In a society that so badly wants us to conform to its ideals, raising well-rounded and confident kids is bloody hard.
It wasn’t until I became a mum of boys that I noticed girls were more likely to be told they could be anything they wanted to be. But what about boys?
Girls are encouraged and praised for playing with trucks and dressing up as superheroes (& so they should!), whereas boys are often ridiculed for or discouraged from playing with “girl” toys.
I don’t want Charlie and Leo growing up in a world of stereotypes. I don’t want them to feel they have to act tough or can’t pursue an interest just because society tells them they shouldn’t.
If there is one thing I hope to do right as a mum, it’s to empower my boys to break the mould.
I want them to know that it’s ok to cry. That there is strength in admitting fears and there is bravery in standing up for what they believe in. I want them to be powerful yet humble, strong yet gentle, fierce yet kind and know that showing compassion and empathy is one of the strongest things they’ll ever do.
Gender equality starts at home
If only we could see the world through the eyes of our children. We would know nothing of stereotypes, sexism, racism or bigotry. All they know is what we teach them.
In our house we do what every parent can do to teach gender equality, by example. Charlie and Leo see their dad cooking dinner and doing the laundry. They witness us respecting each other.
We encourage participation in sports, dance, music and art and their toys are a mixed bag of cars, balls, dolls and costumes.
So, what else can we do to help them to become happy, kind and confident men who respect others, respect women and respect themselves? Here’s a list of what we try and teach them at home.
- Stand up for what you believe in.
- Have an open mind.
- Offer help. At home and out and about.
- Say I love you. Every day.
- Healthy boundaries.
- Gender is not an excuse for behaviour.
- Feel all the feels. Emotions should be expressed without shame.
- Let them choose their own toys.
- Embrace culture. We regularly visit art galleries, museums and concerts.
- Ask if they’re OK and encourage them to do the same to their peers.
I would love to hear others’ views and ways they encourage gender equality in the home.