Managing Expectations

I’m sure that you’ve witnessed (in person or online) a parent getting all puffed up proud because their little girl did/does something traditionally associated with little boys. 

It might be building something really creative, excelling at a sport, getting their hands dirty on a particular project, or acting "tough” in some way.

Or maybe they shunned a “girly” activity, or chose a truck over a princess doll, or purposely opted not to wear pink when all their friends did.

And all the parents beamed.

Why?

Why do we show pride when our girls do something society views as “masculine”?

Do the aforementioned examples send the message that girls can do anything boys can? Or do they send the message that girls should be more like boys?

 A little of both? Might it be confusing for a young child?

Confession: I also get slightly twitchy when I hear folks get all jazzed up over girls and science and math. 

Not because it’s a bad thing if your daughter loves those subjects, or if even you kind of want her to. (Mine both do, and of course I follow their lead.)

But what about when it is implied (implicitly or otherwise) that they should because . . . because . . . choosing something else would be disappointing? 

Girl chooses male-dominated activity or field of interest = good.
Girl chooses female-dominated activity or field of interest = bad.

What? That’s not true?

Then why do we brag about one and downplay the other?

The truth is, there’s a fine line between exposing children to something and pushing them into it, between encouraging children to widen their views of what is possible and poo poo-ing a particular path because of your own hang-ups or because it sounds like the “right” thing to do.

For now, I’m going to do my best to encourage whatever the Agents’ interests are, and try not to cross that line.

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