Avoiding gender stereotypes in parenting

Armin Brott, Dad, Author, and Radio Host, shares advice for parents on the importance of avoiding gender stereotypes when raising their young child
Parenting Tips | How To Avoid Gender Stereotypes In Parenting
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Avoiding gender stereotypes in parenting

Think about the first question that goes through your mind when you hear that somebody you know had a baby. Boy or girl? That's what we want to know. It really makes absolutely no difference, does it? But it helps to sort of set our minds in a particular way because we know girls do this, boys do that. So we immediately fall into these sort of stereotypes. And my absolute favorite pieces of research had to do with this: The researchers brought a group of parents in to look through a glass window and they said, "Take a look at this baby. This is a girl. Beautiful girl, right?" And so the parents come out and they interview them and they find out that everybody says that the girl was small and she's petite and she's warm and cuddly. They take other parents in, they show the same baby, and they say, "What do you think of this boy?" And they talk about how burly he is and strong and tough; same kid. Because we've heard, we process this whole thing as boy or girl; we know what to do with them. And it's very easy to fall into that sort of stereotype with your own kids, that you may think that girls are not as sturdy as boys; that happens to not be true. So you may not play in quite the same way that you would play with your son, with your daughter. So there's some socialization. But there's also really and truly, I think there's some hardwiring in here too. And I remember interviewing a couple that had twins, a boy and a girl, and they tried as hard as they possible could to raise their kids in a gender-neutral sort of way. And the mom told me at one point, she said, "I come in, my son has chewed his toast into the shape of a gun. And my daughter picked up the truck that we had given her and she wrapped it in a blanket, she's carrying it around rocking it." So think about what you're doing when you're behaving with your children. You don't want to necessarily push them into gender stereotype or say that girls do this and boys do that. But you also don't want to fight them on it if they're naturally drawn to something. Go with what they want, not with what you want.

Armin Brott, Dad, Author, and Radio Host, shares advice for parents on the importance of avoiding gender stereotypes when raising their young child


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Armin Brott

Dad, Author & Radio Host

A former Marine, Armin Brott has devoted the last 15 years to providing men with the tools, support, and knowledge to help them become the fathers they want to be—and their families need them to be. His seven critically acclaimed books for fathers have sold well over a million copies. Titles include The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips, and Advice for Dads-to-Be and The New Father: A Dad’s Guide to the First Year. He has written on fatherhood for hundreds of newspapers and magazines and is a frequent guest on such television programs as the Today Show. He also writes a nationally syndicated newspaper column (Ask Mr. Dad), and hosts a syndicated radio show (Positive Parenting). He lives with his family in Oakland, California.

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