|My son has long eyelashes...|
and he wears all the colors.
"Direct your son in an unconfusing way. Don’t buy him Barbie dolls or girl’s clothes. You don’t want to do things that seem to support the confusion at this stage of the game... Take the girl things away, and buy him boy toys.... Support him in what he’s doing, but not in the girl things."Basically, Dr. Phil told this child's mother to stop accepting him for who he is and try to force him to conform to traditional gender roles. I sincerely hope that this child's mother does not listen to Dr. Phil's advice and decides to, instead, encourage her son to explore whatever interests him.
I take serious issue with medical professionals on television who don't provide accurate and balanced information. Dr. Phil, like Dr. Oz, has an obligation to his viewers to present information sans personal biases and phobias. I think it's wrong for medical professionals to imply that being gay is "not normal" or something for parents to "worry about" with respect to their children.
Furthermore, what's the big freaking deal, anyway?! So the kid likes to play with dolls. Personally, I hated Barbie dolls as a child—because they looked so fake—was that supposed to be cause for concern from my parents? I think Amber Strocel has it right: we parents should encourage our children regardless of their sex organs to develop and express all aspects of their personalities.
Children learn through play. If we tell them that boys play with trucks, kick balls, and run around getting dirty while girls play with dolls, dress up and sit quietly in the corner looking pretty, we're telling them that it's shameful to deviate from these imposed norms. We're telling them they are not free to be themselves. We're telling them that it's not OK to explore different things.
|My husband's favorite diaper cover: the "Rose" color.|
Sometimes people think Daniel is a girl...and I usually don't correct them. I don't really understand why it's important to parents that people know whether their kids are male or female. I've even heard mothers remark at how upset it makes them when someone mistakes their daughter as a son. What I don't understand is: Why?
When a random person comes up to me and says, "Your baby is so beautiful!" I say "Thank you!" When someone says, "Aww, she's so sweet" I say, "Yes, I know!" When they say, "How old is she?" I say, "Eight months." Sometimes I'll say "He's eight months," but I never walk away from the interaction feeling upset or offended that they didn't know my baby is a little boy.
It doesn't bother me one little bit, but it does bother lots of other parents I know, so here's a quick tip: if you're asking about someone's baby, don't use gender-specific language, no matter how sure you are that the child is a boy or a girl. (This is kind of like how you should never ask someone when she's due, unless she has told you that she's pregnant. That woman who looks about ready to give birth could have had her baby yesterday—or several months ago—and you might make her feel bad by asking.) Instead of using gendered pronouns, say something like, "What's your baby's name?" or even "How old is your child?" Chances are, the baby's caregiver will respond in a complete sentence: "She's six months old!" If your curiosity isn't satisfied with their first answer, consider at least using an inclusive question such as, "Do you have a son or a daughter?"
|I only wish these purple pjs still fit him!|
Plus, I find the messages that these clothes bear to be extremely presumptuous (not to mention sexist): Boy clothing clothing bearing sports equipment and various construction/emergency service vehicles proclaims "Daddy's Future Quarterback," and "Mommy's Little Hero." Girl clothes, with their ruffles and pervasive pinkness, shout, "Little Princess," "Pretty in Pink," and your little girl's pacifier wouldn't be complete without "Diva"stamped on the front.
Mothers For Womens' Lib wrote a while back about a gender-neutral childrens' clothing store, Polarn O. Pyret. Their slogan is: Not for girls. Not for boys. We make clothes for children. I love it. That's how all kids' clothing departments should be, in my opinion. Another good post on gender-neutral shopping for children is Non-sexist holiday shopping: Is it possible? by PhD in Parenting.
In all fairness, it's a very tricky thing, walking this line about gender with respect to our kids. Clothing is such a personal choice and at the same time we want to protect our kids from the ignorance and cruelty of others. Jessica at This is Worthwhile wrote about her internal struggle over her son's choice of shoe color, and I really appreciate her candor in sharing her story. I'm sure by now you've heard about Nerdy Apple Bottom's story about her son being looked down upon by the other preschool mothers for choosing to wear a Daphne from Scooby Doo costume for Halloween. (You can read the follow-up about what has happened to her within her church here.)
I think the bottom line with all of this is that we need to strive to be a whole lot more accepting of our children just exactly the way they are. This means disregarding the advice of yet another TV doctor who is perpetuating misinformation, and instead, aiming to provide our kids with an open, supportive, and welcoming environment to discover who they are.
For other reading on gender and gender-neutral parenting, check out Raising him purple: a defense of gender-neutrality in early childhood from Raising My Boychick, and Practicing Gender Neutral Parenting and Raising an Equally-Minded Male from The Feminist Breeder.