5 ways parents can help kids avoid gender stereotypes

5 ways parents can help kids avoid gender stereotypes

The majority of Americans believe there is more work to do on gender equality. As a genderqueer sociologist, a parent of a kindergartner and the author of a book on gender creative parenting, I study the importance of disrupting sexism in childhood. Here are five ways I’ve found that parents and caregivers can fight gender stereotypes in kids’ lives. …

Many children are cisgender – meaning their gender identity aligns with the sex and gender they were assigned at birth. However, the percentage of young people in the U.S. who are transgender – meaning their gender does not align with the sex they were assigned at birth, or who are nonbinary – meaning their gender is neither strictly male or female – is growing. And an estimated one in every 1,500 to 2,000 babies born in the U.S. are intersex, meaning their sex chromosomes or reproductive anatomy may be different than what is typically categorized as male or female. …

For example, building toys and small vehicles are marketed to boys, and dolls and makeup to girls. In children’s clothing stores, primary colors, transportation and sport graphics are often on one side, and pastels, flowers and sparkles on the other.

Children learn important social, emotional and physical life skills through play. Playing with a variety of toys provides opportunities to develop and build upon well-rounded skills, including spatial awareness and empathy. Gender-stereotyped marketing can limit the kinds of toys and experiences children are exposed to. …

By Kyl Myers, University of Utah for The Conversation

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