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How do you deal with dc saying patriarchal stuff?

(30 Posts)
StayFrosty Tue 09-Aug-11 21:53:50

Today in the park, loads of dc from dd's preschool were there. She was playing with boy a, qnd they were talking about spiderman. He told her 'you're not allowed to like spiderman, it's just for boys'. hmm She said 'no it's for boys and girls' and he said 'no it isn't'

This continued for some time. I didn't say anything because dd was holding her own.and also it was one of those preschooler conversations where you think actuqlly i won't get involved.

Then boy b rocks up, pushing a pink toy pushchair. Boy a says 'why have you got that? It's for girls'

Boy b said nothing, but just looked a bit crestfallen and i didn't see him playing with the pushchair the rest of the time at the swings. I coyldn't intervene in thqt instance because i was changing ds's nappy, but tbh what could i have said? Btw i know boy a's mum, and he wouldn't have got this stuff from her. His dad who i know less well was there, and i know he works in a job that is stereotypically done by women (being cryptic here) so i doubt he's got it from him either.

Where does this stuff come from? At home, over tea i had a chat with dd about how boy a shouldn't have said that to by b and that boys and girls coyld play with pushchairs and like spiderman, and he was being a bit silly.

Kind of a non event but it mqde me a bit hmm.

azazello Tue 09-Aug-11 22:13:54

I don't know but am intrigued and would like to discuss it. My nephew is staying with us for a week and is regularly coming out with things like 'my daddy is much cleverer than you are Aunty x and much cleverer than mummy'.

I asked what made him think that and he said it was because his daddy was a man and his mum and I were both women. He was a bit taken aback to find out that both his mum and I did better at University than his dad did. It seems to be a sort of residual sexism which I suspect is fostered a bit by DB (who is fine but does have a keen sense of his own importance...). I couldn't quite decide which was worse - to think it was automatic because SIL and I are female, or whether it is the consumerism thing that DB earns a lot of money doing a pointless and boring job whereas SIL and I have interesting, useful jobs which aren't paid as much.

HerdOfTinyElephants Tue 09-Aug-11 22:14:10

Generally it's a peer thing. Somewhere around age 4 (ish) they seem to suddenly become hyper-aware of gender and as groups start reinforcing each other in some mind-blowing examples of stereotyping. I think (hope?) the key is to keep modelling the right behaviour and attitudes, and when they come out the other side they can get their head on straight again.

DS(6): [has clearly been fretting about this before broaching the subject] Mummy, I like a lot of girls' things
Me: Well, DS, I don't think there are really "girls' things" and "boys' things". There are just things, and some people like some and some people like others..
DS: <clearly unimpressed by my argument> But I like things that other boys don't like. Like [clearly building up to a big confession here] when I watch a film I don't always like the boy; sometimes I like the girl [I'm pretty sure he's thinking of Tangled in particular here]
Me: I think you'll find that a lot of boys do like those things, they just don't say so. And even if they don't then that doesn't matter. You like the things that you like and that's part of what makes you you, so you shouldn't feel bad about it.

Not sure whether I should have said more. He seemed happier after the conversation but it's clearly something that bothers him.

StayFrosty Tue 09-Aug-11 22:34:36

azazello, that's a bit sad. how old is your nephew? what does sil say when he says this stuff?

i'm sure it is just as herdof says and it's a peer thing at this age when they're becoming aware of gender and difference and wanting to define themselves and fit in (my dd and her friends are 4).

herdof, your ds sounds ace. i think you said just enough to set his mind at ease for the time being and let him know that it's something he can revisit if he needs to iyswim.

WoTmania Tue 09-Aug-11 23:05:11

Ooooh, don't get me started on this. It's rife, every-bloody-where. That said, the other day DS2 said to a friend 'you can't ahve that, it's not a girl colour' hmm and DS1 piped up 'no, all colours are for all people' So at least 1 of them is responding to the indoctrination.

WoTmania Tue 09-Aug-11 23:05:51

oh, Herd, your DS sounds Lovely

StayFrosty Wed 10-Aug-11 00:11:43

At least it's not just round here then.... It is something i am hyper aware of, as i am a sahm. My dh does his fair share when he is around, and we know plenty of families where care is shared between two part time workers. But i don't want my dd getting the idea that things and interests and activities and colours, ffs, colours are all divided down gender lines.

Oh i should confess actually, i startedtelling dd as well about in the olden days pink was 'for boys' and blue was 'for girls' and it somehow got switched round, but she looked a bit like this might be blowing her mind, so i changed the subject and we watched some baby jake instead.

AlfalfaMum Wed 10-Aug-11 00:25:45

A friend's son was playing with Playmobil with my youngest two, and very forcefully asserted that "GIRLS can't be pilots!", I corrected him fairly sharpish, he's a good few years older so they think he's the voice of authority so it needed clarifying.

When we were on holiday, DH noticed that almost all the cars in and around the campsite were driven by the men of the family with women sitting in the passenger seat, so we decided I would do most of the driving for a bit balance (we have 3 daughters and don't want them growing up thinking cars are for boys).
I was so proud of DH, although he did slightly ruin the effect by pretending to be drunk/blind/one-armed to 'safe face' with the other men hmm

TryLikingClarity Wed 10-Aug-11 08:47:36

I agree with poster who said to just keep modelling the 'right' non-patriarchal ideas.

IME, it isn't just something kids decided, but something they are told by adults or peers who are told by adults. In that case it's important to explain to the kids (when they are old enough to understand) so that the next generation isn't so blind.

As for what to say to other adults who come off with this guff, I would love to know!

My own DS is only 18 months old, so I haven't had to deal with this yet....

TrillianAstra Wed 10-Aug-11 08:52:23

" it isn't just something kids decided, but something they are told by adults or peers who are told by adults."

I don't think they need to be told explicitly - at a certain age they realise the world is divided into two types of people, they know which type they are, and they go out looking for ways to establish themselves as part of that group. No need for adults to be involved at all, they can either just observe what activities/colours tend to be segregated, or they can be told by older children (who in turn were told by older children when they were little).

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 10-Aug-11 09:02:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

msbuggywinkle Wed 10-Aug-11 09:17:37

DD1, who has just turned 5 often stands up for herself about this kind of thing. Her Nana (MIL!) has said to her, 'you can't be a knight, why don't you be a princess' DD's usual response is 'no, I'm a princess-knight'.

DD2 just agrees, 'ok, me princess'. I think in our case it is their personalities, DD2 is generally much more likely to follow, DD1 is much happier to disagree if she think it is necessary.

DD1 did believe that only men went to work for a while, until I pointed out at both of her Grans work, her Aunties work etc and actually, it is only me and her retired Great-grand mothers that aren't in paid employment. I also felt really odd about her view of me, so made it very clear that DP and I aim to both work part time as soon as DP's business gets off the ground (we Home Ed so need someone at home).

azazello Wed 10-Aug-11 09:25:31

I find it particularly interesting with DNephew as my DD is fiercely independant and like Ms Buggywinkles - lots of princess knights in this house. DS is more 'princessy' but that is partly because he is 2 and partly because he does as he is told.

Dnephew is 5. I suspect it is reinforced at home and very reinforced by his parents' jobs and attitudes to money etc.

ProfessionallyOffendedGoblin Wed 10-Aug-11 09:32:54

You need to challenge it with logic, and with examples from first-hand experience that's relevant to the age of the child.
It's no good saying 'Girls can do XYZ' if they never see anyone doing that, the example of the passive female passenger being a good one.
A while back, one poster was outraged that her DS said that only daddies can use tools, but it transpired that she left all the DIY to her man, so that's the logic her son was applying.
Boys and dolls/pushchairs I tend to take a sideways approach if I know the child's family circumstances.
'Do you love your daddy, does he play with you, how does your daddy look after your baby...so that's why boys should have prams and pushchairs and baby stuff. They need to know how to look after babies too.'

Smellslikecatpee Wed 10-Aug-11 09:53:39

This is something I see/heard frequently with my DNephews and I am losing the battle. My Sis & BIL seem to be painfully unaware of how often their older boy is rude/disrespectful of his mother.

I think they see it as general pre-teen testing of boundaries. He is polite and pleasant to his father and other males in the family etc. but is openly dismissive of his mother and becoming more so of other female relatives.

I think (though maybe wrong) that my Sis & BIL don’t see it as they both were brought up with strong female role models. BIL’s father worked away a lot so his mother brought them up, in our house Mum and Dad worked together and at one point my Dad was an employee of Mums business.

I appreciate that he is of an age(11) where his peers are becoming more influential that his parents, but feel and have said to my sis that if it’s not jumped on now how will they cope when he’s 14/15/16?

But seriously what can you do?

ProfessionallyOffendedGoblin Wed 10-Aug-11 10:05:50

TBH, now mine are 20 and 16, the influences of their peers are significant. And beneficial. They argue gender roles and expectations and have a high degree of tolerance for difference. They are also very logical in their discussions and can be relentless with sexism in both their parents.
I have heard them being rude about mothers and fathers and dismissive, but they are open to being challenged on it. And sometimes, they are right. smile

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LaLaLaLayla Wed 10-Aug-11 10:09:22

When I first starting driving, my DH was sat in the passenger seat. Our 4 year old son said: "Dad, why are you sitting in the ladies seat?"

ProfessionallyOffendedGoblin Wed 10-Aug-11 10:11:13

smile Exactly, janitor.
Now to avoid the pitfall of 'Daddy is cleverer than you because he's teaching you how to drive'

Miggsie Wed 10-Aug-11 10:39:19

I get this all the time with DD, she isn't a classic tomboy but she is sporty and plays football and is a very fast runner. She got stuff like "girls can't jump" at nursery when she was 3. However, I have noticed now at school it is "girls don't play football, but Miggsie's DD does" so she is now an honourable exception.
She also hates pink, and vigorously refuses to wear it. There was a big set-to at a party once when she was given a pink iced cake and she wanted a blue one, cue boys saying "girls like pink!" and DD saying "Well, I don't".

I think it does come from parents and the 1000 subliminal messages from TV and books/magazines they get each day.

StayFrosty Wed 10-Aug-11 22:25:18

we don't watch 'live' telly at all hardly, so the dc pretty much never see any adverts thank GOD. it's just so pervasive though isn't it? i think i'll definitely be more pro active challenging it next time i hear it again. the weird thing is, i think at the moment when boy a said 'why have you got that' to the boy with the buggy, the majority of the parents in the playground with dc were dads.

StayFrosty Wed 10-Aug-11 23:06:02

.......i am so slow, i have only just realised who you are goblin.

ProfessionallyOffendedGoblin Wed 10-Aug-11 23:09:46

Same Goblin, new hat. Part of the SN purpletwuntypants brigade. smile

ProfessionallyOffendedGoblin Thu 11-Aug-11 00:20:38

Oops.
Goblinthethreadslayer.
Didn't mean to horrify you into silence, StayFrosty. smile

HipHopOpotomus Thu 11-Aug-11 00:25:58

Dd is 3 and has been at a lovely nursery since January. She is now forever lecturing me on what are boys things/activities (blue, spiderman, football) and girls things (pink!, barbie and basketball!!!!!!!!). I do discuss it with her everytime, and point out people doing so-called opposite sex stuff all the time.

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