neutral.
The problem with the term 'gender neutral' is that different people have a different idea of what it takes to be gender neutral. There are parents who don't purchase anything that can be associated with a gender in the name of being gender neutral, but what they are really doing is being non-gendered. There are parents who refuse to allow anything for their child's biological gender in the house in the name of being gender neutral, but they are still being gender specific.

Gender neutral is allowing your child access to things across the board, not limiting based on some preconceived idea of what is proper, or some preconceived idea of what is "sticking it to society". Most gender neutral children will likely fall on one side of the gender line when it comes to toys/activities or the other, but it is the side they choose not the side chosen for them.

Gender neutral means that inanimate objects have no gender period. Dolls are not a girl thing and trucks are not a boy thing. They just things.

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#16 of 97 Old 04-12-2010, 02:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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How about a whole different term. How about gender flexible parenting. Where the parent is OK with their kid loving tutus and sparkles and pink, whatever the child's gender is. The parent is OK if the child loves construction vehicles and every thing football and blue, whatever the child's gender is. The parent is fine if the child loves nature and books and yellow, whatever the child's gender is.
I like this.
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#17 of 97 Old 04-12-2010, 03:36 AM
 
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We have a "girly girl." I have always been attracted to the idea of androgyny and have been very insistent that the differences between men and women are largely, if not wholly, manufactured. So somewhere, that does inform my parenting. However, what I find myself doing is much as other pp; just following dd's lead.

I do make a conscious effort to switch my gender references; as in, I don't default to calling everything "he" or "him." I read somewhere that you should try not to refer to your CHILD as only one gender, in case he/she doesn't identify with that gender. So if you have a girl, you would switch up calling her him/her. I haven't done that.

What I focus on is making sure that the things dd has are functional, rather than souped-up girly stuff. For example, we just bought her a new 2-wheel bike. I had no problem with it being purple; but I refused to buy the pink bike with the streamers that could get caught in things and the cheap plastic pedals. I have a major pet peeve with how gendered sports equipment for kids is, for that reason. So we searched for a bike that was purple, but was a real bike.

I am also on the lookout for toys/behaviours/clothes that would be limiting for dd. She is very sports-minded and we are an active family. Dresses and skirts, even tutus, are fine even to the playground (with shorts); dress-up heels are not.

I don't wear makeup or shave my legs, but I won't mind if dd does (I suspect she will). She can go to grandma's house for that and I will buy her stuff if she asks.

She plays more with boys than girls and THAT is something I want to preserve. She's getting a healthy range of interests from her playmates, I think. I can't stand "girls only" stuff at her age-6-and I think that does teach that boys and girls should do different things. We just said no to a "separate gender" soccer team for that reason. If she asks to be with all girls, I will honour that; though I will talk with her about it. I am also looking for a gender-inclusive alternative to Sparks and Brownies, too. And we talk about inclusivity in sexuality/marriage, too. That's important to us. I guess this, too, is a pick-your-battles kind of thing.
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#18 of 97 Old 04-12-2010, 08:30 AM
 
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How about a whole different term. How about gender flexible parenting.
I love it.

A big "gender flexible" situation just came up in our house. Two years ago we bought a bike for DS. He picked it out, and it happened to be hot pink. I was fine with that, DH was fine with that. Now technically he can use the bike another year or two. But I have decided because he is starting school in August, and will be biking home every day, that he can have a new bike. DD will get his old bike. Why? Honestly, because I don't want him getting harassed when he starts school, by the older kids at school who think he has a "sissy girly bike" or whatever. I don't know if this will happen or not. But I want to help the transition, which I think is HUGE. DS will of course pick out his new bike. But I am pretty confident he will choose something red or blue or spiderman.... type. So I could just stop here and say he needs a new bike and feel good that I am being totally gender neutral by having him pick it out. But if I have to be brutally honest, well then, part of it is because I don't want him to get hurt or feel bad.... I can't prevent all hurt in his life, but sometimes I still try.
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#19 of 97 Old 04-12-2010, 09:38 AM
 
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Why on earth would you want to parent you child in a gender neutral way... you child is *not* gender neutral? This to me is akin to the whole... "We aren't racist because we don't see color... well, not seeing someone's color, embracing it, and loving it is racist."

My kiddos are stamped as either male or female and I want to celebrate the differences between the two based on that. Afterall, we are NOT the same.
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#20 of 97 Old 04-12-2010, 10:32 AM
 
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I don't believe in pushing pink and Barbie down girls' throats and trucks and blue down boys'. If they naturally like that, cool. If not, that's cool too.

When I was in high school I worked at a daycare. I actually got told off by one of the teachers (I was a TA) for letting a little boy go play "kitchen". Are you f-ing serious?! I honestly think that might have had something to do with my schedule suddenly becoming "incompatable".

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#21 of 97 Old 04-12-2010, 10:52 AM
 
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Why on earth would you want to parent you child in a gender neutral way... you child is *not* gender neutral? This to me is akin to the whole... "We aren't racist because we don't see color... well, not seeing someone's color, embracing it, and loving it is racist."

My kiddos are stamped as either male or female and I want to celebrate the differences between the two based on that. Afterall, we are NOT the same.

I agree. I have a boy, not a gender neutral baby. Things can be gender neutral I suppose, but people are not.

My son wears blue a lot because he looks really really good in it. He happily plays in the toy kitchen at the library, and then runs over and knocks all the chairs down at the reading tables.

I read about the people who did not reveal their child's gender and meh-not interested in using my son as some kind of random social experiment.

Also, I did not like the publicity aspect they seemed to be courting as well. I really got the idea in the end it was about THEM, and not about their child.
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#22 of 97 Old 04-12-2010, 11:00 AM
 
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I think there's a healthy middle ground between "pink" and "blue" parenting and gender neutral parenting.

I believe that on a bell curve, boys and girls are different. There's nothing wrong, IMO, with acknowledging the probability that girls might like/be like XYZ to a greater degree than boys, as long as you simultaneously acknowledge that they might not be. I think it's just as damaging to prevent a "girly" girl indulging her love for stereotypically girly things as it is to push those things on her. In theory, gender-neutral parents wouldn't necessarily do that, but I can imagine some would in practice (as it'd be a little embarrassing to preach about the virtues of gender-neutrality while yur daughter paraded past in a pink Princess tutu and glitter lipstick, pushing a pram - you know?).

So - I dunno. I'd need a better definition of "gender-neutral parenting", I think. What would it involve? Not pushing gender-specific toys and activities on kids? Not letting them use gender-segregated bathrooms? Allowing boys to wear girls' clothes if they want? Buying them an equal number of girls' and boys' clothes as a matter of course?

I think most kids are more "gender-neutral" than we give them credit for. People make comments about how maternal my two-year-old daughter is, because she's notoriously clucky around babies. But she also has perpetually skinned knees and loves trains, trucks, tractors and cars - "boy" things. I think people sometimes overlook the latter because they notice the baby thing first and peg her as a "girl". You know? They see what they expect to see. If she were a boy they might notice the cars thing more obviously, because they expected to find that attribute in her. Him. Whatever.
That exactly.

I have 2 boys. We've raised them to pick out whatever toys they want, which included my now almost 4 year old throwing a monsterous tantrum when my mom took him shopping once because all he wanted was a baby doll.

We've let them grow their hair long, which has brought on so many comments towards us for "allowing" it. They play with whatever they want. My 8 year old has corrected his teacher when she said pink was a girl color. My younger son requested I paint his toenails a pretty pink last night.

But they're both obsessed with guns, wrestling, sports, all the "typical" boy stuff. It's nothing we've done, it's just who they are. So I really don't care if my toenail painted young son wants to play lightsabers. We give them lots of choices and let them decide who they want to be.
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#23 of 97 Old 04-12-2010, 11:49 AM
 
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I have a 21 month old sweet little girl. This seems to be a really hard age to find clothes that do not have a clear gender message. Even the polos for girls are 'girly'. And, I won't even go into the things they print on the shirts now. Well, I am sure you know. I try to block all that out.

My DD loves dinosaurs and tigers. She is not in balet. She doesn't even know what a princess is. She likes pink, but she also loves orange to death right now. She would love to wear a firetruck like her uncle drives.

I constantly go over to the boys side to look for clothes. I get nearly all her pants and shorts over there. I look for pink boy polos. I get her dino and tiger shirts. I got her plain khaki overalls from the boys dept, because every single girls' equivelant was pink and frilly. My husband constantly tells me, "that is boyish." I ask why, and it usually boils down to, "there is no pink."

She wears dresses. I just want her to know that she can wear things that aren't girly too. I don't want her to tell me a plain white polo is for a boy when she grows up.

However, when we go out I always make it quite clear she is a girl, whether through her hair, pink shoes, a pink hat, pink undershirt.

So I guess I am sending the message to her, "you can wear boys clothing, but you still are a girl." I consider myslef pretty progressive in this area but I guess I am not as far as GNP.
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#24 of 97 Old 04-12-2010, 01:16 PM
 
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Why on earth would you want to parent you child in a gender neutral way... you child is *not* gender neutral? This to me is akin to the whole... "We aren't racist because we don't see color... well, not seeing someone's color, embracing it, and loving it is racist."

My kiddos are stamped as either male or female and I want to celebrate the differences between the two based on that. Afterall, we are NOT the same.
I think a lot of differences between boys and girls, particularly color preferences and a lot of toy issues, are influenced by society much much more than gender. I want my dds to be raised free of assumptions of what their interests should be.
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#25 of 97 Old 04-12-2010, 01:23 PM
 
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I think a lot of differences between boys and girls, particularly color preferences and a lot of toy issues, are influenced by society much much more than gender. I want my dds to be raised free of assumptions of what their interests should be.
I think what you are describing is very different then gender neutral parenting. I think a lot of parents allow their children to explore whatever interests they have (especially if you have two different genders in the same home). I cook with, play babies with, etc. my son as much as I do my daughter. However, I would never be interested in not allowing my son to know that he is, indeed, a male. But he is free to play with whatever he wants.

For the record, my friends who identify with a different gender then their sex like to wear clothing and do activities that express their gender identification. Do deny a child the ability to do that just as bad (only the other end of the spectrum).
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#26 of 97 Old 04-12-2010, 01:31 PM
 
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I'm a very androgynous person by nature. That is the way I've parented my two.

We petted snakes, hunted frogs in the pond, brushed hair, made crowns of flowers, used toy dump trucks to play in the mud, wore a lot of plain old t-shirts and jeans.... made cookies, played with sticks and sharp objects, went to art museums, played with baby dolls, climbed trees etc and so on

At one point, both my dd and my ds were obsessed with dinosaurs. Two years later they were both obsessed with trains. My daughter had favorite clothes with dinosaurs on them. My son wore a hat and Mardi gras necklace.

But, they knew that they were "a boy" and "a girl". We just downplayed those facts and concentrated on developing well rounded people. They are teens now and I'm so proud of them.
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#27 of 97 Old 04-12-2010, 01:43 PM
 
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The biggie in trying to parent gender neutral is doing my best to not train my kid for any specific social role. I think this is huge, and is the reason why so many gendered clothes and toys bother the heck outta me.

We give lip sevice to the notion that girls can be anything they want to be when they grow up...firefighter, doctor, astronaut, palentologist...but then when you go to buy your girl a dinosaur shirt you HAVE TO get it in the boys section. Same with space themed stuff and firetrucks. Just the very fact that these things only exist in a section labeled "boys" is reinforcing the notion that they are not for your girl...and once your girl figures that our she is not going to want to wear them anymore. So then what?

Clothes for girls are usually themed simply "pretty" as if that is the most important role for a female. Flowers, kitties, frills, ginghams, more flowers..."pretty" is the role we are training them for.

I am hoping to instill my son (and future kids) with a sense of outrage over this. The social message is so duplicious it just pisses me off. I love to put my kid in purple (I personally hate pink...for anyone) and it ticks me off that I usually have to go to the "girls" section to find it. I have also noticed that the clothing sizes in the girls section run much smaller than in boys, so we are already training wee girlies that tight clothes are for them, and loose ones for the opposite gender. Sad.

There is obviously no such thing as "just clothes" or "just toys" IMO.

Yes my child is a boy. I suppose I cannot count myself as a strict gender neutral parent because I acknowledge that. BUT just because he is a boy does not mean that he should have to conform to the pervasive social expectation of what being a "boy" means. In my perfect world he would never know what that expectation is. In the real world I can at least hope that he learns to recognise gender as a social construction and proceed accordingly. And feel outrage that someone is trying to pidgeonhole him based on the fact he has a penis.

Incedently there was a really interesting segment on NPR recently about sex differences. Worth a listen:

""Y" Matters
Neuropsychiatrist and author Dr. Louann Brizendine joins us to discuss her research and insights about the minds of men. How do the fundamental differences between women and men compare with the perceived differences? And just why does "Y" matter? Brizendine's new book is "The Male Brain.""

Link:http://www.kqed.org/epArchive/R201004071000
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#28 of 97 Old 04-12-2010, 02:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by leighi123 View Post
With my ds I try to buy toys and clothes that a boy or a girl could use, yet dispite that and not watching tv, he STILL uses his hand as a gun or a sword (while carrying a baby doll on his back).
this is why some people choose to parent in a gender neutral way. we as a society (not targeting you specifically) make the assumption that guns = boy and doll = girl.
we strive for gender neutral parenting in our home, and this is what it means to us (and i am of the opinion that there's no hard and fast definition of what gender neutral parenting is, it's just trying to offset and challenge some of these cultural assumptions based upon personal views):
we don't buy our child clothing that was created with gender definitions in mind, because people treat "pink wearing baby" differently than, for example "orange wearing baby."

we personally don't assign specific gender to toys and tools. mommy uses a shovel and a gun. daddy bakes cookies and wears an apron.
we want our children to pick the activities and colors and interests based upon what they want, not upon the fact that they have been steered towards a particular interest/color/hobby because society dictates that boys have the guns and girls dance the ballet.
the best BEST resource i've seen, one that i love dearly, is the girls will be boys will be girls coloring book and the gender subversion pack at crimethinc (here if you're interested, gender subversion poster & coloring book w/ free pdf download or viewing) http://www.crimethinc.com/tools/posters.html

Is it getting lonely in the echo chamber yet?

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#29 of 97 Old 04-12-2010, 02:30 PM
 
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I honestly think it's kind of silly. Whether or not you treat your son like a "boy" is not going to damage them. My son is a boy through and through. I dress him like a boy, I treat him like a boy. If he grows up and wants to do ballet or play music or something not "manly" we're not going to worry about it. We won't push sports if he doesn't want to play them. On the other hand if we have a girl who wants to be a tomboy, that's fine too. Let her play hockey (I did) and go hunting. I don't consider that gender neutral parenting, I consider it good parenting.
My son isn't gender neutral. He's a boy. So I'll treat and dress him like one. How he acts, what he does and what he plays with is 100% up to him.

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#30 of 97 Old 04-12-2010, 02:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl View Post
The biggie in trying to parent gender neutral is doing my best to not train my kid for any specific social role. I think this is huge, and is the reason why so many gendered clothes and toys bother the heck outta me.

We give lip sevice to the notion that girls can be anything they want to be when they grow up...firefighter, doctor, astronaut, palentologist...but then when you go to buy your girl a dinosaur shirt you HAVE TO get it in the boys section. Same with space themed stuff and firetrucks. Just the very fact that these things only exist in a section labeled "boys" is reinforcing the notion that they are not for your girl...and once your girl figures that our she is not going to want to wear them anymore. So then what?

Clothes for girls are usually themed simply "pretty" as if that is the most important role for a female. Flowers, kitties, frills, ginghams, more flowers..."pretty" is the role we are training them for.

I am hoping to instill my son (and future kids) with a sense of outrage over this. The social message is so duplicious it just pisses me off. I love to put my kid in purple (I personally hate pink...for anyone) and it ticks me off that I usually have to go to the "girls" section to find it. I have also noticed that the clothing sizes in the girls section run much smaller than in boys, so we are already training wee girlies that tight clothes are for them, and loose ones for the opposite gender. Sad.

There is obviously no such thing as "just clothes" or "just toys" IMO.

Yes my child is a boy. I suppose I cannot count myself as a strict gender neutral parent because I acknowledge that. BUT just because he is a boy does not mean that he should have to conform to the pervasive social expectation of what being a "boy" means. In my perfect world he would never know what that expectation is. In the real world I can at least hope that he learns to recognise gender as a social construction and proceed accordingly. And feel outrage that someone is trying to pidgeonhole him based on the fact he has a penis.

Incedently there was a really interesting segment on NPR recently about sex differences. Worth a listen:

""Y" Matters
Neuropsychiatrist and author Dr. Louann Brizendine joins us to discuss her research and insights about the minds of men. How do the fundamental differences between women and men compare with the perceived differences? And just why does "Y" matter? Brizendine's new book is "The Male Brain.""

Link:http://www.kqed.org/epArchive/R201004071000
yeah that, and thanks for the link. i can't wait to give that a listen.

Is it getting lonely in the echo chamber yet?

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