Almost every parent hesitates when someone tells them of gender neutral parenting, as if it’s a brand-new disease. This article is aimed at the general public, so bear with me and keep an open mind and don’t let your biases ruin reasonable propositions. Children are mostly confused regarding their sexuality when they grow up, even if they don’t admit to it. They look to their friends, their parents, and perceive a very warped idea of ‘normalcy’. This is an extension of the “blank state” theory or “tabula rasa” by one of the most well-known philosophers, John Locke. Tabula rasa is the basis of gender neutrality and gender neutral parenting, claiming relevance even to this day.
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Here are a few reasons why every parent should at least consider gender neutral parenting, not just to stand out, but to make sure your children don’t have any mental walls inhibiting their growth:
1. Break millennia-old shackles
I personally believe the concept of two genders and rigid sexual orientations to be something that’s been fed to us from a very young age to the point that it becomes unquestionable when we grow into responsible adults. Your children would surely be in the minority in this day and age, but they’ll probably be the first generation in a long list of gender neutral generations. Keep in mind that gender-based rigidities will dissolve sooner or later; sooner sounds better. When they grow up, after all the cake and watermelon they may grow a sense of pride out of their identity.
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2. Letting your children champion self-determinism
Making every single decision for your children is one of the worst things you could do as a careful parent. A parent’s job is to nurture their children, and not let them inherit biases and convenient notions from a previous generation.
3. Boosting their self-confidence
Self-determinism does wonders for your self-esteem. They tend to take full-control of their lives without being confused at every step of the way.
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4. Boosting their creativity
Studies have shown that gender-neutral parenting boosts a child’s creativity, since they have no invisible walls obstructing their thoughts by categorizing them and sticking to the perceived idea of ‘normalcy’. They don’t get as much tunnel vision as children who’ve grown up in gender binary families, and the perks can be amplified almost endlessly.
5. Broader areas of interests and expertise
The best of both worlds, is what gender neutrality offers. Your child might pick up conventional and somehow gender-designated interests and activities from both genders, allowing them to meet more people and always learn something new.
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6. Empathy towards the ‘opposite’ sex and people in general is easier to come
We develop empathy towards a person when we relate to them. Many who identify as male have trouble understanding women, and vice-versa. Having lived an average of both lives, your child wouldn’t have problems understanding either and they’d go beyond cheap tags like ‘guy problems’/ ‘woman problems’.
7. A concrete yet infinitely flexible sense of identity
As an extension to #2 and #3, self-determinism and confidence allow them to be more in touch with the person they are and not the person society projects onto them. They would have a fairly clear idea of what they want from life, and flexible sexual orientations would let them lead a much more fulfilled life.
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In conclusion, gender neutrality will help your child explore areas they wouldn’t be able to were they stuck in the gender-binary narrative. It all comes down to their choice, they can always choose to revert back to the binary (male or female) or craft an entirely new sexual identity of their own. Either way, they’ll have grown more than many others in their generation in the short time they’ve been with you. Children aren’t clones who have to believe in the same ideologies as their parents, they’re the next generation. Letting your children stagnate like a big frog in a small pond is, I feel, a grave injustice. Let’s progress together.
Featured image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License