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Sarah's son is "unapologetically himself". But not everyone chooses to understand.

The other day my seven-year-old daughter strutted out of her room dressed and ready to head out. 

I’m not sure exactly what she was wearing, it was quite hard to identify specific items through the textures and (a very loud and very shiny) kaleidoscope of colour. 

I’m not proud to admit what came out of my mouth upon seeing her...

"Darlin', do you think that outfit might be a bit much?" 

However, I am incredibly proud to admit what came out of her mouth...

"Mum, I am a bit much."

Well played, darling. Well played.

Watch: How to improve your daughter's body image. Post continues after video. 


Video via Mamamia.

It’s a strange fact of motherhood that the little people we are supposed to raise, actually raise us.  

They are our most profound teachers.   

In that moment, my teacher reminded me that we get to show up in this world exactly as we choose. Us grown ups, we forget that sometimes.  

I was reminded of this exchange between my daughter and I when I was scrolling through Facebook recently and saw a post by NSW mum and parenting influencer, Sarah Kearns, wife to Brad Kearns.

The title of the post read, "If supporting your son to be the truest form of himself is wrong, then I don’t want to be right. Questions I always get and my answers." 

The post garnered thousands of likes and comments of support across Instagram and Facebook.  

The picture in the post is one of Sarah with her eight-year-old son, Knox. Beaming smiles on both of their faces. 

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In the caption, she answers the questions she commonly gets about their son.

You see, Knox loves pirates, art and all things marine. 

On a recent family holiday, he wanted to get his hair braided with extensions which were a divine shade of purple and blue. His bedspread is pink with a pattern of birds and flowers. He has shoulder-length blonde hair and, according to his mum, "the kindest heart." 

The love this post received is echoed in the research. A national Australian study entitled 'The Power of Parents' by not-for-profit organisation Our Watch, shows that '79 per cent of parents of children aged 0-3 years want their children to be able to explore interests free from limiting gender stereotypes'.

It seems a lot of parents don’t want to tell their child who they must be.  

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In an interview with Sarah, I asked her if she consciously steered away from implementing gender stereotypes when parenting her children.

She replied, "It wasn’t on my radar at all. I didn’t even realise that other parents didn’t let their boys have dolls. I was like... why the hell not?"

Precisely Sarah, why the hell not?  

But every parent knows the heavy fear of your child’s heart being broken. The agonising dread of them not being accepted by their peers. So, when your child does bravely dare listen to themselves, rather than society, it can be scary.  

Sarah feels it. She knows. And she is teaching us what she’s learned. In the post she addressed the following questions:  

1. Aren’t you worried he will get bullied? 

Sarah freely admitted that she does worry about Knox, as does every parent. In a proactive approach, her family focuses on "building up his self-esteem and sense of self at home so he can be unapologetically himself in the world".

"Let’s stop putting our kids in a box to make others feel more comfortable," she shared.

2. What if someone tells him that’s a girl’s pencil case?

In response to this, Sarah simply said, "They have, and they will again."

She went onto tell a story of an incident that occurred in kindergarten. Knox was picked on because he had "a girls' pencil case". He was upset, but bravely replied: "That’s silly, there’s no such thing as boy colours or girl colours." His friend stood up for him and his teacher saw the opportunity and jumped on it to talk to the kids about gender and how they are free to like whatever colour, toy or activity they choose. 

This experience ended up "giving him confidence". 

Bravo Knox, Knox's friend, and his kindy teacher.

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When I asked Sarah for her permission to write about her son, she expressed concern that people may misinterpret Knox’s choices as they are sometimes keen to label. She said that it has nothing to do with gender identity or sexuality, "he just loves all the things".

Full disclosure: I have a boy and a girl, and we just returned home from a school supply shopping trip where the girl bought all the pink/unicorn/glitter crap she could find, and our boy's pencil case has some kind of ninja fight on it. I am conscious of not embedding gender stereotypes, but this is how our little baby cookies have crumbled. Their preference is their own. 

For now, I have no doubt we will see many incarnations of our children over the next 20 years and I’ve reserved my front-row seat because I am here for it and ready for them to show me who they are. 

Feature Image: Instagram @sarahkearnsofficial.

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