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Parenting children of different gender

Parenting children of different gender

We live in an era in which gender problems looks like an old issue. The world is under constant change and discrimination towards different genders is also gradually decreasing. It is high time to know about raising children free of gender. I hear you saying, “What! Is that even possible?!” Well, the super parents of our generation have made it possible. They have developed a gender-free parenting method, which they fondly call “Gender-neutral parenting”.

It is a concept of raising the children free of gender that provides room for them to choose their own identity. There has been a rise in criticisms regarding this approach towards children. It is not scientifically proved to be a good parenting method, however, a study conducted in 2017 states that about 60% of women and 40% of men prefer this kind of parenting.

The concept has been developed to free children from performing gender stereotypical roles. Traditionally, the boys are encouraged to be fearless, arrogant and aggressive labelling it as boys’ natural behaviour. On the contrary, the girls are forced to be passive, sensitive and sweet. Any violation of this stereotypical notion is considered inappropriate. We are also aware that, boy babies are given certain kinds of toys and girl babies are provided toys that are different from boys. Even the colour and the type of clothing are also differentiated. Now, the question of Gender-neutral parents is, why is this discrimination? Why not the children be given the freedom to choose their own identity? Although there are many controversies running around this issue, there is still a considerable amount of people who support and follow this method of parenting.

The case is very different when you raise children of opposite gender together. Whether to adopt gender-neutral parenting or not is whole another debate. But here are a few things to be followed while parenting kids of different genders.

Raising siblings together is the greatest challenge in parenting. There is no denying that the sibling bond is the strongest one, but parents do play a very important role in building it especially when it comes to siblings of the opposite gender. The first thing that any parent should know is the difference between sex and gender. Sex is the matter of biology whereas gender is something that is related to a person’s individual identity or choice. So, as a parent, you should take utmost care to treat your son and daughter equally. You should give them space to experiment and identify themselves as a specific gender. I know that it is not possible for very young children to perform this difficult task, but that should not let you force things upon them.

There are myriad benefits in raising children together. As siblings, they try to find comfort and belongingness in each other. They learn the art of sharing, and siblings are more likely to be compassionate with other children. This bond might get affected if you don’t treat them as equals. Creating a positive family environment has greater effects on the behaviour of the children. Comparing one child with the other, often punishing the eldest one, failing to appreciate their efforts might also cause harmful consequences. Always take time to talk to the kids and help children in understating their importance in the family. Investing more time on the children, creates this awareness in them. Another important thing to be noted is distributing the responsibilities equally to both the child. In a similar manner, the opportunities should also be given without any bias.
By providing this positive growth environment, you are making the children to face the outer world with more compassion and empathy. And I am sure that with these qualities, your kids will prove to be better humans in future!


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Pictures from


Jenifer Deivanayagam

Research Intern


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