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Radical Parenting: Raising a Child as Gender Neutral

Do you let your child sleep with you every night? Do you monitor his every move, protecting him as if he were an expensive piece of china? Have you ever hypnotized your daughter? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be what pediatricians and psychologists are calling a “radical parent.” Yet, even if you don’t attach yourself to your child 24/7, you may practice some of these radical parenting techniques without even knowing it.

Raising a Child as Gender Neutral

Sasha, who recently turned five, made headlines this year for being raised gender neutral by Beck Laxton and Kieran Cooper. The couple decided not to reveal baby Sasha’s gender to the world so that he would not be influenced by society’s preconceptions and prejudices. Like Sasha’s, there are many parents, who allow their children to play with toys that are unassociated with a specific gender or gender role. They expose their daughters to race cars and science sets; let their sons pretend to feed a baby doll in a play kitchen; as well as, give their children gender neutral toys such as blocks or cards. I suppose my parents were a head of the times because I had Lincoln logs to build with and a Barbie dream boat to float in my dinosaur kiddy pool.

Raising a child without gender restrictions sounds liberating and forward thinking, yet there has been backlash against this parenting method. When it comes to clothing choices, many families draw the line. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s daughter Shiloh has a short hair cut, runs around in boy’s combat boots, and wears her brothers’ shirts. And Discovery Health’s most recent segment of “Extreme Parenting” featured a little boy whose mother allowed him to play with pink castles and wear dresses.

It is difficult to judge or determine whether this parenting method is harmful because according to Dr. Daragh McDermott, a psychology lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University, “The effect of raising a gender neutral child is not yet known. It is hard to say whether being raised gender-neutral will have any immediate or long-term psychological consequences for a child.”

Maybe you aren’t as “liberal” as some other parents, but you could easily be the type that hovers over your child’s every move. Find out what’s going on with helicopter parents.


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