It’s a Girl/Boy Thing

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Riley talks about the role of marketing in this perceived girl/boy stuff

In the last ten years I have met and interacted with hundreds for young women and men as well as boys and girls. My home has been home (on part-time and full-time basis) to over 45 boys and girls under 18 years of age. I love the work I do and the contribution I've been able to make. Over the years I've noticed that though the children are different and come from varying backgrounds there is one thing that's been more or less similar: gender roles.

I remember two year ago, one 14-year old boy came to live with us and he wouldn't do activity that wasn't soccer orchilling with the guys. He wouldn't wash dishes or help out with the younger kids; nor would he volunteer to do any of the duties pertaining to school (shirt-washing after school, shoe-polishing, lunchbox-making or checking bags for home-work and that the young kids had their lunch.) Nothing. Most of the boys that come to live with me have this issue in varying degrees. I don't hold it against them because that's how they are raised.

I'm a strong believer that no activity is just for boys or just for girls. I encourage -- and even insist if it comes to that -- my kids to share in the dull but necessary household activities. We draw up a rotating roster of some of the chores and I care more about it being age-appropriate than gender role-conforming.

Encourage and support your children when they show interest and an aptitude in something new that may not be what society thinks they should be doing based only on the sequence of their chromosomes. If you have a budding soccer star who happens to be a little girl in your house, take them to all their games; hold family tastings of your young chef's -- who happens to be a boy -- kitchen creations.

The sad reality is that these children with get a lot of grief from the outside world for not conforming  to ridiculous rules that have been holding humanity back for centuries. I've noticed that this is easier to handle when the children have the support of their families.

How do you handle this issue in your home? Please share your struggles, successes ad general thoughts in the comments section.


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