What is the new way of parenting that everyone's talking about?
Gender neutral parenting is making headlines all over the world and while it is becoming a trendy parenting style many do not understand what it is about. Here, we give you the information needed so you can opt to adopt this parenting style or not…
Gender-neutral parenting is about breaking away from the gender stereotypes and exposing children to a variety of gender types and allowing them to explore. There are different levels of gender-neutral parenting and not all have to be an extreme approach by raising their child without a formal sexual identity. It is believed that through this, children will learn who they are by their gut instinct rather than the influences of society or others. Parents can practice a lesser strict form of gender-neutral parenting and will simply encourage their children to play with both "boy" and "girl" toys, keep clothing and room styles neutral, and allow their children to pick their own clothes. Even if that means their son goes to school in a dress or their daughter goes out dressed in a Super Man outfit!
The honest answer is lots of people! Only last year, a Swedish couple made headlines after announcing that they had decided to keep the gender of their youngster a secret from close family and friends. Even back in 2011 there was a well-known case of a child named ‘Storm’ who was raised as genderless with no sexual orientation and the child aged 6 now identifies as a ‘female’.
The days of schools demanding that girls were skirts or boys wear trousers is beginning to change albeit slowly. Ireland’s schools are still a little behind in their gender equality and this is certainly going to alter in the coming years. Regardless of your gender it is acceptable that kids wear clothes they feel comfortable in and not feel forced into clothes. Getting rid of stereotypes will be another item on the agenda of schools as kids will be encouraged to play with toys that are targeted at boys and girls.
In fact, Sweden took a big step last year in addressing the gender-neutral trend by adding a gender-neutral personal pronoun "hen" to the country's vocabulary. A children's clothing company in Sweden has stopped its designated boys' and girls' sections to become a gender-neutral shop. A toy catalogue in the same country featured a boy in a Spider-Man costume pushing a pink baby carriage! In recent times some shops have been openly ridiculed for their stereotyping of girls and boy’s clothes and toys while others have blasted clothes riddled with inappropriate slogans that are derogatory to females and males alike.
It is way too early to have research on such a subject but early assumptions are that it may cause confusion while affect a child’s social skills and they may face jeering or slagging. Though children are extremely resilient any parent will have to decide what is and what isn’t best for their child.
Gender-neutral parenting isn’t for everyone but then no parenting style or practice ever is. Do what you feel right.