When someone has a baby, the first thing everyone wants to know is whether it is a baby girl or baby boy. Apart from the curiosity of knowing the baby’s gender, why is it necessary at all? Why is a baby boy’s room blue and a girl’s room pink? Why do you give your baby girl a Barbie doll, why does she wear a dress, and how can you make a difference is this is something you don’t understand at all?
We live in a generation now where gender-neutral is becoming more open; however, we also live in an age where IVF sex selection is being implemented. Ironic isn’t it?
Gender is something that children begin to understand at the age of two or three. That too because of the things they see, the books they read, the toys they receive, their hair length and the behaviour they witness on the playground.
Pick your words carefully
You can begin by changing the way you speak. Instead of saying a smart girl or healthy boy say, smart kid. Because when you keep repeating the gender in every sentence, you say about them, it just becomes impossible to think of themselves as anything different than their gender.
And at the same time, when your kid asks you anything related to sexism, always make sure that you listen to them. They might be kids, but this is the age that you start telling them about gender stereotypes.
Stop giving the toys much thought
The gadgets you give to your kids carve their choices. So instead of thinking of giving them a specific toy, maybe try something that encourages participation. Don’t think much about colour but make sure that they aren’t a particular blue or pink. Give them a choice. They will pick eventually what they like more.
What we learn until the age of seven is the reason how we act for the rest of our life. So, avoid labelling as much as you can. If you are someone that has undergone a procedure to be able to choose the gender of your baby, then you may not sympathise with any of these points, however, try to understand.
Clear your misconceptions first
This practice about not imposing the gender is about letting kids explore all the opportunities instead of the ones that are meant for their gender. So be sure that whenever your kid witnesses something wrong about their gender, something that they needn’t know, you jump to their rescue. The whole point is to let them think above the barriers of the stereotype.
Let them interact with everyone
Let your kid play with everyone. Be it a girl, be it a boy. If your kid wants to play a game, then you should let them be. Who is going to tell them they can’t if you don’t say it. This kind of interactions builds the type of mentality where they stop thinking that they are better and worse than anyone because of gender. They should know from the beginning that what they do is all about their capabilities.
Whenever your kid voices something, instead of lashing out about why he/she wants to play with a doll or ride a bike, hear them. If they won’t tell you how would you know that they need support. After all, your kid might get help from you, but other kids and people will say to him/her that the choice they are making is wrong for the gender they belong. And at times like this, you are the one to say to him/her that it is ok to pick whatever they like.
Your kid should be treated as an individual before you treat them as a girl or a boy. And introducing them to the purple rain (that is people like male nurses and chefs or female pilots) will make them understand that there are no walls to the things they can do as a person if their brain doesn’t create one.