Saturday, January 21, 2012

Raising Children

I want my children to grow as uninfluenced by society as possible.  I want them to be what they want to be, not what popular culture tells them they should be.  This couple wants that as well, and went as far as parents could go to accomplish it.  I've read about them before, and now they're in the news again, revealing the gender of their 5 year old.  I'm sure where I stand on this.  It seems extreme but I completely agree with a lot of their points.  Especially after reading Cinderella Ate My Daughter.  Some points that stand out to me are below.  My thoughts are italicized.

"Stereotypes seem fundamentally stupid. Why would you want to slot people into boxes?"  I could not agree more.  I hate the assumption that Hannah loves the color pink or barbies just because she's a girl.  

On a macro level she hopes her son sets an example for other parents and makes them reconsider buying their own sons trucks or forcing their daughters into tights. She's seen how those consumer trappings affect how and who kids play with in the sandbox.   Again, I really want Hannah and Riley to be their own person.  

Still, his mom is intervening. While the school requires different uniforms for boys and girls, Sasha wears a girl's blouse with his pants. I would fear that this would set my child up to be picked on in school.  But I, nor does she, know this will happen.  Nor do I know how she will respond if this happens.  

"I don't think I'd do it if I thought it was going to make him unhappy, but at the moment he's not really bothered either way. We haven't had any difficult scenarios yet." See, nothing yet.  I'm very curious to how she would handle a difficult situation.  

"To have a sense of self and personal identity is a critical part of normal healthy development," Dr. Eugene Beresin, director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, told ABC News. "This blocks that and sets the child up for bullying, scapegoating and marginalization." But as parents well know, bullying is hard for any child to avoid. It's more important to raise someone who's confident enough in himself to overcome peer pressure. It's also important to have his parents have his back.  Maybe Sasha's early years will be character building, maybe he'll have a higher emotional quotient being raised with dual perspectives on gender. Or the reverse could be true: Sasha may have less of a formed identity because of his upbringing, and feel angry at his mom for dressing him in flowery shirts and telling the world about it. Then again, maybe he'll get over it. I agree with Dr. Beresin but I also think that Sasha will not have missed out on much of this thus far.  

My final thoughts are this: I hope this child and his parents are followed over the years, because I am very curious about the outcome of this.  

1 comment:

Susan said...

It's funny to see the differences between boys and girls ... sometimes I worry G isn't getting enough girly stuff! But just yesterday we took her to get new shoes. We showed her both the boys and the girls selection. And what did she pick? The ones sparkly shiny pink ones with hearts. (I was secretly hoping she'd pick the Chuck Taylors, any color!) I just hope we can raise our kids to have confidence in themselves and be happy. I'm not sure how I feel about this family's decision, like you, I'll be interested to hear updates.