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Struggling with ds (6)

(33 Posts)
CookingProblem Mon 02-Dec-19 09:16:46

Can anyone give me some advice on how to bring up my DS as a feminist? It's really hard when I explain something to him but he goes to school and his friends tell him another. We live in a village where it is very closed minded. Someone coming out gay is a big deal and casual racism is just the norm. (just to give you an idea of the place) He is in year 2 now and I'm finding it harder to stop him being influenced at school. Sorry I'm not explaining this very well. I also have an 8 year old dd who seems to just 'get it'.

OhHolyJesus Mon 02-Dec-19 09:20:35

Do you work OP or share household chores with a partner? No judgement but I think it helps to break down the age-old stereotypes from a young age.

CookingProblem Mon 02-Dec-19 09:28:38

Annoyingly, I work part time and DH works full time so I do more house stuff than him. I will also be going on maternity leave soon. I didn't change my name when we got married and the DC have double barrelled names but then I'll have people tell me (in front of ds) that I'm weird for doing that. It's so frustrating! I just feel like I cant win. Luckily dd seems to understand and thinks for herself.

Obviously I'm not trying to say you're not a feminist if you change your name after marriage but just using that as an example.

OhHolyJesus Mon 02-Dec-19 09:40:38

Does DS have a mix of male/female teachers? Is it others kids who you are worried are influencing him?

There are some great feminist books for kids which you could try reading to both kids together. I'll look them up, Books for Rebel Girls or something - there is a thread on here you could look up.

I recommend Hidden Figures as a good film for kids even though it is made for adults (no sex scenes and it's about launching a rocket so) but he might not be old enough for that yet.

Mishappening Mon 02-Dec-19 09:44:45

Well - you can't. He will be what he will be.

You and your OH can however model behaviour that reflects respect for women - indeed respect for everyone.

It is not just about who does the washing up.

Don't be trying to put a label on him just yet!

missyB1 Mon 02-Dec-19 09:47:30

Just bring him up the same as you do your dd. Your family values stay the same whether your kids are girls or boys. Embedding the family values will help counter peer pressure/ opinions.

stillathing Mon 02-Dec-19 09:55:57

I highly recommend switching the sex of characters in story books, when you can get away with it. And of course read him books with female protagonists. Also gently point out and question whenever you see sexism (and racism and homophobia!) either in your community or in the books, games and films you consume. For example, my kid adores Beano, and I like it too. But we chat about how curious it is that the Bash Street Kids has just one girl, when we know that women /girls make up half the population. We wonder what the reasons both historical and current might be. Then typically I will later find he's "solved" the problem himself by writing his own comic strip with 50 % girls in.

It really can be done. You will end up sounding like "that parent" - I'm a bit alone in this amongst parents at school - but it is worth it.

stillathing Mon 02-Dec-19 09:59:05

I meant to add I think to redress societal attitudes around power imbalances one sometimes needs to be more proactive than just being fair oneself. I'm on it with sexism and homophobia. I'd love to hear suggestions for being more proactive against racism?

CookingProblem Mon 02-Dec-19 10:00:19

There is one male teacher and teaching assistant in his school. The rest of the staff are women. It's more the other children influencing him. I know they aren't doing it on purpose but ds would rather listen to them than me.

Thanks for the film recommendation. I will look it up. Books are a great idea too. I will see if I can find the thread.

BertrandRussell Mon 02-Dec-19 10:01:24

There are things your dp can do as a father to both children which I think are important. He can do his share of child raising and household stuff without being told or guided by you. He can acknowledge your contribution, paid and unpaid, to family life. He can model a good, equal and respectful relationship. He can acknowledge women as equals when watching telly and playing games, and point out when others don’t.
And specifically with your son, he can model recognising, expressing and handling emotion. Often boys (and men) default to anger because they’ve never learned about sadness, frustration, grief, confusion and fear.

OhHolyJesus Mon 02-Dec-19 10:03:00

As a PP said I also change how I refer to animals we see as I found myself always referring to them as he/him and I have no idea why I did that so I changed it.

We are reading Enid Blyton which has the stereotypes of girls crying and needing protection and the boys are clever and leading the gang. I play around with that a bit where I can.

It's hard to change the mind set but he's young and you won't be able to stop once you start.

OhHolyJesus Mon 02-Dec-19 10:16:19

Also it's the anniversary of Rosa Parks today do you could find a way to bring that up if you pass a bus today and if you can take him with you to vote you could raise the subject of Pankhurst and the Suffragettes.

Everyday feminism over everyday misogyny/sexism!

CookingProblem Mon 02-Dec-19 10:18:32

Oh sorry I've just seen all the other replies! I type too slowly!

I know I can't force him to be someone he's not but I want to give him the best chance of being a good person. I want him to be able to think for himself and not just do/say/think things because everyone else does. Like @stillathing said, I think I need to do more than just be fair myself.

I am 'that' parent at school too! Everyone just thinks I'm a bit weird and over the top. Making an issue over nothing. It's very sad.

CookingProblem Mon 02-Dec-19 10:25:13

I always take the DC to vote and have a little conversation about the suffragettes. Oh dear, I think I do the he/she with animals too!

AlwaysOnAbloodyDiet Mon 02-Dec-19 10:25:58

I understand how you feel OP. I have a 5 year old son and it's so ingrained in them, I'm really not sure from where or whom. E.g. Mine will say 'but boys don't cry', 'girls can't be a pilot' etc. Maybe they just say it as they see it - we watch aviation documentaries and the pilots are always male.
All we can do is keep correcting them.

aliasundercover Mon 02-Dec-19 11:10:30

Your husband needs to step up here - there's no point you telling your son these things if the main male role-model in his life isn't demonstrating them.
At the very least your husband should be doing the washing up with your son (or loading the dishwasher) and explaining why it's them that's doing it.

BertrandRussell Mon 02-Dec-19 11:14:50

The children’s father should be doing a bloody sight more than that!

NellieEllie Mon 02-Dec-19 11:17:34

I think you just incorporate stuff everyday. Even when my two were really little, Id chose books to read to them which didn’t stereotype about mummies and daddies. If anything came up on TV, or said by someone else, I’d challenge it. We live in a very white area, so I would buy books with black and Asian characters, talk about differences - appearance, culture, religion. But not in a preachy way, just as things crop up. Often something would be in the news so we’d talk about that. Children often like talking about families and different types of family.
As they got older we could talk about racism, sexism in really simple terms. I am a SAHM so Id tell them stories about when I was at work and what I used to do. They saw both of us doing household chores as they grew up. I have a DD and a DS. Treated the same - sharing clothes, no pink/blue stuff. Anything heard that was racist or sexist we’d challenge.

Oncewasblueandyellowtwo Mon 02-Dec-19 11:52:27

Does your son watch anything on YouTube op? I find a lot of stuff on YouTube for kids is so full of gender stereotypes. My little girl loved a show with a brother and sister playing, I've stopped putting it on because one day when getting new shoes for her she said she didn't want red ones, red ones are for boys! Then I realised the little boy in the show wears red shoes and of course the little girl wears pink.. Why do most girls in any cartoon or show for kids have long eyelashes and the boys don't? Boys have eyelashes too.
It's grand to say let them be who they are and all that but these stereotypes are constant in their lives.

Oncewasblueandyellowtwo Mon 02-Dec-19 11:54:27

Sorry I didn't actually give any adive in my post blush
But I think NellieEllie has good ideas.

Campbellk Mon 02-Dec-19 12:16:24

I have 2 boys.

We are a very male dominated family BUT both my brothers are gay so I guess it makes it easier.

Is he into sport?

My 7 year old is sport mad!! and will watch anything sporty and i mean anything consequently he watches woman's... football, rugby and netball and LOVES it. We are waiting to go and watch some woman's rugby as we live near twickenham.

He also plays rugby and plays with girls so for him its very normal.

I get my boys to do chores with me. They love having their bed sheets washed so they help me load the washing machine and dryer and my older one now helps make his bed and he wants to be independent with it.

BertrandRussell Mon 02-Dec-19 12:23:40

Sadly, in my experience, gay men can be just as misogynist as straight men!

How does your dp feel about the subject, @CookingProblem?

Campbellk Mon 02-Dec-19 13:00:44

@BertrandRussell I guess we must be super lucky. Both my brothers and their partners are pro feminism.

BertrandRussell Mon 02-Dec-19 13:03:57

@BertrandRussell I guess we must be super lucky. Both my brothers and their partners are pro feminism.”
That’s great! You certainly are luckier than most- well done your mum and dad.

aliasundercover Mon 02-Dec-19 13:22:26

The children’s father should be doing a bloody sight more than that!

Of course, but it depends upon how tasks are divided up.The op says she works part time the husband works full time - that could mean her 25 hours, him 35 hours; or it could mean her 12 hours, him 60 hours. Husband might do all maintenance, gardening and bill paying, but do little in the house - that's up to the couple.
The reason I chose washing up specifically is it's seen as a woman's job. The husband should be taking this job on with the son, and telling the son why he's done this.

Having said all that, yes, of course he should be doing a bloody sight more than that. My point was about it being the father's job to bring the boy up to be a fair man, not just the mother's.

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