“Are you a feminist?” a friend asked me when I was in college. I didn’t know what it meant back then and am not exactly certain even now. However, I candidly answered that I believe in women standing up for them and owning their identity. Any other definition of feminism is perhaps agenda-driven. Since then I’ve observed that there are men who understand and support this ideology too. Yet we often generalise and paint them all in one colour; black. Is gender-based trust and behaviour the right way to go?

I chose to write about #GenderTalks this year for #CauseAChatter since it’s a topic I feel closely about. I was raised in a home where I had more freedom, financial and otherwise, than my brother since I was responsible. My parents were the first true feminists and I never knew it! By God’s grace, now I’m a mother to a son and daughter and have their role to play. However, the world has changed and so has the way we approach parenting. We’re always in defense mode and unsparing gender-based trust has become a reality. It’s good to be vigilant but are we right in planting the seed of prejudice in the innocent minds of our kids?

Are you teaching gender-based trust or distrust_ avibrantpalette

Let me share an anecdote. When A Jr was 5yo I accompanied him for his Taekwando classes. He had an excellent male instructor who pushed them to exercise, tapped their limbs with a stick to improve their posture and gave them stretches after each class. While every child queued excitedly for his turn there was one girl, A Jr’s age, who clearly stated that she wanted a female instructor. One of the senior students was assigned the job. This incident got us moms talking and I was aghast to be the only one who saw the real problem. None of us had any knowledge of the backstory but poor Sir had already attained the image of a child abuser in everyone’s eyes. Were they right in judging him?

Misplaced priorities, personal vendetta and past bad experiences influence the way we feel about the opposite sex in an unhealthy way. Sadly, knowingly or unknowingly we pass these on to impressionable people (yes, elders included) around us. We cannot see the entire world through the same set of glasses though, can we? Gender-based trust is unfair, even undeserving. How can we teach our kids to trust the right people for the right reasons?

kids

Teach more than good touch and bad touch

Shocking statistics reveal that even toddlers are often subjected to emotional and physical abuse in schools and daycare. Good touch and bad touch, although uncomfortable to talk about, need to be gently discussed with them. However, the onus of not limiting it to a gender falls upon us and is both conscientious and responsible. Driver Uncles aren’t necessarily bad and mawshis can’t casually ‘touch you anywhere’ and get away with it. Teach your kids to trust their instincts and raise an alarm whenever they feel threatened or violated.

Consider the long-term effects

We might not welcome the idea but the fact remains that some day our kids will grow up and get intimate with someone. I’ll talk about LGBTQ community in another post hence limiting my views to man-woman relationship for now. By teaching our kids to steer clear of the other gender we’re teaching them distrust. Will these kids grow up and have a normal relationship or married life? Will they be able to surrender themselves to true love or gender-based trust will affect it? Remember, kids have their own capacity to understand and interpret. Don’t push it.

Respect their privacy and preferences

Consent isn’t the privilege of grown-ups only. Kids sometimes refuse to acknowledge or accept the physical affection shown by friends and family. While this may put you in an embarrassing spot, firmly convey to them that you respect their privacy and so should they. Encourage your kids to hang out with their favourite Uncles and Aunts instead. I’ve been at the receiving end of this and was thankfully rescued by my mother until I learnt to say NO. Your kids need you on their side, please be.

Its time we come together for the greater good and make this world a better and safer place for our kids. I’m a mom blogger and have never shied away from expressing my honest views about parenting. I respect your opinion and am anticipating a healthy feedback on this post. Please do leave a comment and stay tuned for my next instalment for #GenderTalks.

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17 thoughts on “Are you teaching gender-based trust or distrust? #CauseAChatter

  1. Very well expressed, Varsh. It’s not easy to raise your kids unaffected from societal pressure and expression of feelings. I remember explaining to my daughter to be self independant when she first started to go to school. It’s important to be their confidant in every situation.

  2. I your post is a perfect reminder for all parents and I m glad that you had put a strong emphasis on trusting right person with right reasons. Unfortunately on our society there are many occasions when people blindly follow gender bias ness. Hops things change for better In future.

  3. We always tend to underestimate our kids and neglect the fact that they are individuals with preferences too. It is high time we start making the changes in the current generation so that at least the next generation would start thinking differently.

  4. Even I have both daughter and son but was not bless with freedom on gender equality. That’s the reason I am more concerned about gender inequality and will not make it repeat.

  5. What a piece Varsh! We cannot look at everyone through the same lens. Lesson well taken buddy. The very fact that we don’t do it also proves another kind of gender inequality but one has reasons.

  6. Very well-written post and thought-provoking too for all parents. We need to teach our kids beyond good or bad touch and need to respect their privacy and preferences. Only then they will gain confidence and do the same for others.

  7. This is a topic that’s very close to my heart too. I am a mother of two daughters and I make sure that I keep talking to them on these topics & make them aware of everything they need to know, but also ensure that I am not making them scared & overcautious humans on the other hand.

  8. You have chosen such a good topic to talk about on gender bias. It is so right that we should not judge or trust a person based on their gender. The example that you gave of the instructor is so common around us. We see parents strictly asking for a female instructor every now and then.

  9. You are right. It’s not just the gender we should be worried about but it’s about trusting the right person. We should raise our kids to know what’s right and wrong and not who is right and wrong.

  10. Loved the writing and the importance of teaching good and bad touch! Yes, children’s consent is very important and we must respect their privacy.

  11. making kids understand the whole scenario is important, by letting child believe each stranger is a monster they will never ask for a help in trouble when they are in crisis situation. We have to teach kids to resonate with the vibes, there can be many instances where a known person doesn’t make your child feel good and we all need to hear it out from the child. Being patient listener without judging their decisions will be a good start.

  12. This was a much needed discussion and I have seen these sort of things everywhere. Chidren deserve respect of privacy and preference too. Unless they are given, they will not learn to give back.

  13. the truth and reality of gender , neutrality and preferences need to be communicated.. you have very well mentioned key points in this post.. look foward for more

  14. A well written post on a topic that needs to be discussed more around the world. We need to teach them young to make a better generations of tomorrow.

  15. parenting is very tough these days. There are so many more don’ts than do’s. You have made good points about gender sensitization. It should start from home and should continue in school as well. Only then it will make a difference in the next few decades.

  16. Just the other day I was having a conversation about consent, how sometimes parents force their kids to give uncle and aunty a hug even when they may not feel so comfortable doing it. Nice to see you wrote about how we must respect their privacy too

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