The amount of times I hear…but she just loves pink and princesses. I really have to bite my tongue. I feel like slapping my hand to my forehead and making a dramatic Homer style ‘doh’! Your little ‘princess’ is bombarded with that stuff everywhere she looks. Is it any surprise at all that she shows preference to all things girly?
We try and avoid buying pink or anything overtly gendered towards girls but that just isn’t enough. As much as we as parents have control over what our children are exposed too, we can’t control it all. And so until marketers stop ramming the same old girly girl pink down our throats, we need to be proactive and do more.
Just get talking
We need to challenge their preference. Instead of just accepting pink as a favourite, encourage dialogue about how sunshiny yellow is. Or you could point out how blue reminds you of the sky. Of course we can’t force our own ideas on them but we should, from a young age, be getting children to question their own choices.
The same goes for activities. Maybe your little darling looks oh so cute in a tutu but how about letting her try out football too. By giving them the broadest range of experiences we are showing them all the activities are open to them not just a select few based on their gender.
What makes you YOU?
There are just so many ways to be a girl. She doesn’t need to be constrained into just one version. When we open up the possibilities of what makes a girl, we allow her to express herself in her truest sense. Not just as a reflection of the characters she sees but as a complex little person. She might want to be dangling upside down from a climbing frame wearing her fairy wings.
Her style and tastes will be continually developing and we should encourage her to experiment now. Push her to try new things. Help her to challenge herself and others knowing she has your unconditional love and support.
Loving pink is fine but before you accept it, ask yourself how much variety you have provided. Preschool children are still pretty open to gender fluidity regardless of their targeted gender. It isn’t until they have more external influences that they are more likely to sway towards the traditional toys.
Who will she be?
Make the most of the early years to provide diversity and opportunity rather than restrictions. If we give her the rainbow and broaden her horizons, we will raise strong, confident women who are self assured and ready to take on the world. That’s the kind of girl I want to raise….how about you?