“Boys will be Boys”, may be the most annoying saying. It is as if having a penis means you can be an ass and the word will smile and laugh. In my house we have 2 girls and 1 boy. (Actually Monday to Thursday there are 2 girls, 1 women, 1 boy and 2 men, we are evenly divided.) “
Children should be children” may be a better saying and that could encompass the belief that childhood is a time of innocence and an abundance of free play should be encouraged, no matter the gender roles being used.
When I was early in my Early Childhood Career I learnt about gender natural toys and supporting children through play and imagination as they workout the world around them. Often little boys will be playing with dolls, changing diapers, breast feeding, pretending to be pregnant (In our house I say that women are superheroes because we can grow people, it makes sense that being pregnant should be as amazing a role as being batman.), wearing dresses and high heels. This behaviour choice should be supported.
Children spend a lot of time with females in the communities I live in. While parents are working the boys are with their mom’s or in child care which is dominated by females. Little boys are watching as the female role in their life cares for the family, shows strength and beauty, patience and guidance. It shouldn’t surprise dads, uncles and grandfathers that the little boy in their life is interested in “female” things because that is what surrounds them.
We have a couple male dolls in our home. One “baby Joshua” is anatomically correct and often laying around naked (so often that if he has cloths on we are shocked). The other, Tommy, is a soft doll, who has a sister and Rhett asked for the boy doll because we have so many girls. To some it may appear strange that our son plays with dolls, however we hope one day that he turns into a man and becomes a father. Just as much as our little girls pretend to change drapers, one day Rhett will be the husband and will be changing drapers as well.
Dramatic play is a very important aspect of child development. Being a superhero is fun, so is being a princess. And being a parent is the biggest role we and our children will ever play.
While pregnant with our first we bought things gender neutral. And after Kendall was born there was constant concern that we should continue to buy things in neutral colours in case we had a boy. So Kendall was expected to have no pink (she had made it clear to us that she truly enjoyed pink) , in case she one day had a brother. When Kendall was 3 years old I made the executive decision that Kendall could have a pink quad and a pink quad helmet. And whatever jack ass felt that it was not OK for our possible imaginary son to use or wear the pink hand me downs could go buy new ones. My reasoning was………what if we only have girls and we don’t embrace the pink grisliness that they choose. And why can’t the adults of the world not judge the little boy with the sisters? He has a quad and a hamlet that’s pretty cool in its self.
We as adults are the ones that spread shame to our children. Our son didn’t care about the colour of anything, just that he could use the quad. He likes to paint his toes, because that is what his mommy, whom he adores and spends the most time with is doing.
Having 3 children I have seen different identities in each of them. Kendall wanted to be in the shop during haunting season, watching and “helping”, because she wanted to be with her dad. She would wear her dresses and heals to go quading and loves the outdoors. Until Rhett was born Kendall never once pointed her fingers at me and pretended it was a gun. Rhett by 18 months was shooting things.(We don’t watch violent tv in our house so it wasn’t from that) Rhett also naturally likes hockey, he is not exposed to it any more then Kendall is and yet he loves a stick and a puck. Tobin hunts and they both love being with their dad and they chose different was to show that. Kendall loves to go visiting and be out on the move (she has the exact same personality as her dad which amazes me daily). Rhett loves to cuddle and until moving to a street with other children, he would choose to stay home and watch TV then do anything else.
Let me get to the point. Whether I am raising a boy or a girl the same basic life rules apply in our house. Be kind, be respectful, clean up our stuff, “weird” is a bad word (I challenge you to use that word in a sentence and it be used as a kind statement, try it!), there is no such thing as bad girls and bad boys only bad choices, and be thankful for all we have no matter what colour it is.