It is often that I come across articles mentioning raising daughters like sons or raising sons like daughters. Giving a thought over this, I feel that this idea is so restrictive in itself. For once I do not understand what it is to raise a child like a daughter or to raise like a son. Is being a daughter or a son more important than being a human being who is sensitive and appreciative of the world around, of the other gender and of the other creatures?
I choose not to raise my son Dhruv like a girl or the daughter whom I will never have (owing to the medical reasons) but as a sensitive human being. I am not going to bind him into any stereotypes.
- I will not tell him that he is being like a girl when he pours out his emotions in tears. Letting your emotions flow out is not a sign of weakness, a sole domain considered of a girl. The explanation provided will be that It is a sign of a human who lets go off his/her fears and turbulence to realise his/her strengths.
- I am not going to tell him that playing with dolls or a kitchen set is not a boy thing. I can see that his current interests in guns, cars, monster fighting and superheroes are such considered to be boyish. So why not let him play with a doll, feed the doll, rock it to sleep, prepare food with the toy kitchen set and give him a chance to develop his nurturing side.
- I will not direct him to go away when he comes up to me offering help with my household chores. Or in case he does not show any inclination towards the chores I am going to ask him for his help. Because doing the domestic chores is not the job of a particular gender or the mother alone instead it is a way of sustaining as a family.
- I will coach him to be a free bird in his heart who has his own opinions, who is capable of having different perspectives on an issue at hand rather than going with the set norms of the society which tell how a particular gender should behave.
- I will read to him books about princesses & fairies and real & fictional female characters because he needs to know what all interests the female gender, what are their strengths and weaknesses, their inner struggles and their dreams. He needs to know that their dreams are as important as his or of the male gender.
- I will work with him to raise awareness about the importance of caring for our planet earth, keeping our surroundings cleaner, reducing our individual carbon footprints and so much more because there are many things which are far more important than being a boy or a girl.
My life’s journey enumerated in the points above is not going to be easy for there are many battles to be fought for moulding the patriarchal belief system practiced by the people around me who are equal stakeholders in this process of raising Dhruv. Yet I am sure every battle is going to make me stronger to take on the next one.
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Originally published on World of Moms