Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston, Texas. Child care Montessori provider in Champions, The Woodlands, Spring Texas Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston
Editorial Archives
Our stereotyping concepts creep in everywhere. There is a classic study done with eleven mothers who played with a six-month-old infant. Five of the mothers were told that the infant’s name was Adam, and he was dressed in blue. The other six mothers were told that the same infant, now dressed in pink, was named Beth. (The baby actually was a boy.) The mothers who played with “Adam” tended to give him a train, while “Beth” got a doll. The mothers who thought they had a girl smiled more and held the baby closer than the mothers who had “Adam”.

Though we do it unwittingly, numerous research projects have proven that we handle our daughters more frequently, play more actively with our sons, and more often restrict our girls in playpens while allowing our boys the freedom to explore. We describe our sons - even as newborns - as stronger and more alert. We all have both masculine and feminine traits. To the extent that we deny those traits, we limit the fullness of the experience of being human. Research indicates that adults who are able to express both stereotypically female traits (nurturing, connectedness, compassion) and male characteristics (independence, toughness, achievement) are the most well-adjusted and self-assured.

Although we can’t totally change our entire culture, we can counter the effects by encouraging a balance. Girls can be given a sense of strength and independence so they can handle the challenges of a male-dominated society. From early on, we can give them choices and urge them to take responsibility for their decisions. Allow your toddler daughter to explore her environment and allow risk taking. Studies show that girls who participate in sports have higher self-esteem and a more positive body image. Let your daughter try to solve her own problems. If she’s learning to ride her new tricycle, let her work on it by herself. Express confidence that she is both bright and capable. Especially don’t focus on the im-portance of physical appearance. Talk to your daughter more often about what she can accomplish than how cute she looks in her new dress.

Encourage your son to express his emotions by nam-ing and verbalizing. Touch and cuddle a lot. Talk about things that are important to you. This is where both the parent and the child can learn how to be intimate in all the best senses of the word. For both genders, select toys, books, movies, and activities that are not gender specific. With a little effort we can help assure that our children grow up exhibiting both confidence and compassion and enjoying the benefits of both friendship and achievement.