Children and Gender Roles
As I type this I am listening to my three youngest bathing suited beauties playing in our kitchen deck.
Two hours ago they took their doll strollers, pretend kitchen toys and plastic food, and stuffed animals out there. Every evening after dinner this is where the little girls disappear to. They are ages 8, 7, and 4.
Essentially they are playing house, even though they call it “mom and kid”. This role playing has occured in my house for years, on their own, and certainly never forced.
When they tired of playing with their dolls and stuffed animals, they went outside for a walk, to gather various objects for a ‘project’ they were going to do. When I found them they had found berries, rocks, leaves, and twigs. They made artwork out of it.
On the deck. All over.
It made a mess.
However, this artwork stained the deck a rusty blue color.
The girls, knowing they were responsible for their own messes, took it upon themselves to clean the deck.
Once again I checked on them and I found them scrubbing and mopping the entire deck. In their own words, they were having ‘so much fun’ and loved ‘helping me’ as they were washing and scrubbing the deck.
Now as the second hour of play/work as passed, they are pushing their babies to sleep, making butt prints with wet bathing suit bottoms, and singing as loud as they can. (I hope my neighbors don’t mind).
The point in telling you this story is that young children instinctively know what their roles are, and that they don’t need ‘help’ to be pushed to gender neutral roles.
Girls tend to gravitate towards more feminine roles and boys towards masculine roles.
Often the lines appeared blurred because some girls are more masculine and the boys may appear to be more feminine.
My girls love to play in the mud, climb trees, pretend to go to work, and play sports.
And my boy loves to be in the kitchen and cook with me, but yet he would prefer to be in the garage next to my husband or in his room working on his car models.
My girls have no interest in working on cars, cutting trees, or changing a fuel pump, unlike their brother.
We are okay with our girls preferring to do more feminine roles and our boy doing the masculine stuff.
What is femininity?
Being feminine does not have to mean sitting daintily on a chair, sipping an iced tea, under a parasol while your husband is a sweating to death working in the hot sun.
Let us not confuse traditional Victorian values with being feminine.
“Femininity can be expressed through speaking kindly, acting gently, having a servants heart, being hospitable, promoting peace in the home, and having a quiet and gentle spirit.”
Even though some may consider a man’s work unfeminine, I see nothing wrong with working alongside your man (especially if he needs help).
When we cut wood, I don’t use the chainsaw, but I do haul branches, stack and haul wood, and drive the truck and trailer. I see it as helping my husband and teaching my kids good work ethic.
There is a difference between doing a man’s work to prove a point that women are equal compared to just working alongside a man as his helpmeet.
Teaching our children gender roles is not wrong. Nor is it wrong for a boy to be in the kitchen or a girl to be in the garage, as long as it not forced in any way.
We were designed to be nurturers and organizers of the home moreso than men. And while a man’s number one priority should be as the main breadwinner.
Instead of fighting the way we were created and designed, let’s embrace it and raise our children accordingly.
The God who made the sea, sky, and sun is the Master creator. His design is not flawed nor is it to be messed with.