Parenting’s a tough gig. Rewarding, heart-warming and hilarious – but tough.
I have four young kids, two boys and two girls, and like most parents, my wife Amy and I want the best for them. We want to set a good example, help them explore their individuality and teach them to respect themselves and those around them.
They say having a daughter changes a man, and I can honestly say that when we had our first, my mindset changed straight away.
I started to notice how our society is divided by gender, blue is for boys and pink is for girls. How we dress our kids, the toys we give them to play with and how we speak to them, all play an important role in how they learn to process the world around them.
New research released by Our Watch reveals that children as young as 18 months can begin to develop knowledge of gender stereotypes, and before the age of two they’re already conscious of how their gender fits into society.
Things like calling your son a “strong little man” when he holds back tears, telling your daughter to “stop being bossy” when she asserts herself, or saying “boys are just being boys” when they act out violently, can be limiting to our kids.
Through my relationship with The Line, I now know that gender inequality and adherence to rigid gender stereotypes are the main drivers of violence against women and their children.
As a father of two daughters, I’m concerned. I don’t want them to be one of the women murdered every week in this country by their current of former partner, or because they’re Indigenous, be 32 times more likely to be hospitalised due to family violence.
Having kids has made me realise that this important conversation starts with me. I want my boys to have good relationships with girls growing up, and I want my daughters to grow up in a world where they feel safe, respected and equal.
Listen: This Glorious Mess discuss disciplining boys - are boys and girls really that different? (post continues after audio...)