I got into a heated discussion with two of my Christian friends about the proper way to raise a boy. I explain to them that if my future son were to ask me for a doll, I would gladly buy it for him.
They immediately told me I would ruin his life and by allowing him to play with dolls how would he know that he was a boy and act like a boy?
I try to prove my point by asking who says it isn't right but they would not listen and told me I was "closed-minded" and my son was going to end up wanting to be a girl and wear dresses.
My question to you all is do you believe in teaching gender roles on to your children or will you let them become whoever they desire?
Agree for sure on the genetics thing. I read a story a while back about a study with monkeys by some researcher at Texas A&M where they surprisingly discovered that male monkeys normally prefered toys that little boys would like and that female monkeys prefered toys that little girls would like. That is some interesting evidence about how male and females are programed with some gender roles from the start and to me helps prove that genetics has more to do with what gender you are programed with from the start. It seems very logical that people get the wrong body from time to time. I like to look at this way ...say you install Apple software on something besides an Apple device you get something that thinks its a Mac but doesn't have the same things as a Mac.
When my son was born, a friend brought toy cars for his two older sisters so that they'd learn to play with boy toys. When my son was around three years of age, his sisters were given a doll each. I had to go and buy a third doll because my son wanted one too.
It's ridiculous to think that cars would change the gender of my girls and a doll would change the gender of my son. Also, my daughters would sometimes dress their brother in girls' clothes when they played. The children were simply being children and it never entered my head that this was anything out of the ordinary.
My children are all heterosexual. My son was a rough and tumble ordinary boy and has been married to the girl of his dreams for two years.
I said to my children, when they were going through the moody teens, that they could tell me anything. I mentioned that if they thought they may be homosexual, that was OK. I told them my love for them would still be the same.
Children find their own way into adulthood. Parents can only guide them and trust they'll turn out to be amazing human beings.
I think it would be hard, if not impossible, to not teach children about gender roles. As children grow up they are locked into (sexual) competition with their parents; Boys compete for their mother's affection with their father and girls for their father's attention with their mother. Colloquially known as daddy's girls and mommy's boys. As long as parents are strong role models, children will emulate their behavior to maximize their chances, and as long as parents fill the fairly normal roles, such as dad fixing the car and mom dressing them for kindergarten, they will self-discriminate into their socially expected gender roles.
I would encourage my children to follow what is commonly accepted as "normal" gender roles due to the fact that those who have "abnormal" behavior tend to have a much harder time, and the probability of bad outcomes in life increases. As for boys playing with dolls and girls with trucks, it's something I doubt comes very high on the list of the teaching of gender roles. The behavior of the parents is in order of magnitude more important if the desire is to have a gender bias free child.
Making a big deal about a boy playing with a doll is, I think, likely to instill some sort of gender anxiety - what's the big deal with a doll? Kids will play with each others toys, play dress up, experiment with role playing, and exercise their imagination in all sorts of ways. That being said, I think children should have positive role models of both genders, and should be praised for 'gender-appropriate' behavior. If they exhibit some cross-gender behavior, I would think it best left ignored. If they display a LOT of cross gender behavior, then I would think it important to consult with a psychologist because there could be a very difficult road ahead for them - but I don't think there is anything that anyone could do to change a situation like that.
Gender roles are so deeply ingrained in our culture, that even if I don't ever teach them about gender they are still going to find out that there are strong expectations for how boys should act and how girls should act. When I have children I will encourage them to be critical of gender roles regardless of whether or not the prefer to follow gender norms.
If they're going to want to act more like a typical girl than boy, they're going to do so whether you let them play with dolls or not. Trying to suppress it will only make them angry with you, and try to keep their transgenderedness a secret from you. Even so, I played with dolls with some of my female friends when I was a kid, and I can assure you that I do not wear dresses.
Nah. Not necessary. I let my son play with whatever toys he wanted, whether they were transformers or baby dolls. Whan he was 8 his favorite color was pink. He turned out just fine.
Being a suitable decent human is preferable than merely simple gender roles.
indeed. If only more people would value people's actions more then if they go to chruch or by whom they love.
Okay so this is hard question. I don't see a problem with allowing boys to play with toy guns, cars, dump trucks or girls to play with barbies, pony's etc but I would never get upset with my kid for playing with toys that are normally played with by the other sex, heck I played with a few barbies here and there with the girl next door when I was a kid and I didn't end up changing genders or being gay. There really is no harm in it and I don't think it has much to do with what gender someone ends up living as in the long run as I think in most cases people are born with natural tendencies one way or the other that will start to come out as the kids mature. Now I would operate on the assumption that a girl would be a girl or a boy would be a boy at least at first until I noticed otherwise (where I would do my best to work with them) when it came to teaching the differences between genders and the sorts of toys that I get them. I wouldn't start them out confusing them too much by saying you can be a girl even though you are a boy etc. I think there is a possibility to cause much confusion for a kid though if we say hey you know you are a boy but just in case you want to be a girl lets try out both or encourage both and see what happens there is a slight possibility that in our well intentioned best efforts to help our kids that we may via our influence cause undue confusion. In the end the vast majority of people will not find themselves in the confusing situation of being in the opposite gender form of what they really are inside which as I stated I believe that most cases happen naturally and not via a choice as in some rare cases. In all honesty while we strive to create an equal world for everyone there will always be some differences between men and women both physically and mentally that can't be ignored or not talked about. In most cases a woman will end up carrying a child per their natural destiny or facing the other issues unique to a woman and it should be explained to a girl what generally happens as a woman. The same applies to men whom will face different challenges then girls in their development. It really is a difficult issue to address where the answers are hard to decide as everyone will have a different journey. What makes one person retain their gender but prefer the same sex and what makes someone change their gender and go one way or the other is very complex with many factors that will be vary widely on a case by case basis. I just know we should all do our best to understand and support people and not be hateful etc and remember that those who go through this are same people we knew before it became public knowledge if they tell people they are going through this. I'm not going to sit here and lie and say even with being very pro everyone rights that it’s not hard for someone to accept a change from a friend or a son or daughter. It can be very hard for someone to suddenly know they may not have grandkids or any number of changes that come along with it so I do think that a little bit of confusion or even strange reactions from loved ones should be forgiven if it only lasts for the shock period.
Why do you keep reposting?
Sorry about that, my browser on the computer I'm on at the office is acting goofy. It kept refreshing when I tried to edit my comment these computers here need to be thrown out a window.