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  1. #11
    khm is offline Emerald level (3000+ posts)
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    Aw. It is annoying. I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that its the parents fault, that he's explicitly hearing this from them.

    It is SO pervasive. Every commercial he sees, every image on the packaging of a toy screams "this is a boy toy" or "this is a girl toy", every visual ad image in Target, books, happy meal toys where there are distinct boy / girl toys, apps are gendered - it's EVERYWHERE. He's 5 and he's picking up on that. Your daughter's awesomeness will hopefully help him see the light.

  2. #12
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    Developmentally, 4ish is when kids start noticing and characterizing. You can get lots of comments about height, weight, boy/girl, good/bad. This is the age where cultural teaching is so important! From your comments about Halloween, I’m wondering whether you might live in a town where people might be less likely to correct those characterizations, and if that’s the case, you may find there could be a problem. This requires correction from adults, and the corrections do work. My kids would say things like, “X said girls should play with dolls and not climb, but I know it doesn’t matter if you’re a girl or a boy, it’s just about what you like, right?” And I’d agree. I started talking to them about race and commenting on people’s body types at the same time. I taught them about how their brains work to try to fit people in boxes, identify who’s different, and characterize different as not as good and how we have to overcome that basic, tribal way of thinking with our knowledge that different is an opportunity to learn something new. It works. Now my kids will recognize stereotypes and catch their implicit bias often. It doesn’t mean the rest of the world is as evolved, clearly, but they also understand that most people really mean well. They just don’t know their brains are tricking them but believe what their brains tell them, so they think things that are different are bad or dangerous when they’re not. It’s okay to recognize that they can still be well-meaning, good people, and wrong. It’s also important to recognize that we can also be well-meaning and good but can be wrong. It’s important to keep checking to see if you’re listening to the “different is dangerous or bad” idea. It’s also important to learn to ignore hurtful comments and not let them sway your knowledge about yourself or others. I think teaching your daughter about where these ideas come from so she realizes they are about other people’s opinions and not about “truth” will be very helpful.


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  3. #13
    hbridge is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    My assumption would be that he had just learned about gender differences and was "trying it on"; telling you that your child is a girl and should like "princess stuff". He may have heard it once, from who knows where, and it stuck. I would guess that you daughter will tell him, as kids do, that she likes X and does NOT care about "gender stereotypes" (she will say that in "kid verse", of course). They will figure it out! The only thing I would maybe consider doing is giving your daughter language to stick up for her beliefs. Let her know that you love her just as she is and she has a right to like what she likes; no one can tell her differently. Don't even go into the whole boy/girl thing; just help her find the words she can use to stick up for herself if the situation comes up...

    Yes, you may find this happening more and more. From kids, I wouldn't give it another thought if it happens once or twice. From adults, then it's time to educate!

    My DD behaves more like a boy in many respects. Our biggest issues have been from family members who are amazed and NOT happy at DD's energy level and boldness. If I hear one more time that she is more active than any of the boy grandchildren... I just agree that she has lots of energy and go find the toys we brought, because "no she won't just sit and color like your other granddaughters did"! Ugh!

    Good luck and stay strong!

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