When we were off on our camping travels the kids played with other kids who were camping with their families. As they do. I love how kids are just “Hi, I’m seven. Let’s build a castle together.”. Mostly.
For my kiddos there is often the conversation of some kid pointing out that something they are doing is “like a boy”. It is sometimes Willow’s short hair or Harper’s choice of Spiderman shirt or Tannah’s love of nerf guns. Like a boy? Really? Must we still be trotting out this bullshit?
And it’s not that my kids experience any shame at being called a boy, it’s the being singled out for doing something the other child perceives as “weird”.
The part that pisses me off the most is that nearly always it is said within earshot of the other child’s parents. Hey other parent- that’s your cue to help your child understand that lots of kids like different things and gender is a huge wide spectrum and that the archaic days of little boys being encouraged to be macho while little girls baked cakes are over. Blue and pink are just colours. Sexuality is separate from gender expression.
I’m not asking you to go home and shave your daughter’s head or put dresses on your son-though both of those things are ok if that’s what your kids are into!- but can you broaden your own child’s mind while helping out my kid who is being singled out?
I usually give it a second to give my child a chance to answer in their own way, which is sometimes awesome. But if I can see that they are struggling I jump in and help with my standard comeback.
“No she likes that like a kid. Kids like lots of different things. It has nothing to do whether she is a girl or not”
Wouldn’t it be great if the next generation of kids could just like what they liked, dress how they pleased and play in a way that felt normal to them without it having to give a single fuck about what some other kid is going to say about that.
But these kids growing up now need their parents to model that.
Surely we can?