Here is one of my biggest pet peeves.. when other people tell you or your child WHO they are! Excuse me, but since when did you know my child better than he does?
Things like “You are going to be smart like your dad” or “Why are you wearing a girls shirt?” or “Only mean boys don’t share” can be so hurtful to a child. I even find myself putting labels on my kids from time to time, telling them they are smart, or they are so good at sports, or such “boys”.
You wouldn’t think that telling a kid they ARE smart would hurt them, but it puts so much pressure on them. Do you ever get told things about yourself like how pretty you ARE or how smart you ARE? It becomes part of your definition, so when you have a day where you get a pimple and have greasy hair, or maybe you found a test you really struggled with, it isn’t just a “lazy day” or a “bad test”. It really hits you hard because it shakes who you thought you were. You start thinking “I am SMART so why couldn’t I do it?” or “I am PRETTY so what is wrong with me?” (Nevermind that being smart doesn’t mean knowing everything or that being pretty doesn’t mean never having a bad hair day or a stress pimple or whatever).
Do your kids a favour, don’t put that pressure on them. Change your language. You CAN BE so smart! You CAN BE so pretty! (Pump them up and praise them, but don’t label them). I am not saying it is easy, I struggle, but it is possible and it would sure make kids feel like they were less disappointing sometimes.
Onto the other stereotypes: THE GENDER STEREOTYPES
Whomever said boys cannot wear pink had a serious stupidity break. All colours are great for all people! So don’t tell my child he can’t wear ANY colour, or any style for that matter. Maybe he wants to be a princess. Who are you (or I) to tell him it is or isn’t okay to be whoever he wants?
You hear about people who feel trapped in bodies that don’t match their inner gender, and the struggle they face just to decide to show the world WHO THEY ARE… stop telling them who they are before they are old enough to know!
“You are such a boy/girl”.. what the hell does that mean? Do you ever ask yourself what it means to BE a boy or a girl? How about “You can be such a compassionate child” or “You are such a tough kid sometimes”. Why label a label? Realistically, a boy can be sweet and quiet and caring just as much as a girl can be rough and athletic and destructive.
Telling kids that they are “acting like a whatever” defines them and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You told them they act like boys, and boys don’t cry, and don’t wear pink, (and even the way people talk to boys or girls using more or less language or more or less emotion creates a gender stereotype) and so because they act like boys, they MUST be boys, so when they get older and maybe start feeling more “feminine” they struggle with their identity because WAIT A MINUTE I AM SUPPOSED TO BE A TOUGH EMOTIONLESS BOY!
Oh, and ladies, my favourite thing about this is that we tell little boys not to cry, to be tough, etc and then when they grow into men we EXPECT them to be caring, sympathetic and romantic, and even try to change them to be more “feminine” in those ways! (WHAT THE HELL ARE WE DOING?!)
I don’t want my sons to be emotionless robots, and if they cry.. GREAT, if they want to talk about feelings.. AWESOME… unfortunately it does take a village to raise a child and that village doesn’t always agree.
So I am gunna put it out there, PLEASE STOP LABELLING MY CHILDREN!