As the author of a book called “gender-neutral” parenting, it might sound like I would argue that buying a “girls only” toy is sexist and teaches kids the wrong thing. It is easy to focus on how well the toy fits into the stereotypes of the pink aisle at the toy store instead of how it breaks the mold of the pink aisle. So here’s why I think that toys like Goldie Blox can be good ideas.
The real issue isn’t how different boys and girls are, but how parents react to those small differences that turn them into the much larger differences society associates with boys and girls. If we can identify areas where we may have a bias, we can direct our awareness there to overcome it or compensate for it. Let’s look at some ways to compensate for implicit bias in our parenting.
When we talk about consent, we’re usually talking about adults. But where do we think these adults learned their understanding of consent? Many parents teach their kids harmful ideas about consent without even realizing. Check out this video to see an explanation of four common parenting tactics that could be causing some very harmful behaviors in adults.
Without a doubt, parenting is hard. But hard doesn’t have to mean grueling or joyless. And often that is what parents feel under the weight of the responsibility and the intense scrutiny parents are placed under to live up to different cultural stories about parenting. We can’t completely turn off these cultural stories. But we can be aware of them and not let them dictate our lives.
Infertility is not a battle of the worst off or a race to the bottom of despair. Whether men or women hurt more is irrelevant. But men have a cultural narrative that says kids are fun but optional, and “real men” have aggressive, uber-sperm so potent it makes babies from across the room. And this makes infertility issues a place where men find little support. It’s time we change the narrative.
Steubenville is a horrific example of the bystander effect. But what if your kid is a bystander to teasing, to name calling, to social ostracizing – behaviors that some refer to as “kids being kids?” Have you addressed that? Are you sure you’ve modeled the proper way not to stand by? Let’s look at some ways parents might inadvertently be supporting bystanders.
I want my kids to learn: 1) that they can identify their emotions and self-regulate their behavior, 2) that I love them regardless of their behavior, and 3) that living in a family means finding ways to meet everyone’s needs. The goal is not to suppress the behavior in the moment but to teach the child how to deal with their feelings now and in the future.
Children have needs, and so do parents. And both of our needs matter. Mainstream parenting usually negates the needs of the child. If they acknowledge the needs at all, they are considered wrong, to be changed through training. But parenting is, above all else, a relationship between two people: the parent and the child. Here’s an easy tool you can start using today to keep that relationship balanced.
What if you didn’t use power over your kids but instead shared power with them? What if you nurtured socially conscious adults ready to challenge patriarchy? Let’s explore a fresh look at parenting that takes into consideration an actionable, skill-based philosophy of parenting through feminism, rooted in feminist ideals of respect, equality, and social justice.
For the first time, this year, my family is the one that will be getting a large refund. And it has really put some things into perspective. I’m a little ashamed at the privileged judging I did in previous tax years of cash-strapped people who get large refunds. Here’s what I wish I’d known before so that I would understand why some people get so much and others get so little back.