I met a couple the other day with a young boy who had an elder sister. In conversation, it somehow got relayed that the little boy enjoys playing with dolls and not balls or cars etc.
As soon as I heard these words uttered, I sensed the discomfort sifting through a few people in the room.
I later sat pondering. I am not sure whether the discomfort lies in the archaic and limiting beliefs of what boys must and must not play with or is it a more deep rooted fear that such activities would incline the child towards a sexual orientation that isn’t palatable to many till date.
According to me, both are baseless and need a lot of self introspection on our part.
- Archaic and limiting beliefs I think as a society we need to finally break these gender conforming barriers. Firstly, a child’s playtime is their own little world of wonderment. Don’t force new characters in their world of wonderment, unless they are welcome. Making boys rough and tough to face the world isn’t necessarily guaranteed by playing with cars and GI Joes. Neither compassion is guaranteed by doll play. Secondly, Children learn by observation. It will take consistent and persistent observation by Children of their own surroundings, especially their parents, to develop these traits. And I refuse to believe that in the world of today, we are incapable of raising strong men that are also compassionate and kind.
- Is playing with dolls going to make a boy GAY?Future sexual orientation is likely on the minds of many parents especially parents of boys that project a slightly more feminine demeanor or inclination to play with dolls. Playtime with dolls cannot make anyone gay just as those same activities cannot make a girl heterosexual. This is and cannot be considered a precursor to homosexuality in boys. Rough and tough play will not cause sexual orientation to move from one direction or another. I read somewhere “Scientists have not yet identified a “gay virus” that attaches itself to baby dolls and Easy Bake ovens and princess dresses, but many people seem to think that this virus is precisely how little (gay) boys grow up to be gay men.”Lets not unintentionally give little boys the message that you think their choice of toys is not OK. And for a minute, even if we assume that there is a possibility that it did cause an upsurge in their sexual orientation towards the same sex, how does it matter ? Are they less human ?We need to allow our children to be and bloom the way they want to.
I know this can be difficult. When we gave birth to these little humans, we had all these ideas and dreams for these tiny creatures. And step-by-step, year by year, when we sometimes see our dreams or ideas shattering in front of us with our children not meeting the world of expectations that we created for them, it is heartbreaking indeed. But you know what, this is the conscious journey of parenting that we have to tread on. We need to give our children the choice of choosing who they want to be. Suppressing their true self will only lead to pent up frustration and angst in them.Some wise keynotes from the book the “Conscious Parent” by Dr Shefali Tsabary:
A. It certainly is not out of lack of love that we impose our will on our children. Rather it stems from lack of consciousness.
B. It is not our children who are the problem, but our own unconsciousness.
C. Our consciousness is not a children’s to inherit, but ours to excavate.
D. Our task is to befriend a child’s essence.
E. Your child’s spirit is infinitely wise.
F. Conscious parents trust implicitly the child’s intuition concerning its destiny.
As a parting thought, here are some poignant words by Khalil Gibran:
Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself… You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.