Children and Gender Confusion
Remember this article? I feel like it was the one that started them all.
Little boy wants to dress up like Daphne from Scooby Doo and his mom posts, in the title of her entry, that this implies he's gay.
But no worries, because in the body of the entry, you realize that was simply a bait. She then writes "Or he's not. I don't care. He is still my son. And he is 5. And I am his mother. And if you have a problem with anything mentioned above, I don't want to know you."
I remember when I first read that feeling offended for her. How could ANYONE dare to have a problem with this? Who would think to be so callous as to spout anything negative at a little boy who just wants to dress up for Halloween? Even if it is a little odd.
Now that the feeds have been absolutely SATURATED with stories like this, I've learned to put my critical reasoning skills to better use.
She, like every other blogger after her, sets the stage for inevitable conflict. They want the conflict; it drives stats. I refuse to post the litany of these articles because I refuse to give them a bump in referral hits.
Now I just roll my eyes and pass on them. They're all the same. Each demanding respect for allowing their boys to dress as girls and play with My Little Pony dolls, or steering their girls away from pink things and more towards "boy toys" like race cars and Legos. We've all seen them. It's just...
Instead of trying to dictate what our kids play with in an attempt to show how forward-thinking we are about gender-stereotypes, how about we just let them be kids who like to play with toys of any sort?
And how about we stop patting ourselves on the back for going out of our way to confuse the very clear distinctions between the two sexes. No matter how many bags of lip gloss your son wants to have, he's going to be a little boy. No matter how many Wrestlemanias your daughter begs to go to, she's still going to be a little girl.
And no matter how many times you allow your son to dress in skirts or your daughter to pull on boxers, their biology will remain unaltered. That includes sex change operations and hormone injections.
Also, this sort of gender confusion does not necessarily mean your child is gay. But again, throwing that into the mix is a great way to solicit a jump in stats.
We need to have open, honest communication on this topic. Blog posts like those I reference above are not helpful. If anything, they're harmful because they seek to divide. They seek to cause in-fighting and paranoia (everyone's out to get me and my son because we're different!). There are children in serious jeopardy because of this confusion, and patting ourselves on the backs for the bang-up job we're doing with this saturation of gender confusion is not the right course of action. It's just not.
I don't have the answer on how best to respond to this growing trend, but I just can't take the constant stream of articles that decry any sort of acknowledgement that boys and girls (and thus, men and women) are different; they are. Does that mean that they are not equals? No; they have equal dignity. But they are inherently different from one another. Consistently ignoring that (and worse... teaching our children to actively ignore it) is a
Kids growing up in this climate are the reason we've got fifty billion "genders" on Facebook, men waging legal war against a woman's right to use a private bathroom, and young kids (and their PARENTS) fighting to dictate biology without bothering to think of long-term health consequences.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. Trying to blur the lines between male and female have led folks to be hyper-aware of not only gender, but sexuality and thus, sex.
Methinks that's why textbooks like this exist. It's also why lessons like this exists.
We are hurting our children way, WAY more than we are helping them. That much is apparent. We are teaching them it's okay to disregard facts - scientific facts - and create an alternate reality that they then expect everyone else to go along with. I can't imagine that being a good coping strategy for such a real, all-areas-of-life entrenched problem.
I just don't have clue one where to begin, or even how to protect my son from falling victim to this sort of confusion. It's like parents are expected (and even bullied into) encouraging this sort of behavior.
I was recently invited to a birthday party with my son in which the parent informed me the boys would be dressing up as princesses alongside the girls.
No thank you. I opted to decline that one. Vince is curious about women's clothing sometimes (my veil and bras come to mind), but I would not actively encourage him cross dressing, ESPECIALLY at such a young age.
I'm just... ay.
What the heck ever happened to kids being kids?
Bullying Follow Up: A Hug
So a really sad, but ultimately beautiful, thing happened last week.
After storming out of Vincent's daycare on what proved to be his final day, I realized I'd left his sleeping bag and extra pair of clothing behind. Eventually I'd have to go back to collect them.
Well, I finally made my way back to their building just before close on Friday. The remaining children were all huddled in one room around a TV playing a cartoon. When I walked in, I saw William. He saw me, too, and instantly looked around for Vincent. He said, "Don't bring Vincent back. I don't like him."
Again, my heart hurt. William was sitting off by himself, having been removed from the other children for God only knows what. I said, "Vincent says 'Hello,' William." He turned his face away from me, so I walked over, dropped to my knees and hugged him.
He instantly bristled. He pushed me away and turned his body around in his seat. One of the teachers sorta laughed (either at me, or the situation, I have no idea). I was so, so sad again, because I just had this intense feeling that he doesn't get enough physical affection. So I released him from my hug and walked across the hall to find Vincent's stuff.
When I came back to say goodbye to the staff to let them know I was leaving, William was still sitting at the back table but he called out, "Vincent's Mom!"
I looked back and he said, "Tell Vincent I say 'Hi," too."
I'm not ashamed to admit I drove home crying.
Just a little love. That's all this child needs. Just a little bit of love. Isn't that all any of us needs?
"Don't come back to school ever again. Nobody likes you. I hate you."
Let the words settle in your ears.
For me, they bypassed every sense I had and cut straight into my heart.
Those evil, terrible words were directed at my little baby boy - a kid whose only crime is wanting to be friends with everyone.
These words came from another little boy in his class - William. Day in and day out, Vincent cries to me about how mean William is. Every night at bedtime, Vincent tells me he doesn't want to go to school because William hits him. Each time I speak to his teacher, it's about William bullying my son.
Yesterday when I picked him up was the last straw. I watched as William shoved Vincent. Vincent, for his part, did not shove back. He only cried and screamed out for a teacher and came running to me saying, "Mommy, see? William hit me. He hit me so bad."
My heart broke. When he cried out to me, it was almost with relief. It was like he was happy William shoved him in front of me so I could have proof that all the mean things he told me about William were true.
I never doubted him. He had the bruises to prove it. Bruises I confronted his teacher about. Bruises I was told resulted from regular child's play.
I knew better, and I was never going to let him be hurt by this child again.
As we were leaving daycare, William snarled at him with the words above.
"Don't come back to school ever again. Nobody likes you. I hate you."
In that moment, I wanted to tear that little boy to pieces. He had the audacity to say such a mean and hateful thing with me standing right next to Vincent! However, God was good. It was as if my persona grew to encompass and protect Vincent. None of the words he said were heard by Vincent because they simply bounced off my protective cocoon. Instead of giving him a death stare, I told him that his words were very mean. Good little boys don't talk so mean to their friends, and bustled Vincent out of the class, never to be seen by that horrid child again.
On the way to my mother's, it was all I could do not to cry. I was so angry that this child had been so mean to Vincent. I was so upset that Vincent had spent a month with him... I felt guilty that I'd had no other option.
But no more. I didn't care if I had to quit my job the next day, there was no way I would ever allow Vincent to walk through those doors again. It was obvious his teacher didn't take William's malice seriously, and it was obvious the other staff didn't care that Vincent was so upset by him.
My husband and I both witnessed him throwing blocks at other students, and John saw him slap a little girl.
As I was stewing over how terrible this child was, I realized that he had to have learned this behavior somewhere. All of my anger and disgust for him translated instantly into disdain for his parents. My heart then broke for William who was obviously the brunt of this behavior at home. No child is born acting this way. No child wakes up and thinks, "I can't wait to terrorize another person."
No. That behavior is conditioned into a child by someone they look up to... someone they trust. And the fact that he acted so hateful in front of me, Vincent's mother, was like a punch to the gut.
Did he not understand that I would shield Vincent? That such mean words would be met with some sort of reprimand?
Not if his own mother doesn't protect him... if his own mother isn't reprimanding a boyfriend or husband or sibling who is saying such things to him.
Do I know if it's his mother? Of course not. But it's obviously someone close to him that has bred such anger within him.
The rest of the car ride to my mother's house was spent in tears for this child. How terrible to be only 3.5 years old and have been influenced by hate to such a degree.
For now, Vincent is being watched by a friend who has a little boy, herself. God was good to give us this option right when we so desperately needed it.
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