Boys can be anything. So can girls.
Don’t let stereotypes of society interfere. At various stages throughout life, we all experience pressure to behave in certain ways, to appear to be someone we are not. If adults can’t stand up and be who they really are, how brave are our children for regularly doing what we cannot?
So often throughout life, people must be chameleons. Constantly adapting to meet the needs of OTHERS rather than the needs of themselves.
As grownups, we feel we have to fit in, whether it’s a job or a sport or any social group. It makes day to day life more comfortable, maybe not internally, but certainly in our regular interactions. We usually aim to be pleasing to certain demographics within which we want to be accepted. We want to be liked, and so many of us seem prepared to compromise those values which we hold so dear. I certainly have. Almost every day it happened. It all started in a big way in high school when peer pressure ruled.
We chase acceptance.
We’re taught to pay homage to success, rather than seek to learn from our failures.
It’s only since I’ve reached a stage in life where I feel I have a maturity, and so little to lose, that I have thought ‘to hell with it‘, and just been me. I still put clothes on to go out though 🙂
Family roles dictate early on in life what a child perceives to be acceptable behaviour.
Traditionally, Dad’s are somewhat absent, working and playing with mates; whereas Mum’s used to be there, home. That’s obviously changed and it’s now the norm for women to return to the workforce early, leaping into sports and wellness and mothers groups. All good. Still, it’s usually the women doing most of the work at home. But slowly families are embracing new ways of being, where parents are more likely to embrace actions that outwardly express their values and worldviews.
Children see these roles, whether traditional, modern, or more likely some mix, and naturally begin to model their behaviour along gender lines, copying the only examples they have in early life – us. Dad’s and Mum’s.
As they grow older they have more input to choose from, be it from early childcare or the education system, or a hobby or sport or artistic endeavour. If they’re lucky enough, they may have a large family full of wonderfully diverse influences – but increasingly the family unit is becoming more isolated, as we all are. Outside influences become limited to parents and childcare and later, school.
High school and the drive for independence see young teen’s go to extreme measures to fit in, some dangerous.
A new way. For better or worse.
TV and social media are the new influences, and after a quick look at these, as everyone knows, they are far from ideal. Even I have let Homer Simpson be a surrogate Dad from time to time – DOH!
I used to communicate with friends on the phone. Now it’s by any number of channels, often open for peers to see and make comment – or judgment. It’s just not what we may have done.
Luckily, kids are resilient and open. Naturally inquisitive. Smart. They experiment with different roles they see through play and imagination – wonderful, joyous, free imagination. If we let them. Better yet – get in there and play WITH them. Guide them if you feel you have to but try to take their lead. And stop worrying. Just because your boy likes dolls when young doesn’t mean he won’t become a football star. But he might also become a musician, a writer, an actor, or a fashion designer.
Kids may experiment with sexual identity. They may fall in with the wrong crowd, bully, become violent, self-harm, do drugs.
I doubt being a tomboy or a boy playing with dolls had much of an influence on these behaviours.
Put things into perspective and stop sweating the small stuff.
Intervene with the big stuff like drugs, or the bad crew that’s influencing them.
Let them be. Then go and be you. Be Dad.
Let your boys and girls be. You might be surprised at what they can teach you about letting your guard down and just being YOU. Accept that kids can be whatever they want to be. You’ll all be better off.
Be the parent. Be the DAD!
Are you a Dad with a gentle, soft, compassionate, quiet boy, full of empathy? Does he still pursue typical rough and tumble boy activities? Has it made any difference to the way you treat him or feel for him? What about you Dad's with extreme tomboy daughters? Do any of you love your girls any less?