How to Teach Your Kids to Value Their IdentityOct 21, 2015
As parents, we're constantly aiming to give our children the best guidance, advice, and insight we can. We draw from our own experiences and observations, and weave them together in a way that speaks to our children, but the landscape of childhood has changed quite a bit since we were children. Today's children are exposed to much more adult concepts at earlier ages. When we were kids, gender roles were clearly defined, "gender identity" was a term that had yet to be coined. Raising savvy children requires a bit more forethought when it comes to topics such as gender.
Seedling Co-Founder and CEO, Phoebe Hayman shares her personal philosophy on speaking to her sons about gender identity and roles on Twigtale:
HOW DO YOU TALK TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A GIRL, A BOY, OR ANY OTHER IDENTITY ON THE GENDER SPECTRUM?
We talk about a lot of issues as they come up in a peer-to-peer manner. The first thing we look for is an understanding of what our kids are thinking, so we know where they have context and where they may have assumptions, lack the direct experience, or have heard the opinions of friends. We ask a lot of questions and try to give them information when there are knowledge gaps.
With two boys in our house, one of our most common discussions around gender is about the number of TV shows that have male lead characters who are seemingly incapable of making good decisions and everything is a joke. The popularity of cartoons such as Uncle Grandpa and Clarence are always a great opportunity for a discussion around gender role models. As a parent, I believe digesting content that perpetuates negative stereotypes isn't good for a growing mind. We explain to them that just because you’re being entertained, it doesn’t mean it’s a good thing to watch or poor messaging should be consumed.