Thoughts on Raising Gender-Able Children


Gender roles are  often in the news but I wonder if we are talking about it enough with spouses and children.

By Jackie Saulmon Ramirez | July 11, 2013

Myth: “Mothers “know” because, well, they are mothers.”

Back in May I discussed child discipline and child abuse with a fellow blogger in Scotland after my article Reporting My Husband to CPS Not Once— But Twice. He enjoyed the article so much that he reblogged it for others. He said he was against smacking a child but his wife thought smacking a child was alright. (FYI: Hitting a child in Scotland is illegal.)

Very curious, I asked him, “With yours and your wife’s difference in opinion on spanking, how would you resolve the issue?”

He replied, “I think we would resolve it by me not saying anything.”

In the last several years I have noticed several instances where fathers do seem to take a back seat to mothers but both genders can take part credit. From fathers (and childless fathers) I hear a myth repeated that makes the assumption that mothers “know” because, well, they are mothers.

While we wish all a person needed in order to be granted full knowledge about parenting would be the fertilization of an egg by a sperm, nothing could be farther from the truth. Some parents learned healthy parenting methods from their own parents but those are few. Parenting is something that requires thought and effort to learn; sometimes trial and error is the only way to find solutions. You could take the top ten parenting books and learn them by heart but still not encounter an answer to circumstances you experience with your own children. Simply giving birth does not magically bestow parenting wisdom.

I have heard well-intentioned mothers say they “do everything” because their spouses “don’t know how.”

Fathers, rise up! (Relax, this is not war!) Fathers have just as much knowledge as mothers but moms have probably been exposed more to parenting issues. Parenting is an equal opportunity activity in which you get out of it just as much as you put into it. It is never too late to become more involved.

I have heard well-intentioned mothers say they “do everything” because their spouses “don’t know how.” This is a myth: teaching fathers how to do tasks can help them to become more able and active in child rearing and can certainly lighten workloads. Doing this would also help reduce the feeling of being overworked and taken for granted.

Many years ago I was talking in my Parents Anonymous group before the meeting began about how annoying my husband’s cooking was. Having a short break from cooking was nice but I would end up having to spend much more time in the kitchen cleaning up after him. The facilitator quickly reminded me that it was his kitchen too; I hadn’t thought of it that way before. This illustrates how we fall into roles or fulfill expectations according to our gender and what we understand of it.

Boys do not grow up knowing how to fix cars and girls are not born with instinctive knowledge to parent children.

When my husband and I looked for houses, it was I who inquired about workshop spaces. My husband was never the “handy” person and I grew up seeing my mother do carpentry work and plumbing. Each time my husband was nudged toward the workshops it was he that smiled sheepishly and referred them to me.

Stereotypes are hard to put to rest in many instances: a southern accent does not mean you are not very bright, boys do not grow up knowing how to fix cars and girls are not born with instinctive knowledge to parent children. Can you think of stereotypes you have come across in your life?

As a final message to parents of I would like to ask you to think about gender and stereotypes as you bring up your children. Your daughters will own cars that need maintenance and repairs. Your sons will need to eat healthy, tasty foods every day. When you put a limit on a person because of gender, nationality, culture, or looks, you do a great disservice to your children.

I am interested in your thoughts on this subject; let me hear your ideas.

Copyright © 2014 Jackie Saulmon Ramirez. All Rights Reserved.

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About Jackie Saulmon Ramirez

Jackie has volunteered for more than twenty years for children and family issues. Currently she writes for parents in the "Reminder" and "Parent Rap" Facebook page. If you are interested in receiving the "Reminder," send her a message.
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9 Responses to Thoughts on Raising Gender-Able Children

  1. Jueseppi B. says:

    Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat.Com™ and commented:
    I could have sworn i followed your blog MONTHS ago, WordPress strikes once again. Love this post!

    Like

  2. I think for a man to be able to stand up (or show some balls, as they say) he needed to be taught that as a child growing up. Also, as to having a Latina wife, they serve their children in every way possible. In the Latin community when a man dosent see something right his wife maybe doing to wards the children, like doing everything for them, she will fight him till he backs down, or in other words I am the mother and I do for my child.

    Not trying to make ex-cusses, but that is how it is. It is hard Jackie to do different than what you seen growing up. The first five years of life is very critical. I even made mistakes I have to live with, because of how my father was or was not to wards us (my brothers and sisters and I).

    But this is only me talking Jackie or my opinion. I hope you understand what I am trying to say. 🙂

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    • Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

      I understand and respect what you are saying – I think. I do agree that it is hard to change habits and patterns, especially when we’ve grown up with it a certain way. The first step is to think about how things are, and then how you would like them to be.

      From experience I can tell you that there are mothers in all cultures that “serve” their children, not just Latinas. My approach with any would be to share information, I would never say to any mother that she must change. What I would say is that to do too much for any child does not encourage a child to learn and do things for themselves. I would encourage any child of either gender to learn to cook, change the car’s oil, fix a flat tire, do laundry, balance a checkbook and so on. It’s not about one or the other being better, it is about being self-sufficient and able.

      I was wondering, are you Latin? Is your wife Latina? 😉

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      • Yes my wife is from Mexico, and I am not Latin, but born in USA.

        Your right what you are saying Jackie. But as children are more attached to their mother, the father seems to get the blame for what they didn’t learn.

        At least my boys are telling them that. You told me you husbands emotional diagnoses, Asperger’s ? My brothers son has that illness as well. The way you described your husband, is exactly the way my nephew is.

        I suffer with a mental illness as well. My wife has told me I abused my kids emotionally. If I did, I didn’t do on purpose and I didn’t plain too. But it is too late, you can’t go back and I am held responsible by God for it. So I am just waiting to see what he does to me.

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      • Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

        With any illness, unless we did something to cause that illness like alcoholism or a venereal disease, I do not think God would punish you for that, responsible yes. My husband took full responsibility for the emotional damage he caused our oldest daughter. He has paid for all her therapies, doctors, medications and miscellaneous expenses. Like you, my husband thought he was helping Chelsey to learn by tapping her on her head and by verbally abusing her. He really believed that; he thought being “tough” on her, he was helping her. He refused to listen to me. I read a scientific report out loud one day about how abuse actually changes the DNA of the developing brain… my husband began to cry. That was the moment when he realized what I had been telling him was true. God is not going to punish him for that. I believe he has punished himself enough by realizing what he did to Chelsey and then by paying for all her expenses to get better. (She is doing well now.)

        I think about Asperger’s sometimes and I wonder what it must feel like to be an “Aspie” as they are called. The ones that I know are pretty incredible people. I have a cousin, 15 times removed, he is into genealogy. That is how we met, on a website looking for information about our ancestors. This cousin doesn’t just look up the direct line, he looks up the entire family, step parents and all the spouses and their families. He tells me I am one of few who understands him. It’s not his choice to have Asperger’s, but it is his choice how he thinks about it. My husband, however, denies having it. When I confronted him about the Asperger’s, I told him he could deny it but he still has it and the more he learns about it the better. I told him that I was already using communication methods with him and they were working. Now he secretly learns about his Asperger’s.

        I have always heard that our God is a god of love; if that is true then I think you have nothing to fear. If you did not cause emotional distress on purpose, then you have nothing to fear. That is my thought on that.

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      • Thanks Jackie. As for the admitting of an emotional illness or not, there is a lot of stigma against it, and some people can’t face the stigma. I don’t know, that just what I think.

        I am sorry Jackie what your daughter and you have gone through, and I am glad your husband was able to find out what is problems were and could try to do something about it.

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      • Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

        There are a lot of stigmas out there, plenty to go around! Child abuse is stigmatized and I am one of the first to admit to it. None of us are born with perfect parenting skills, I abused my first two kids when I lost it one day and did everything I could to prevent that from happening again to my second set of kids. Now I work to help others.

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