Missing from the NY Time’s Modern Parent Guide

Suggested Additions to the Gender Section

The guide, like a Shakespeare play, comes to you in 5 parts. It’s a long, beautifully layered, heavily footnoted omnibus to modern parenting that basically comes down to say:

  1. There’s no one right way to do it
  2. Just do your best and try to enjoy hanging out with your kid

Each time I revisit it, I find solid advice for getting my kid to sleep, eat, and stop drawing on the walls or riding the cat like a horse.

I also get scared (and a excited) for the foreshadowing of sections like Technology and Time Management.

Despite early warnings about the wide range of information and opinions, the authors fall down in the Social Issue/Gender section.

There are more than two genders.

Here’s something cool I learned from reading this thing.

Three-year-olds are able to label themselves as boys or girls, yet most boys this age believe that they can grow up to be moms if they want to, and vice versa for little girls.

But then they drop a bummer. That at 4 or 5 kids see gender as fixed and might feel a sense of loss of “half the gender pie.”

The gender pie doesn’t have two halves, it’s not already sliced.

People get to choose which slice, or slices, make the most sense to them and when we let our kids get stuck believing that they only have half a pie to choose from, many of them will be left hungry.

Your Kid Probably Won’t Be Trans.

They’ll probably be a boy or a girl — they might already be!

But it’s very unlikely that your kid will never meet a trans person. Badass public figures who aren’t cis — advocates, actors, artists, other words that don’t start with A — keep making big impacts on culture.

Set your kid up to understand these folks’ gender is a slice of the gender pie that doesn’t represent boy/girl but whole other awesome flavors and textures!

Just because you probably won’t have a trans kid, doesn’t mean it’s ok to raise a kid that a jerk to trans kids because their gender is more complex that cultural normative nonsense.

Misogyny Sucks.

But, as always, it especially sucks for femme folks.

Tomboys are cool, while boys often vigilantly police one another for behavior they perceive to be feminine.

It’s great to have a heads up here that girls who act less femme get some leeway but boys who do anything perceived to be ‘girly’ get rigidly policed. A lot of time that policing is physical violence. Masculinity is toxic and this is what it looks like.

Set the Bar Higher for Our Kids.

When it comes to what our kids eat, how they resist bullying, academic achievement, we expect a lot. The sections in this guide do a great job of showing us what success looks like.

When it comes to gender we must do, and expect, better.


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