Not too long ago, I was scrolling through facebook, and I came upon a video that made me smile. It exemplified positive parenting in a way that just had to be shared. Our world will be better if we have more courageous daughters and sensitive sons. I am hoping this article will make the case that gender-free parenting is a noble and wonderful goal.
When my wife was pregnant with our first child, I remember discussing a belief that we both had; namely, we wanted to raise our children the same, regardless of gender. We noticed that the gender roles that our society proscribes restrict the freedom that people have to be authentic. Sons are taught to “be tough,” and “be a man.” Meanwhile, daughters are taught to focus their energies on being nice, making others happy, learning how to listen and communicate with others.
These narrow behavioral scripts can leave children with incomplete skills for success. We wanted our children to be both brave and socially competent. The purpose of this article is to discuss research which examines the effect of raising children inside strict gender roles, and then encourages you to create courageous daughters and sensitive sons.
I contacted the father in the video, and asked him if I could have permission to show some videos and pictures of him interacting with his daughter. Here’s a video that expertly demonstrates some of the principles I want to teach on this site:
The reasons to read to your child are numerous. That’s why Henry Winkler (aka The Fonz) has put his name behind the National Literacy Trust. When you read to your child, you show him that he is important enough to give him your undivided attention. This can build his self-esteem, and give him tools for fighting back disappointment in the future. You model the importance of reading. When you read to your child, you have multiple opportunities to reward and praise her for her questions, comments, and observations. This can strengthen your relationship, and build connections that make her more likely to go to you when she needs advice. Finally, when you read to your child, your child learns how those little squiggles on the pages represent specific sounds. Reading is the foundation for academic success.
I am delighted to introduce Mrs. Amy Ludwig, a personal friend, to this site. Amy has a Master’s in Education, and is a fantastic mother. When I decided that I needed an article about why you should read to your child, I immediately thought of Amy. I hope you enjoy her thoughts and stories, and it inspires you to take time out of your busy schedule to read to your child even more than you already do.