Would You Hide Your Child’s Gender?
For one couple there was no question. In the story ‘Parents keep child’s gender under wraps’ Kathy Witterick and David Stocker of Toronto, Canada tell all about how they decided not to reveal the gender of their new baby, even to close friends and family.
Inspired by a 1978 book titled X: A Fabulous Child’s Story by Lois Gould where a child ‘X’ is raised as neither a boy or girl, and grows up to be a happy and well-adjusted child Stocker and Witterick decided to do it. “It became so compelling it was almost like, How could we not?” Witterick said.
The parents are determined to keep their child’s gender hidden so (s)he can grow up making his/her own choices without the influence of gender socialization. According to Witterick “Everyone keeps asking us, ‘When will this end?'” she said. “And we always turn the question back. Yeah, when will this end? When will we live in a world where people can make choices to be whoever they are?”
Now it’s your turn to weigh in. What is your opinion? Would you hide your child’s gender?
How aware are we of the feelings we are experiencing in our relationships with our children? And are we aware of when our responses to our children are motivated by our feelings?
John Gottman, a marriage and parenting researcher and author of books such as “Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child” and “What Am I Feeling?” suggests that there are different styles of recognizing and responding to feelings – our own and our children’s feelings. He says that parents who are aware of their own emotional states well before these feelings grow stronger have an advantage over parents who don’t notice they are angry until they “pop their top”. Because these parents are more emotionally self-aware, they are better prepared to keep their interactions with their children on a more positive track.
For example, my response to my stepdaughter’s behavior will be different if I recognize the feeling of annoyance growing and deal with it before it blows up into the “hotter” feeling of anger. On the positive side, if I am able to recognize those more subtle, pleasant feelings–such as warmth, regard, or appreciation for her—the more often I am likely to offer her an affectionate word or gesture.
Becoming aware of our feelings and learning to manage them are some of the key milestones in the healthy development of our social and emotional selves. Recognizing and naming feelings helps us handle them better. When parents model naming their own feelings and handling them well, they help their children develop these important social emotional competencies.
Interested in more about parenting, social emotional competence, and emotional intelligence?
Here are a few selections found in the Just in Time Parenting newsletters:
Feelings about your parenting
Parents’ social emotional growth
Learning how your child is feeling
Toddlers and negative feelings
Teaching toddlers emotion words