What Is Gender-Neutral Parenting
Gender-neutral parenting is about ensuring that children are not discriminated against based on gender. It can be a challenging concept for some parents to grasp, but one of the main goals of gender-neutral parenting is to help children develop an understanding of themselves as individuals rather than as members of certain groups. Gender-neutral parenting means not treating your child differently based on their gender and instead allowing them to choose what activities they engage in and what toys they like.
It’s important to note that this type of parenting isn’t just about allowing boys and girls equal access to toys; it also means making sure they have equal opportunities at home, in school and at work.
Is It Healthy for Your Child
One way to ensure your child is free from gender stereotypes is to pick a name that does not have any masculine or feminine qualities. You can do this by choosing a name for your child that has no reference to either gender, or you can choose a “neutral” name and make it more masculine or feminine depending on the sex of the child.
If you’re raising twins, consider naming them with one of these ideas:
- Pick one gender neutral name and use it for both twins
- Choose one “boy” and one “girl” name that are both gender neutral
Effects of Gender-Neutral Parenting on Children
Gender-neutral parenting can have positive effects on children’s social lives and playtime, as well as their sexuality. It is important for children to be able to freely express themselves in all areas of life, including sexual orientation and gender identity; a parent’s actions can help reinforce these values. Gender-neutral parenting allows children to understand that all people are different and unique, rather than just “boys” or “girls.” This helps them develop into independent individuals who are free to express themselves without feeling boxed in by the stereotypes of the world around them.
Fight stereotypes, including your own, Notice your own bias
- Avoid making assumptions. When parents start to notice the differences between their kids, they often make assumptions about what those differences mean. Parents who want to raise their children without gender often find themselves diving into research about how gender affects our daily lives, and this can lead them to believe that every person who looks or acts in a certain way is experiencing the same things as anyone else who looks or acts like them. This may be true sometimes—but it’s not always true. For example:
- Be open to new ideas. Raising kids without gender means you’re going against what society tells us is “normal” or “right” when it comes to identity and behavior for boys and girls (and people of all genders). You might think your child will grow up with certain beliefs because you grew up with those same beliefs yourself; but if you want your child to feel comfortable being themselves regardless of how much support they get from other people around them, then try not letting other people’s opinions dictate your own thoughts on what’s right for your kid(s). Your family may feel different than others’ families because there are things unique only.
You’re going to make mistakes. We all do. But it’s important that you acknowledge those mistakes and don’t let them become excuses for not doing better going forward.
When you find yourself struggling with a parent who doesn’t see the world in the same way as you, remember that everyone has a different experience of reality—and no one is right or wrong about their own worldviews.
Model within the household
If you are parenting a child who is free of gender, remember that it doesn’t mean your household needs to be devoid of anything feminine or masculine. You can still model the values and behaviors that you deem important in the home.
For example, if your child loves wearing dresses or playing with dolls and wants to keep doing so, that’s great! It might help if their siblings also choose an activity they enjoy (whether it’s wearing dresses or playing with trucks) and then spend some time together doing just that. This way, everyone can have fun while modeling positive behavior for one another. Also, remember to encourage both sides of yourself—you don’t have to be one thing all the time!
Impact on Social Life
The first rule of fostering kids free of gender is that you don’t talk about your kid’s gender. Don’t tell people what to do, don’t make demands of them, and definitely don’t be a bully. If someone asks you how old your child is, just tell them the truth: “I’m not going to tell anyone my child’s actual age.” Don’t ignore your kid or make assumptions about their feelings—and just listen when they talk!
Treat other people’s kids like your own child. They are all different so treat them accordingly by taking into account their individual needs and limitations rather than placing expectations on each one based on their sex assigned at birth (SBAB). For example, if a boy wants something pink then give it to him; if another boy doesn’t want pink then don’t give it to either because there’s no right answer or wrong answer here.
Impact on Playtime
Encourage free play.
- There’s a lot to be said for encouraging children to play with whatever toys they want and try out different activities, but this can be especially important for those who don’t identify with their assigned gender. It’s not just about letting them know that there are other options available—it’s also about helping them grow into confident adults without feeling limited by expectations.
- Boys should have the opportunity to engage in nurturing activities like caring for dolls, while girls can have fun playing with trucks or dressing up as superheroes (or princesses!). Playtime shouldn’t be about following specific gender roles; it should be about having fun!
Impact on Sexuality
Gender-neutral parenting can help young children feel more confident and open about their own sexuality. Children raised without gender roles will have fewer expectations placed on them, which leaves room for exploration. For example, a child who doesn’t see himself or herself as “girly” or “male” will be more likely to make choices based on personal preference rather than societal expectations.
They may wear clothes that are traditionally considered “unisex,” or choose activities like dance classes instead of football practice because they’re interested in dance and not because it’s expected from their gender identity. Studies show that kids raised without traditional gendered toys are more likely to play with both boys’ toys and girls’ toys, but also show no particular preference for one group over another; this suggests that they find no inherent difference between the two groups of objects: thus encouraging them to explore all possibilities freely throughout life.
Avoid the Pink and Blue Themes
This is a big one, and it might be hard to change your habits if you’re used to being a traditionalist. But it’s important to keep in mind that gender roles have been actively perpetuated by society over the course of many centuries, so even today they are still deeply ingrained in our culture—especially when it comes to kids’ activities and their first experiences with toys, clothing, bedding, decorations and so on. Giving them options outside this binary will help them develop an understanding of themselves as unique individuals who don’t fit into these categories (or any other).
Encourage Girls and Boys to Play Together
Play-based learning is a great way to encourage girls and boys to play together. As you know, it’s important for children to be socialised. This can happen through fun games, where they learn how to interact with others and cooperate.
In fact, studies show that when kids engage in play-based learning that encourages team work, they develop more self-confidence and creative thinking skills. They will also improve their problem solving abilities, physical development (e.g., running around), language development (e.g., talking), emotional development (e.g., being aware of other people’s feelings) as well as literacy skills (reading).
Don’t Eliminate Gender Entirely
In order to avoid being too prescriptive with your child, you should know the difference between sex and gender. Sex refers to whether a person is male or female; it’s physical anatomy and can be determined by looking at their genes. Gender is much more complicated, because it refers to how someone feels about themselves based on their biological characteristics. Gender is also social construct: It’s something we learn from our environment—from society, culture, family and friends—and it can change over time depending on who we are around.
Introduce Them to diverse Role Models
The next step is to begin introducing them to diverse role models. What do you think about their role models? If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know what kind of toys they are choosing to play with and the movies and TV shows they are watching. Are these people diverse in terms of gender, race, beliefs and life experience? Do any of the characters have different types of relationships than those depicted on other shows or in other media?
If your child isn’t exposed to good role models yet, that’s okay! You can start by looking at what’s available to them (what toys do they choose on their own) as well as what books they’re reading (do these stories feature diverse characters?). If there isn’t much out there for children who don’t conform to traditional gender norms, then it’s up to us parents to introduce them ourselves!
Focus on Your Kid As an Independent Individual
It is essential that you don’t label your child in any way, but it’s also important not to make assumptions about their sexuality or gender identity. Your child is a unique individual and should be allowed to develop naturally without being boxed into any labels like “tomboy” or “sissy”.
Be careful of what you say around your kids, too—you may think it’s harmless, but what you say can have a lasting impact on them. If someone asks if one of your children wants to wear something specific and you respond by saying “no boys wear dresses,” then the message here is that boys shouldn’t wear dresses. And while this might seem like an innocent comment with no real consequences, such comments have been shown time and time again to have negative impacts on self-esteem as well as cause confusion around sexual orientation later in life when they’re old enough to understand what those phrases mean.”
Teach Them That Being Different is Okay
You must teach your children that being different is okay.
If you want them to understand that being different is a good thing, then you must also teach them that we all have the same rights and should be treated equally. It’s important for kids to know that no one is the same and that we should all be treated fairly in society, even if they don’t fit into societal norms of what a boy or girl should act like.
Being different makes us unique people who can make our world a more interesting place with our individuality.
Encourage Free Expression in a Safe Space
When you encourage your child to be who they are and make their own decisions, you’re teaching them the value of having confidence in themselves. By doing this, you are also helping them develop the skills that enable them to express themselves freely without fear of judgement. As a parent, it is important to recognize opportunities where your child can express themselves (for example: encouraging them to read, play sports or art) as well as helping build their confidence by providing tools (like books on self-expression).
Teach Them About Sexism
To help your kids understand sexism, you should discuss how it’s not just about women. For example, the gender pay gap is a result of sexism and other forms of discrimination in society that put men in higher-paying jobs over women. You should also teach them about misogyny and how it’s used by people who are threatened by women’s rights to try to discredit them.
You can explain that sexism isn’t just a problem for men; it affects everyone in our society. Men also face pressures from traditional ideas about masculinity—like being expected to be strong, controlling emotion, or being good at sports—that are harmful when taken too far or applied unfairly to certain groups (for instance: boys on the autism spectrum may feel pressure from their peers because they don’t fit into certain stereotypes).
Finally, you can highlight how much gender roles affect kids’ daily lives so that they know what kinds of expectations other people might have for them based on their sex—and why those expectations aren’t right or fair!
Empower your kids to speak out
When we talk about raising kids completely free of gender, it’s crucial to empower them to speak out. They need to know that they can stand up for themselves and others if they feel like their rights are being violated. And this isn’t just about standing up against a bully at school—it also means teaching your child that there are consequences to their actions as well. For example, if they throw a temper tantrum in public and say something hurtful, they should be held accountable for their words.
If you want your children not just to accept the world around them but also embrace its diversity, you must teach them how valuable each person is in making this world what it is today—no matter who he or she may be
Take advantage of teachable moments
When it comes to parenting, there are many teachable moments. Use these opportunities to explain your reasoning behind your decisions and be patient with yourself if you are struggling. It is important for parents raising their kids completely free of gender roles to be aware of the challenges they may face, but also remember that it’s a learning curve for everyone involved. If you’re struggling, ask for help!
Remember That Toys Have No Gender
If you’re considering adopting a gender-neutral parenting approach, remember that toys have no gender.
The aim of gender-neutral parenting is not to eliminate gender entirely. It’s not about upbringing children without any understanding of how the world differentiates between the two sexes. Gender-neutral parenting is instead about avoiding stereotypes and fostering healthy self-esteem in children regardless of their biological sex or presentation. By allowing boys and girls to play with all kinds of toys, parents can help them develop into confident individuals who aren’t limited by societal standards for behavior based on their sex.
If you’re the parent of a child who can’t be put into a box, know that it’s okay to be proud of your kid. They are the ones who have broken down walls and made people think about gender in new ways. And for that, we thank them.
We also hope this article has given you some ideas on how best to support your non-binary kids—and how not to get in their way!