Gender-Neutral Parenting – what’s your take?

Gender-Neutral Parenting is quite a complex topic and am still not very clear or sure about my own stand. I’m going to write what is my impression about it which might change in future. Lets leave it open for further discussion.

What is Gender-Neutral Parenting?

Simply putting, Raising kids without the confines of gender stereotypes is Gender-Neutral Parenting. Gender-Neutral parenting is aimed at granting kids access to a variety of experiences and it avoids labeling things as ‘this is only for boys’ and ‘girls only do this’ based on the biological gender of the kid.

My take

Girls means Pink and Boys means Blue, girls means cooking and boys means the main breadwinner. I have been raised in this environment and the society around me always emphasized / is emphasizing this. Do I agree with this? No and Yes!

Well, I am not a Girly-girl since childhood. Never followed conventional routines or didn’t bother much about my girl status ever. Fortunately, my parents never said anything like – Oh, you are a girl. Do this and don’t do this etc. By the way, am sure this term of Gender-Neutral Parenting was not coined in those days. My grandparents used to say once in a while but again never really enforced any girls-special rules.

Now that am a mom with one girl child and another is boy – this subject of Gender-Neutral Parenting is thought provoking for me.

1. My take on this as of now stands MODERATE. I can’t be an extreme case like some parents where they don’t even reveal the gender of the kid to the kid and others and let the kid explore through experiences and choose what would be his or her gender. I find this slightly confusing. So, my girl knows she’s a girl and boy knows he’s a boy. Though I don’t make it overly explicit. I keep reminding them that boys and girls are equal.

2. I don’t stereotype colors – My daughter never liked pink and always chooses shades of blue / green / purple since a baby. I didn’t overloaded her with the pink dresses, pink headbands, pink jewelery and pink everything. On the other hand, my son loves using shades of pink along with his favorite red and I find it perfectly ok. No sharp remarks like – why are you using pink? It’s for girls…

3. Outfits they wear and hairstyle – hmmm, like mentioned above I don’t care much about pink n blue but skirts and dresses? No, I haven’t tried them on my son and would not try too. Nah, not my cup of tea…

What if he decides to have long hair when he grows up? May be I will be okay since I like man-buns. Girl cuts her hair short? Can also if she likes.

4. Boys can cry – this is what is the typical term that I keep listening to from so many parents. When the by starts crying, parents immediately snap – Are you a girl to cry? Stop crying like a girl. This at our home definitely doesn’t happen. When the boy cries when he falls down etc., it’s ok for us.

Boys can cry, they should cry to vent out their emotions. Not to suppress their expressions please.

5. Be in sync with the nature – okay, I m a firm believer of nature’s power. Whoever created this world has created genders. He has given some unique qualities to both. Physically most men are powerful than women and women have the great ability to give birth. By default, there’s some difference in the genders which I don’t want to deny. As a parent, I would like to play along, to respect nature and accept the basic gender differences.

6. Say No to gender biases – Gender-Neutral Parenting also means allowing kids to express themselves freely without any societal pressure. I agree with that part totally. We should not BOX the kids. They can play with any toys they want – girls can play with cars and boys can have kitchen set.

Equality in terms of opportunities, freedom of choice is what I would love to offer to my kids.

7. Boys need to do chores too, girls need to support homes financially too – oh, you are a boy so no need to clean the dishes and fold the clothes. Mama or Sis will do everything for you. Sorry! I don’t want to make it work like this. We ensure our boy helps us in small little ways. At the same time, girls need not only contribute at home. They should earn, financially be independent and support their families – just like boys.

So, if my boy says that he wants to peel potatoes, I welcome him and when my girl says she can fix or repair the toy, it’s a go-ahead from me.

That’s it, these are my views about Gender-Neutral Parenting. What’s your take on it? Do share in comments. I would love to read.

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24 comments on “Gender-Neutral Parenting – what’s your take?”

  1. Shreemayee Chattopadhyay Reply

    I always tell my sons about that they should respect a girl and remember that both are same. I do this because I am the victim of this gender inequality. Btw, My younger son always wears variety of pink and I never insist him to wear blue. Hahaha.

  2. Peps Goh Reply

    My girlfriend is definitely guilty of that at times. I like pink, but she will always try to give a something blue because I’m a guy. It’s tough to stay gender neutral, but it will take time.

  3. Amanda Reply

    Interesting topic. I don’t think I ever really thought about it. I had barbies growing up because I liked it. I also hated wearing dresses or the colour pink. I played with both the boys and the girls. I say let kids make their own decisions. Let them have fun and they are too young to think about what colours to wear and what gender neutral means.

  4. Nati Reply

    This is such an interesting topic! I agree with you on everything, I also have a daughter and a son, I was also raised like you, and I don’t like stereotypes, but I’m also not ready for a total gender neutrality, if that makes sense!

  5. Vasantha Vivek Reply

    Good pointers on raising your kids with gender equality. I too agree with you on this. And its our biggest responsibility in the current scenario.

  6. AB's mom Reply

    Love this post. The gender stereotyping is something that needs to be dealt with in a very clear conscious state and needs to be monitored as the kids gets influenced from various sources apart from family alone.

  7. Amrita Dipnaik Reply

    Hi, Shub very beautifully and right way you have put in your blog is really appreciable. The comments given by various people shows that your thoughts are welcomed warmly. It’s helps us in several ways to think on the topics you quite in your dairy. Bravo.

  8. chewoutloud Reply

    This is so interesting yet complicated… it’s a newer arena of parenting for sure! We are pretty open with many aspects, but I also do think sometimes we are actually making it more confusing for kiddos. My two cents ?

  9. Elizabeth O Reply

    I’m all about you do you, what works for some may not work for others. Parenting is a unique job. Great article, it really interested me to read your take on gender neutral parenting.

  10. Stephanie Jeannot Reply

    Yes I think color constrictions might be something not to conform to just to be one with societal beliefs and values. People should do what makes them happy.

  11. Lyosha Varezhkina Reply

    I agree with you. I don’t think any extreme options are fine like not revealing gender. However i don’t think roles should be forced. ‘crying like a girl’ is probably the brightest but not sole example.

  12. Joanna Davis Reply

    To be honest, I am very open minded but I do not understand parents who raise their children like this. Pink has always been a girl’s color, same as blue is for boys. I think that parents should get to know their child before doing choices like this for him. When I was little i used to play with cars and toy soldiers all the time. And my parents let me, they didn’t see anything wrong in it and they didn’t force me to play with Barbies. And that was fine. That is healthy. Forcing something on your child is not.

  13. racheal_foodilifecious Reply

    this is a good sharing actually. It is good to be neutral so when they grow up, they know how and what to do and help. nothing to do with gender if wanna help in kitchen right?

  14. Sarah Reply

    I think it’s important to allow children to have some choices in the things they play with and the clothing they wear, and I think we all grow up, despite what we were allowed to do as children, into who we were created to be. My husband and I are very different in that, he loves to cook and I don’t. He’s also more emotional than I do. I’m glad that you are taking the time to allow your kids to explore who they want to be.

  15. nausheen1shaikhgmailcom Reply

    Good article ….gender equality should be inculcated in kids right from their childhood days so that when they grow up they become a better human being & not bias ….lovely pics ?

  16. Corinne ? (@WhatCorinneDid) Reply

    I think the main purpose of gender neutral parenting was just to avoid kids growing up in clichés of what each gender should correspond too. Like pink for girls, blue for guys. Or girls are to behave when boys can do anything. So to me, i’s just avoided those clichés and i totally agree with it!

  17. Neha Reply

    I love this post, such a nice concept. I am sure many will follow the tips here. Pink for girls is such a stereotype . And yes boys should learn to cook as well. After all life throws equal challenges to all and this will help all to cope well.

  18. Emily Reply

    I’m not a parent myself but when reading your article, I think parents can be as neutral as can be, but must have a limit. Not to the point of not telling the child the differences in a boy and girl. That’s simply too much.

  19. Nina Reply

    I love this! If a boy wants a pink toy or shirt, that’s totally fine! If my future daughter hates dresses (and I love them), that will totally be fine! Kids just need to be free to be themselves. When they’re free to be themselves, they’re happier.

  20. kumamonjeng Reply

    You girl is so pretty! I think boy use pink and girl can like blue too, why not. Boys also can cry if they are not happy. We use to hear during our childhood day, “you are a boy, you should not cry!” I think it is so unfair for the little boys, anyone can cry and should be able to express their feeling freely. Gender neutral parenting is better for me too!

  21. Amelie Yap Reply

    definitely agree with you. all kids must be raised equally, instead of raising them in a stereotype way. in a way of helping each othe.

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