Being Dad Parenting

Raising a Gender-fluid child – what does it mean?

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

From Brad Pitt to Russell Brand, the number of children being raised gender-fluid in the celeb world is growing.

Whether it’s a concept you know much about, or something completely new, the idea of raising a genderfluid child is not one greatly talked about. So we here at FQ thought we should give all you dads the lowdown.

What does the term mean? 

Essentially, a genderfluid child is the same as one which is gender neutral. They don’t identify as either the male or female gender. As with Bradgelina‘s little girl Shiloh, raising your child to be gender neutral simply means you leave it up to them. If they want to wear dresses, they wear dresses. If they want to wear ‘best bro’ t-shirts, despite being born a girl then they wear ‘best bro’ tops. It’s about going against stereotypical norms of what is classed as being “masculine” or “feminine”. It’s as simple as that.

What does it mean for my child?

Raising your child to not be expected to conform to gender norms allows them to develop and become who they want to be. It allows them to explore activities which are no necessary traditional gender roles. We’ve come a long way from it being ladies who are constantly in the kitchen. The same goes for boys who should do sports. It means they then have the potential to expand their choices because they aren’t conforming to gender expectations.

Obviously, you cannot protect your child from all gender norms, especially at school. However, that doesn’t mean you have to change the way you bring them up.

Here are some top tips to raise a gender-fluid child…

Refrain from social expectations:

Women are generally viewed to be more delicate and sensitive. We teach them its okay to talk about their problems. With regards to your son, do the same. If he comes home upset, let him know it’s okay to talk about it and cry if he wants to. This will also help to get him used to talking about his problems and avoid mental health issues when he’s older.

All doors open:

Exposing your kids to many different option in life, including those that oppose gender stereotypes is another great way to raise your kids gender neutral. Make sure to provide equal amounts of exposure to various activities. From career options to toy and colour choices. It will allow your child to develop a wider range of interests and potential career opportunities.

Let loose:

Young children don’t have a concrete ideas about what their favourite hobbies or interests are, because they have not had the time to explore all the different options. By encouraging your children to choose and explore non-stereotypical activities you are guiding them to discover their passions and interests in a genderfluid way. Le them choose from their options instead of making the choice for them. This may mean they have a harder time picking a hobby but if that makes them happier than what’s the harm?

Communicate compassionately:

Your child may grow to realise that the toys they play with or the hobbies they have are different to other children of the same gender. This could have a negative effect on them. So if you communicate effectively and compassionately with them, encouraging them to keep doing what they like, it won’t matter what others in society think. Inform them that if they enjoy playing with stuff typically for the other gender, it makes them no less a boy or a girl. Regardless of what their peers might think. Keep the conversation non-judgemental and open. Encourage them to ask questions and form their own opinions about gender roles.