Step Away From Parenting Stereotypes
Our parenting is often influenced by the society we live in. And our society conveniently stereotypes – anything and everything. Parenting stereotypes have been going around for ages.
As parents we aim to raise happy, healthy and independent kids, irrespective of their gender. But let’s be honest, all of us (that’s right, all of us) at some point or the other, have heard/faced and probably also believed some or the other parenting stereotypes that our previous generations haved internalized and passed on to us.
Sharing here some parenting stereotypes that are very common and that we need to stop believing in:
1 Pink for girls, blue for boys
Gender coding kid’s clothing, toys, etc is the most common stereotype I have come across. Every clothes shop, gift store I go- has this displayed very evidently. Some parents also don’t let their daughters wear baggy pants and t- shirts as they feel it makes them look like a ‘tom boy’. These stereotypes are so subconsciously internalized, that people follow them without questioning. But they don’t hold true. A boy child wearing a pink shirt isn’t feminine. We end up restricting our kids choices by unknowingly perpetuating these stereotypes.
2 Play dates with kids of same gender
Many parents encourage play time with kids of the same gender. They fear that if they let their kids play with the opposite sex, it might become grounds for them to get inclined in games/activities things that might interest the opposite gender. It is important to break this stereotype. When kids have friends of both the genders, they grow up to become more emphatic, and gain sensitivity on how to deal with different kinds of people.
3 Boys don’t cry
One of the common parenting stereotype – ‘don’t cry like a girl’, ‘boys don’t cry’. What people don’t realise is that such thoughts pose more harm to young boys than good. Crying is a human emotion, irrespective of gender. It is not a sign of weakness but a mark of growth and maturity. Teaching our sons not to cry and stay tough in all situations will end up making them incapable of expressing ( their stress/grief /etc) and may even lead to emotional insensitivity.
4 Sports is for boys, arts is for girls
Pushing sons to play sports & daughters to choose arts/music/etc because sports is ‘manly’ and arts is ‘graceful’. By perpetuating these stereotypes we restrict our kids choices, talents and capabilities. This chain of thinking needs to be changed.
5 Brothers need to protect their sisters
Boys with sibling sisters (be it younger or older) are often told how they need to guard and protect their sister all the time. This again causes more harm than good. It leads to unnecessary domination where boys learn how they can dominate and control, and daughters are left to stay dependent all the time . We need to instil awareness in children about self- preservation, self-defence, regardless of their gender. Our daughters won’t need a brother to protect them if they are raised to be capable and strong enough to take care of themselves.
6 House chores are for girls
Most parents encourage their daughters to take over the responsibility with the house chores, more than their sons. Due to the notion that such duties define a feminine role and prepare girls for future. But aren’t chores like cooking, cleaning, etc basic life skills that all kids need to learn? They are essential for all kids (irrespective of gender) as they make them independent and responsible.
7 Mothers need to be strict, dads can be fun.
There is always a good cop and a bad cop equation in parenting, but why always mothers need to play the bad cop or dads end up being the ‘cooler’ parent. The question of who is more authoritarian parent actually depends upon individual nature, and the equation between the spouses. But labeling parents with assumptions that- if mothers aren’t strict they may fail at disciplining their kid or if dad is linient, he may end up over pampering or spoiling the kid, is baseless and too far fetched.
8 Fathers are less attached/less emotional
Children need emotional support from both their parents. The notion that it’s ok for fathers to be less attached or less emotional probably stems from the stereotype that men are less emotional than women. Fathers need to defy this and aim for creating an emotional bond with kids that nurtures open and friendly communication.
9 Dads earn, Mothers manage domestic duties
The dynamics of modern day family relationships have changed a lot. Domestic chores are everyone’s responsibility. Labeling that it’s only mom’s job to do the dishes or laundry is deeply troublesome. Dads can be good cooks too and moms can be the bread earners too. Families who share the load and equally divide responsibilities tend to be much more happier and close-knit.
There are many more such parenting stereotypes that need to be busted and smashed in face. The sooner we step away from them, easier it is for us to raise our kids in a liberated and judgement-free environment.
This post is part of the #BlogchatterA2Z challenge run by Blogchatter
Found this article ‘Ways to respect your child and gain respect in return’ helpful? Do leave your views in the comments below.
Follow me for more on –