5 Things to Stop Saying to My Kid
The sexist nonsense has got to go.
My kid seems to have a penis so that makes it easy for folks to think they know some things.
They usually think my kid will be a boy.
Which is mostly fine — I just try to make it a little more complicated or uncomfortable because I think it’s useful for them (and me).
I can’t tell if my kid is a boy or a girl.
As a parent and for about 6 months before a new kid shows up you hear one question first.
So even as I make my way through the world with this prickly set of positions, I still find myself surprised by people I’m talking to. They’re usually people that I want to talk to because they are friends or family, but they say things that make me cringe so hard that my face almost falls off.
Heterosexism is a pretty new word. It’s a cousin of homophobia but instead of being scared of LGBTQ folks, it’s prejudice that often shows up in assumptions about sexuality. Assumptions about what is normal or right. Assumptions about how sexuality is supposed to, or going to, work for a person.
Sexuality is complicated — and awesome — but not really applicable to kids.
When we map adult identities onto kids (which in my opinion includes gender, but that’s a song for another musical), we’re doing harm. It’s bad for the kid and bad for the culture we’re constantly creating.
My kid smiles and it’s magical.
I love it when they laugh and hug and kiss. When a baby gives hugs and kisses, don’t make it weird. Please don’t say something creepy.
So here’s an un-comprehensive list of things to please never say and alternatives for you to try.
1. Look at that player.
Your kid seems really friendly and happy!
2. He’s such a flirt.
Your kid is great at showing appropriate and adorable affection. I love to see all these baby hugs!
3. What a stud.
I really think your kid is dressed well, I admire your selections in outfits and assume that once your kid can choose their own outfits, they will still be awesome!
4. Oooh, he’s making all the girls jealous.
It’s so great that your kid is playing so nicely! I’m glad that there are so many kids here who are learning how to play together. I hope we can make sure they all feel supported and secure in this place!
5. He’s going to be a real ladies’ man.
I bet that when your kid gets older, you will have instilled enough of a solid foundation of respect and love that no matter who they want to date (if they want to date anyone) it will be good for everyone involved.
Even though they will still make mistakes, don’t worry, they will be secure in your love.
They will feel supported and affirmed.They will be kind to their future partners.
They will still get hurt and cause hurt and grow and hurt and love again.
You’re doing a great job as a parent.
Your kid is great.
What do people say to your kid that should be removed from our vocabulary?
How do you respond?