TALK BACK: gender neutral parenting?

Yesterday, as my son gleefully pranced around the house wearing high-heeled princess slippers that someone gave his younger sister, I had to fight the urge to tell him to take them off. I've always been one to try to parent my kids in a way that doesn't overemphasize their gender, and I'm especially sensitive about shielding my son from any machismo expectations at this age. I bought my son dolls and kitchen items and toy strollers. I encourage my daughter to play with her brother's cars and super heroes. Yet suddenly the thought of my son dressing up as a princess had me feeling all conflicted.

How much do you try to neutralize gender roles in your home? Would you buy your daughter a superman costume if she asked for it? WOULD YOU BUY A PRINCESS DRESS FOR YOUR SON? Where do you draw the line?


  1. If my son wore his sister's princess dress for dressup..I would not make a big deal. But, I would not buy one for him...I guess with all honesty there is no gender neatral parenting here....I instruct and nurture my kids to their own gender :)!
    sandy toe

  2. Everyone gets to wear everything in our house! Girls are pirates, chefs, bears, etc. and boys are fairies, princesses, butterflies, etc.
    The rule is that no-one gets to wear dressing-up clothes out of the house, (I mean in the street and going to the shops, they're allowed to wear them in the garden).

  3. As the 6th child, and only the 2nd boy, Emmanuel has gotten to do pretty much whatever he wanted in the dress-up department. And he DEFINITELY wanted to be a girl and wear pink. Pink, pink, all the time pink. We (I) did buy him a pink sweatsuit for pajamas. He had a hand-me-down dress that he could keep that was "his".. he never wore it, but he wanted to HAVE it. He had, and wore, pink sunglasses (everywhere). But.. he could wear a pink jacket at home, but not to school, pink shorts at home, but not to the grocery store, etc. Personally, *I* didn't care. But Daddy was having none of it.

    When he turned 4 AND A HALF he suddenly decided pink was for girls, and now he won't have anything to do with it. It is all athletic "striped pants" for him now.

  4. My older girl LOVES Star Wars, Transformers, BB guns, motorcycles and GI Joe.

    My little one wants to always be a princess and she says she can only be a princess if she wears a dress.

    I don't have a boy, but he would have to make do with his sister's dress up clothes. Cause I'm not buying a dress for a boy. (dh would have a fit!)

    Either way, I do try to encourage my girls to enjoy the things they are interested in. If that means doing something that is typically in the "boy" realm, fine. If they want to be girly, that is fine too.

  5. Hmm, interesting question. I guess I'd buy my son a princess outfit if he asked for one and really wanted it, but neither of them have never shown any particular interest. Now that I think about it, I did put my old prom and bridesmaids dresses into their dress-up clothes bin (along with the firefighter jacket, vests, old suit coats, white lab coat, hats, wigs, etc), but they almost never do any dress-up play of any kind.

    I grew up feeling uncomfortable with people who were anything other than 100% completely typical in every aspect of their gender identity (even moms who worked outside the home were kinda weird to me). I don't want that discomfort for my kids.

  6. Yes I'd get either costume for either of my kids (a girl and a boy). They share all their clothes and both of them love dresses and the girl loves dinosaur shirts and they insist on wearing the same boyish coats and shoes (same color, same everything) and it's ALL OK!! I really don't see any problem or issue with my toddler boy (3) wearing dresses or girly shoes or whatever he wants.


We love comments! No need to log in, just talk to us . . .

Enter your email here to sign up for our weekly recap, the Mama Memo.
Related Posts with Thumbnails