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

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#1 of 224 Old 05-23-2011, 06:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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#2 of 224 Old 05-23-2011, 07:16 PM
 
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I wouldn't go as far as to hide my child's sex after it was born, but I agree with all their points.

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#3 of 224 Old 05-23-2011, 07:28 PM
 
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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


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#4 of 224 Old 05-23-2011, 07:50 PM
 
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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.


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#5 of 224 Old 05-23-2011, 08:04 PM
 
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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".

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#6 of 224 Old 05-23-2011, 08:31 PM
 
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I doubt how much this impacts a kid in the long-term. Interesting social experiment but not much value,imo, beyond that. 

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#7 of 224 Old 05-23-2011, 08:53 PM
 
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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. 

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#8 of 224 Old 05-23-2011, 09:22 PM
 
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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.
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#9 of 224 Old 05-24-2011, 01:46 AM
 
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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?


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#10 of 224 Old 05-24-2011, 04:51 AM
 
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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


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#11 of 224 Old 05-24-2011, 05:21 AM
 
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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.

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#12 of 224 Old 05-24-2011, 05:50 AM
 
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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.

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#13 of 224 Old 05-24-2011, 06:22 AM
 
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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. 

 

 


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#14 of 224 Old 05-24-2011, 06:40 AM
 
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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!

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#15 of 224 Old 05-24-2011, 06:41 AM
 
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 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


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#16 of 224 Old 05-24-2011, 06:45 AM
 
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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.  

 

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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

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#18 of 224 Old 05-24-2011, 06:56 AM
 
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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.
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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.'
 

 

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#20 of 224 Old 05-24-2011, 07:00 AM
 
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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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#21 of 224 Old 05-24-2011, 07:14 AM
 
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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.'
 

 


 

Do you refuse to disclose your child's gender?  I really can't take back that I think that's ridiculous.  It's not meant to be unkind as much as I find the whole thing so unbelievable.

 

Presumably (hopefully?) with home and unschooling there is still some peer interaction.  


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#22 of 224 Old 05-24-2011, 07:18 AM
 
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I bet it will be interesting to see what the child chooses & naturally gravitates toward.

 

thus far my child has no interest in "boy toys" nor "girl toys"-even with lots of exposure

 

he goes towards neutral toys---play kitchen, grocery stores, blocks, medical kit, stuffed animals, crayons & paints and dolls-has both male and female (we do not view dolls as a GIRL toy-his stuffed animals have food made for them in his kitchen) 

 

he likes wheels, not cars-he is not into pink at all         things are not referred to as for boys or girls toys or pushed that this is what boys or girls do

 

I don't get how it is some how expectable to push a child into a cultural gender but if you don't there is something wrong with that?

 

 

 

Quote:
Presumably (hopefully?) with home and unschooling there is still some peer interaction.  

 

and both sexes can play and learn together-it's really easy-there are no boy lessons, no girl lessons-math is not a gender issue, reading is not a gender issue

 

peers to play together---most people have "friends" NOT based on their gendergrouphug.gif

 

if I was gay I would not be friends with EVERYONE else that was gay just because I was gay--same goes for non-gender issue people---------interests are NON-gender!

 

I had lots of NON-gay male friends growing up that loved fashion and cooking and "woman's issues"-ahhhhhhhh! 

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#23 of 224 Old 05-24-2011, 07:28 AM
 
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Do you refuse to disclose your child's gender?  I really can't take back that I think that's ridiculous.  It's not meant to be unkind as much as I find the whole thing so unbelievable.

 

Presumably (hopefully?) with home and unschooling there is still some peer interaction.  


we don't know our child's gender.  we do know the sex. 

sex is biological.  gender is a social construction, and presumably what she can figure out on her own how she wants to perform it.

we do not tell strangers unless they point blank ask us.  people assume dd is a boy b/c she's not in pink and has very short hair (we don't cut it, she's just still a baldy) and we're ok with that.  once people think she's a girl the language they use changes in their interactions.. as in "oh so pretty" rather than "alert" or whatever. 

the kids she interacts with don't really see her naked so they really don't care.  she runs and plays with them, etc.  sex matters much less to children than it does their parents.. especially with the under 3 crowd.

 

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#24 of 224 Old 05-24-2011, 07:44 AM
 
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thus far my child has no interest in "boy toys" nor "girl toys"-even with lots of exposure

 

he goes towards neutral toys---play kitchen, grocery stores, blocks, medical kit, stuffed animals, crayons & paints and dolls-has both male and female (we do not view dolls as a GIRL toy-his stuffed animals have food made for them in his kitchen) 

 

he likes wheels, not cars-he is not into pink at all         things are not referred to as for boys or girls toys or pushed that this is what boys or girls do

But many people (not me!!) would argue that a kitchen, dolls, etc. are 'girl' toys, not 'neutral'. I was thinking about this & had a hard time figuring out what DS leans toward. He is really not into toys, but he loves real tools, real cars/trucks... I guess those are 'boy' things... but he also loves cooking, cleaning, etc. I think he is just a well-rounded kid, with no regard to whether he 'should' or 'shouldn't' like something. Fortunately I've never had anyone say outright that he couldn't do/use/play with XYZ because he's a boy. I also haven't really noticed people treating him differently whether they think he's a boy or a girl, though we do get comments ("Oh, I thought he was a girl because of ____" -- his long hair, pink water bottle, girl's shoes, etc. or "Are you going to cut his hair?")

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#25 of 224 Old 05-24-2011, 08:00 AM
 
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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 agree.  

 

When I lived in Hawaii, our neighbors had a daughter that they were raising "gender neutral".  They kept saying it's because they wanted her to choose her own gender.  But, they were so controlling that every time she tried to do something "girly", they would intervene.   She was the same age as my niece, and she would get excited when she saw Emily go out to the yard to play, and she'd run over to play with Emily.... but, soon her parents would steer her towards boy toys, and away from Em's girl toys.    

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#26 of 224 Old 05-24-2011, 08:02 AM
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So, does the family in the article avoid pronoun usage altogether? Can't use "he" or "she" in public? Siblings have to keep the baby's sex a secret? Can't talk to their friends about their brother/sister? That's an unfair burden on the children.

 

FWIW, we're homeschoolers and I agree with D_McG that being secretive about a child's sex is ridiculous. At some point, other children will want to know if they're playing with a boy or a girl, even if they happily will play with either. All of the kids I know would find a sexless child to be weird and uncomfortable to be around. I think extremist behavior, in general, is ridiculous and sometimes dangerous.

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#27 of 224 Old 05-24-2011, 08:15 AM
 
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cool.  i thought we were here to support each other not offer judgey criticisms.  but maybe that is just me.  been seeing a whole lot of the latter around here lately.  and.. just because you don't understand something doesn't mean it's not a legitimate viewpoint.  thanks y'all. 

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#28 of 224 Old 05-24-2011, 08:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I love reading everyone's opinions.

 

Hildare, I must admit that I think it is awesome that we are not a collective, but people who are individuals and have our own opinions and don't always agree.  Not agreeing and having a different opinion doesn't make one judgey :)

 

I have always seen judgement on MDC, especially towards mainstream parenting that AP parents might not understand :)  I have seen judgemental criticism on every forum I've ever been on.  It is human nature.

 

I posted the link to this article here because I knew it would spark some interesting conversation.  And it challenges us ALL to see things from different perspectives.

 

 

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#29 of 224 Old 05-24-2011, 08:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hildare View Post

cool.  i thought we were here to support each other not offer judgey criticisms.  but maybe that is just me.  been seeing a whole lot of the latter around here lately.  and.. just because you don't understand something doesn't mean it's not a legitimate viewpoint.  thanks y'all. 



The OP posted about a family in a news article. She did not post about her own family. She also asked what people thought about the family in the news article. Nobody was asking for support on this thread. If posters do not want honest responses, they would not ask for thoughts.

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#30 of 224 Old 05-24-2011, 08:27 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MOMYS View Post

I love reading everyone's opinions.

 

Hildare, I must admit that I think it is awesome that we are not a collective, but people who are individuals and have our own opinions and don't always agree.  Not agreeing and having a different opinion doesn't make one judgey :)

 

I have always seen judgement on MDC, especially towards mainstream parenting that AP parents might not understand :)  I have seen judgemental criticism on every forum I've ever been on.  It is human nature.

 

I posted the link to this article here because I knew it would spark some interesting conversation.  And it challenges us ALL to see things from different perspectives.

 

 


calling someone's parenting ridiculous in my opinion crosses that boundary into judgey. 

and, no.  it is not 'human nature.'  it is learned behavior to faction and fight rather than support the community as a whole.  just like sexism, exploitation and sexual predation of children are learned behaviors, which is one reason we're trying to parent neutrally. 

 

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