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#1 of 7 Old 09-01-2010, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So my DS (almost 4yo) has started preschool. Otherwise he has been home with me.

He loves the colors that are gender labeled "girl" colors. We don't refer to things in gender specific ways at home, all toys babies, dress up, cars, blocks ect. are for everyone and colors are just that colors. Since school has started when I hand Lane his favorite color cup plate ect. (that before school started he insisted on using if you grabbed him a blue plate for example he would say "no I want the pink one!") he would say "I can't use that one because it is a girl color"

I asked him who calls pink a girl color and he said Mrs. Z. I get that others gender specify but I think that it is something they need to stop personally.

My question is would I be out of line to have a friendly chat or send a nice e-mail to the teacher mentioning my desire to have gender "roles" and "labels" not be used?

He attends a public school if that matters in your answers.

~Katie~ married to J, mom to DD- A 13 yrs ,DS- L 7yrs , and my little nursling DD2- R 5yrs.

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#2 of 7 Old 09-01-2010, 06:26 PM
 
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I would :-)

This is a tree on fire with love, but it's still scary since most people think love only looks like one thing instead of the whole world. *
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#3 of 7 Old 09-01-2010, 06:53 PM
 
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I have a few thoughts on this one, having been through sudden-onset pink phobia when my son started kindy last year:

1) I would approach the teacher (preferably in person), but keep in mind that a 4-year-old perception of what a teacher says doesn't always match with how an adult would perceive the situation. Ask questions about how gender and colors are approached before making suggestions to the teacher. It could very well be that it was a simple misunderstanding and that isn't really what the teacher thinks/meant to say.

2) Your son is going to be exposed to gender bias at some point in his life, regardless of how much you want to shelter him from it. Since someone has made him aware of it now, now is your teaching moment. Now is the time to say, "Yes, some people think that, but I don't. What do you think?" Don't be judgemental about his answer, and don't worry if he agrees with the gender bias for now - the point is to get him thinking.

3) Try not to make a big deal of it or be too worried. My son would not touch anything pink or any of his 'girl' toys for at least the first semester of public school, probably longer. But towards the end of the year, he was back to using his pink plate at home, and the dollies came back out. It was just a little identity issue that he needed some time to work out. Now he's confident enough to defend his interests and likes/dislikes, even if they are different.
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#4 of 7 Old 09-01-2010, 08:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen'nZoe View Post
I have a few thoughts on this one, having been through sudden-onset pink phobia when my son started kindy last year:

1) I would approach the teacher (preferably in person), but keep in mind that a 4-year-old perception of what a teacher says doesn't always match with how an adult would perceive the situation. Ask questions about how gender and colors are approached before making suggestions to the teacher. It could very well be that it was a simple misunderstanding and that isn't really what the teacher thinks/meant to say.

2) Your son is going to be exposed to gender bias at some point in his life, regardless of how much you want to shelter him from it. Since someone has made him aware of it now, now is your teaching moment. Now is the time to say, "Yes, some people think that, but I don't. What do you think?" Don't be judgemental about his answer, and don't worry if he agrees with the gender bias for now - the point is to get him thinking.

3) Try not to make a big deal of it or be too worried. My son would not touch anything pink or any of his 'girl' toys for at least the first semester of public school, probably longer. But towards the end of the year, he was back to using his pink plate at home, and the dollies came back out. It was just a little identity issue that he needed some time to work out. Now he's confident enough to defend his interests and likes/dislikes, even if they are different.
Great post! Thanks so much that really was what I needed to hear. And thank you Mackenzie, I am glad I am not the only one who would address this.

~Katie~ married to J, mom to DD- A 13 yrs ,DS- L 7yrs , and my little nursling DD2- R 5yrs.

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#5 of 7 Old 09-01-2010, 08:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen'nZoe View Post
I have a few thoughts on this one, having been through sudden-onset pink phobia when my son started kindy last year:

1) I would approach the teacher (preferably in person), but keep in mind that a 4-year-old perception of what a teacher says doesn't always match with how an adult would perceive the situation. Ask questions about how gender and colors are approached before making suggestions to the teacher. It could very well be that it was a simple misunderstanding and that isn't really what the teacher thinks/meant to say.

2) Your son is going to be exposed to gender bias at some point in his life, regardless of how much you want to shelter him from it. Since someone has made him aware of it now, now is your teaching moment. Now is the time to say, "Yes, some people think that, but I don't. What do you think?" Don't be judgemental about his answer, and don't worry if he agrees with the gender bias for now - the point is to get him thinking.

3) Try not to make a big deal of it or be too worried. My son would not touch anything pink or any of his 'girl' toys for at least the first semester of public school, probably longer. But towards the end of the year, he was back to using his pink plate at home, and the dollies came back out. It was just a little identity issue that he needed some time to work out. Now he's confident enough to defend his interests and likes/dislikes, even if they are different.
I like all of this but the bolded, especially. That is the line I took with my son (who wore a dress for an entire summer.)
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#6 of 7 Old 09-02-2010, 11:01 AM
 
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The only other thing I would add - and this coming from my personal preferences, obviously - is that it is NORMAL for boys of this age to be really interested in "girl" stuff and vice versa. If you check out the many threads along the lines of "My son is wearing a dress!" you will find that nearly all of these sons are the same age as your son. Girls presumably do this gender exploration too but we don't notice it as much.

My personal opinion is that since this behavior is so very normal for preschoolers, preschool teachers should be extra sensitive to NOT gendering stuff. It's completely possible that your son mixed up what the teacher was saying - that is usually the case with my son, to be honest. But if he didn't, then I would talk to the teacher or even the director about developmentally expected gender exploration and try to get the teacher to stop with the pink-is-for-girls nonsense.

So, yes, in my rant, I am wholeheartedly agreeing with you. I would request that this stop.
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#7 of 7 Old 09-02-2010, 12:02 PM
 
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You can try but really, it's going to be incredibly difficult for the teacher to control. I suspect it's not HER telling him pink is for girls. Some kid said it once and it stuck like glue (seriously, I taught preschool for a few years and that's all it takes.) Honestly, it's incredibly natural for kids that age to try to "sort" their world and make sense of it. They can be very "black and white" at that age.

When my eldest was little, I really did everything I could to make things gender nuetral. I took great pride that my little girl loves playing with cars.... until I realized how she was playing with them... yep, you guessed it, mommy car, daddy car and baby car go on a picnic lol. From that point, I focused less on trying to MAKE their world gender nuetral and instead teaching them that while yes, pink is often seen as a girlie color, it's their right to love and like and be anything they want. This lesson actually withstands peer pressure better than trying to wipe out all exposure to gender biases they could potentiolly encounter.

Don't be too hard on your DS. It's actually not so bad that he's aware of social expectations. While it's pretty easy for girls to cross gender lines, it can be really tough on boys. They learn early what it takes not to get bullied on the playground and you can hardly blame them for avoiding that kind of trouble if they can. It's not right or fair but if your DS has learned that not taking a pink plate at this stage in life makes life easier, it doesn't mean he's going to turn into a traditionalist as an adult. He's just figuring out what society rules are and when he gets older and feels more confident to break them, he will.

Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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