independent

Sunday 22 October 2017

Attitude, not clothing, will damage children

In the end children decide what they enjoy doing most and it is up to their parents to encourage their passions and to help the child
In the end children decide what they enjoy doing most and it is up to their parents to encourage their passions and to help the child

Deborah Coleman - Straight Talking

I don't know about you, but I am getting sick of the hype surrounding the issue of 'gender influencing' when it comes to kids.

This week UK retailer John Lewis announced that it is to do away with separate section for girls' and boys' clothing and instead have a children's section.

This is a perfectly fine decision and it probably makes a lot of sense because young children in particular wear what their parents dress them in so the name of the department doesn't matter a jot to them anyway. What is so annoying about this whole debate is the notion that by aligning a certain type of clothing to either gender is somehow damaging to children, that by putting a top with a tractor on a rail in the boys' section we are sending a message to young girls that they are somehow unworthy of driving said tractor.

It has all gone so over the top that we are walking in eggshells when it comes to gender.

I'm all for equal opportunities when it comes to play, hobbies and clothing but I also think that there is no need to get so precious about the whole thing.

In the end children will very quickly decide what they enjoy or what colours they like or if they for example, prefer a game of soccer to ballet, and it is up to their parents to encourage their passions and to help the child develop their talents.

Some people get so indignant at the thought that their son or daughter might be denied the opportunity to pursue something that was traditionally aligned to the opposite gender but really in society today there are no such limitations.

The very first people a child will learn from is their parents, so once they don't impose these so called restrictions, then there should be no issue in the first place.

Young people, more than ever before can be who they want to be and they can follow their dreams in a way that many previous generations could not.

At the end of the day, children will play with the toys they prefer, whether it is a fire engine or a doll and neither will have a detrimental impact on their emotional development, whether they are a boy or a girl.

It begs the question however, why are we so keen to gloss over gender at every turn? Defining ourselves as male or female doesn't in any way limit our potential or opportunities in life but rather forms part of our identity.

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