The new age is here,and in many different spheres of life, roles of men and women are being reversed. The wave of empowering people to do all kinds of things is coming through in a strong manner. Yet, we hear and see children differentiating and saying things like ‘That’s for girls?’ or ” Only boys wear blue’. These childhood conversations and beliefs build up the foundation of the same child growing up to say things like, ‘Women belong in the kitchen’ or ‘Men can’t cry’.
In today’s time, men and women are equally ambitious, successful and independent. They make choices of their own. It is important to teach your child the significance of this for 2 reasons- he/she will respect parents for their lifestyle choices, and will be confident in following his/her heart when it comes to choosing a career for themselves too. The only way to bring about change is to intervene early, and shape the child’s thinking when he is young. We have no idea what situation the child will have deal with when they grow up and what adjustments they may have to make. The best option is to give children tools that push their thinking to be open minded and progressive. Below are some strategies that can help do the same :
1. Get your own beliefs straight and model them!
Children learn by doing. Things they see around and ape behavior. Think about the biases you may have first and think about it- is that something you would like to pass on to your child? Once you are clear with what you feel, you can consciously encourage kids to show equality. Encourage them to play all games and dance. Even the things you say, should not create any bias in their mind. Refrain from using terms that speak of a certain gender.
2. Give your children exposure!
It is not necessary that children see different situations around them all the time. You need to create opportunities for children to be exposed to different gender roles and situations, Take them out and talk about things they see, maybe a chef you is a man, a woman who comes home late. Let them ask people questions about how it works, in polite manner and discuss the opinions later. Try and at talk about it in different ways, things at school at home, something shown in a movie or cartoon.
3. Build ownership
Children will not never be able to be confident about reversing gender jobs or roles unless they are used to advocating it. If you want your daughter to stand up for equal pay or your boy to open to being a stay at home dad, you need to prepare them for it. The only way is to build ownership. Assigning chores to all your children, helps them take hold of their lives and pushes them to be independent. All household/school work should be done by everyone. Only them will they feel a strong tie to identity. When that happens, they will be open to other people and their sense of identity as well.
This is something that will govern their lives, and it is important for parents to make their children realise the changing roles of gender in the society. So what if you’re a working mom and the father stays home to look after the household duties? Teach your child to respect decisions, and to follow their heart.