Wednesday, July 4, 2012

I Don't Raise Boys or Girls, I Raise Children

I often hear people say that their daughter loves dance class, at 2 years old, or their son loves football, at 1 year old. My question is always, Great, what else does your child love? Our children are not one trick ponies as we all know. They have various talents and interests. However, problems can arise if they show different interests than those we wish for them to have. Even the best parents sometimes have a vision of their children's futures and if the child's vision is different, well that can cause conflict.

Many people say that boys like to be rough and girls do not. Not true. Children who have extra energy or special needs and are not allowed to do activities that enable the use of this energy are rough. My second daughter is very rough also because my husband thinks it is great fun to wrestle a bit or play keep away. This is not because my child likes to rough house per se..it is because her father taught her to interact with him this way. I have taught many students who must move and keep busy in order to feel happy and complete their learning each day. If given coping skill,s they can and do succeed daily. If they are repeatedly ignored or told to calm down they fail. It never hurt anyone to have a morning recess or physical education class. It never harmed anyone to have a stress ball in hand while at carpet time.

Folks also often speak about girls enjoying quiet calm activities, but have YOU ever been to a slumber party with a bunch of girls? Yeh, not quiet or calm in most cases. The slumber parties I attended, and I was a shy introvert by the way, were loud affairs with tons of chit chat, loads of laughter, games, and more.

This does not mean that a female should ignore a love of making jewelry if she enjoys this activity. Nor should a male ignore sports if he is intersted in them. It does mean, however, that people who think they are not raising children with preconceived notions may want to stop and reassess their daily activities and conversations. Does your child like the activities in which he or she participates? More importantly did your child ask to be a part of the activity or did you choose it?

My children are all three, girls and boy, welcome to participate in any legal and productive activity they wish. All they have to do is ask. We expose all three of them to as much of the world as we can so they can choose what their interests are. We do not force them to attend activities they dislike and we do not require a girl to do ballet at the age of 2 or 3 or a boy to play t-ball at the age of 3. After all, we are raising children, not boys and girls.

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