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A guide that helps parents focus on their children's unique strengths and inclinations rather than on gendered stereotypes to more effectively bring out the best in their individual children, for parents of infants to middle schoolers.
Reliance on Gendered Stereotypes Negatively Impacts Kids
Studies on gender and child development show that, on average, parents talk less to baby boys and are less likely to use numbers when speaking to little girls. Without meaning to, we constantly color-code children, segregating them by gender based on their presumed interests. Our social dependence on these norms has far-reaching effects, such as leading girls to dislike math or increasing aggression in boys.
In this practical guide, developmental psychologist (and mother of two) Christia Spears Brown uses science-based research to show how over-dependence on gender can limit kids, making it harder for them to develop into unique individuals. With a humorous, fresh, and accessible perspective, Parenting Beyond Pink & Blueaddresses all the issues that contemporary parents should consider—from gender-segregated birthday parties and schools to sports, sexualization, and emotional intelligence. This guide empowers parents to help kids break out of pink and blue boxes to become their authentic selves.
Brown, associate professor of developmental psychology at the University of Kentucky and a Psychology Today blogger, has researched the impact of gender stereotypes on children and teens. Here, she presents her argument to parents, asserting that the differences between boys and girls are far less pronounced than the media and some other authors contend (most notably, Michael Gurian, whose Gurian Institute trains educators to approach the learning styles of boys and girls quite differently). Wading through and interpreting the gender studies, Brown concludes that the way boys and girls learn, play, verbalize, and think is far more similar than dissimilar, though some differences do exist; for instance, boys are more physically aggressive and their brains develop at a slightly slower pace than girls'. The mother of two girls, Brown urges parents to beware of studies that are flawed and overstated, and to place greater focus on the individual child. As Brown also explores her own feelings as a mother, she is not without humor, sharing for instance, a boy/girl pizza birthday party ambushed by the pizza maker's unsolicited gender-based comments ("Boys always like pepperoni"). Though her anecdotes and observations can be amusing, Brown's message is simultaneously a somber and far-reaching commentary on the ways that gender stereotyping needlessly limits and labels children.