Do you have a doll at home.. Boy mom?

Toys have no gender🚺🚹 , they have no idea whose playing with them, a girl or a boy . Nor do the kids … they don’t think of their own gender before they start playing with a toy …. till we adults intervene. And either joke about boys with dolls and label girls as Tom boys when they are playing with cars.Making them wonder about gender too soon.

It’s up to us parents, kids do what they see and gender discrimination in toys is an age old accepted norm. We need to commit ourselves to keep this gender conversation open. Even if we have understood how harmful it can be, we still have a world full of marketers who put gendered marketing techniques to sell their stuff and then there are neighbours, peers and older people in our children’s life. What I have done in my capacity as a child developmentalist is to constantly remind my son, his friends , cousins, grandparents, and everyone around us who would listen that there is no such thing as boy stuff and girl stuff. It is high time that we change the narrative all around and hence I have been trying to reach as many people as I can through Lilsakos, a gender neutral space I have been building for last six months. https://www.instagram.com/lilsakos/

One issue of not giving our boys dolls to play makes me especially angry. If we can love a man rocking a baby or a doting father changing diapers , why do so many squirm or bully boys with dolls. Seeing a father caring for a baby makes us miss a beat and invoke a emotion in us. So why, when we like men to be sensitive and caring ,why do we discourage small boys to cry, play with dolls and never ever think how harmful our expectations from little boys are.

See below four powerful reasons that will convince you to let your boys and girls both play with dolls:

  1. It will help raise empathetic kids irrespective of their gender. A doll can be a great way to role play situations, talk about feelings or simply learn how to care for something.
  2. Dressing up dolls is good for fine motor skills of kids. The buttoning, zipping is good practice for them to learn to dress themselves up.
  3. Caring for a doll can be used to show kids how to hold someone smaller than them or how to be gentle with them. A doll can help a kids get prepared for a new baby sibling.
  4. Many of us women grew up playing with dolls, but not too many men did. We need to give dolls to our little boys to debunk the age old idea that caring is a woman’s job. Just like dolls prepared us to be moms, dolls can prepare boys to be dads.

Are your kids intrinsically motivated?

What do you think is better?

To remind kids to study , read , make their schedules and continuously be after them to follow YOUR plan.

OR

Let kids be free to make their own schedules, study , read etc on their own.

We got it right somewhat , beyond the initial years our children studied and read on their own , reminded me the timings of drop off for their activities. Some days were good , some frustrated me a lot to see them whiling away time , not sticking to their own routines but it all ended up great. As we have two intrinsically motivated young adults doing pretty well for themselves in college now. Not that any of this was easy but in hindsight making kids not dependent on praise and rewards worked. Not that they didn’t mind when their friends were rewarded by holidays, air pods, clothes and new phones. They did crib but we always told them the same thing consistently – that they are studying , doing well, making sense of their lives for their own good and not for us. We always believed in them to be their best versions and rewards were never a topic of discussion. They are grown up now and know that if they need something which is worthwhile and important for them , they just have to ask. Hence doing well in school and college,being kind and sensible are not negotiable or could ever warrant an award.

One of the things we did was to motivate them to think for themselves. We avoided praising them , instead always valued their effort. Describing what you see rather than praising helps our kids to grow, makes them autonomous, genuinely interested in things and feel intrinsically motivated. Praise like “You are so smart!” can leave a child at a loss when they don’t do well. Using “You CAN be” instead of “You ARE…” tells a child the effort and hard work can help them grow. See the following slide show to see some examples of how to use descriptions instead of praise.