Stereotypes: Little Boys and Little Girls

August 26, 2013
I can't say that I've pushed any specific interests on my son. I'm trying my best to keep the world open and let him know that there is nothing that he shouldn't show interest in. So it's made me wonder if there are things that little boys are generally just interested in, or if it's something that's pushed on them. It's hard for me to really know because I only have a boy, so the only little girl that I can compare him to is myself -- and I know that I was interested in a lot of things that the stereotypical girl wouldn't do, such as woodworking, playing sports, and hiking.

He asked to have his face painted like Spiderman. We have never watched the show, nor do we have anything Spiderman related in the house, but he knows who he is.

But, let me get back to my son. I find it interesting that my son points out motorcycles and construction equipment every time we are in the car or going for a walk -- he is in love with Bobcats and could stand and look at one for hours -- even though we've never really said anything about them other than what they are and what sounds they make. He has developed his own interest in those two things on his own, just as he has developed his own interest in doing art, dancing to music, building with blocks, and my nail polish. That's right, he likes my nail polish.

When I paint my nails, he often asks to have his done too.

Now, because of my job I know that it's important not to enforce stereotypes on children and let them develop their own interests without believing that something is just for boys or just for girls. If a boy wants to wear pink, let them wear pink. If a girl wants to play with a hammer and nails, let her play with the hammer and nails. It's is my job to open up a world of possibilities for the children that I work with, and let them play, explore, and discover who they are. This is the kind of world that I am trying to create for my son. Of course people will always have their opinions and laugh at the fact that he is wearing nail polish, but if I remain strong in those situations and teach my son that it doesn't matter what people think, then his world remains open and he will realise that it's filled with endless possibilities.

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