Thursday, June 15, 2017

Let Your Kid's Freak Flag Fly!

             My 4 year old daughter recently returned home from Memaw and Papaw's house for the night with a Monster High dvd. I was both appalled and perturbed. Not that she had any way of knowing because I had never said anything to her about it, but ever since seeing a preview for some Monster High something-or-other on one of Myka's “baby doll movies” (I may have accidentally started something when I let her rent a Barbie movie to appease her one day to get work done), I have vowed I would never let her watch it. Really, it kind of started before that when my (now) friends and I had a conversation about it at the park when we saw a girl with one of the dolls from the show. I mean really, especially out of context, they kind of look like zombie sluts or Barbie's undead whore-ish cousins upon first glance, amiright? Anyways...
             My initial instinct was that I really, really, wanted to hide the movie and hope to God that Myka would forget about it. Again, she's 4 and therefore tends to fixate on things she's excited about (please tell me that is a 4 year old “thing”), so no such luck there. I kinda wanted to strangle Memaw. But, John put it in for her and I was busy most of the time she watched it the first time, so I didn't really pay much attention to it. John actually ended up watching some of it with her and claimed it wasn't as bad as he thought it would be. I still had my doubts, of course.
             Fast forward to the next day and Myka wanted to watch it again, of course. I am guilty of letting her watch movies (we don't have “regular tv” and PBS is about the only thing she will watch from what we get) when I just need a mental break and/or need to get some work done on the computer, so I let her. Then I happened to overhear something the main character said at the beginning of the movie that caught my attention: Normal is different for everyone. I love that, don't you? Needless to say, I actually started paying more attention to the movie after that and it really wasn't completely horrible. I didn't mind letting her watch it after I realized the overall theme of the movie was to be yourself and don't try to hide who you really are because normal is different for everyone...And that's ok!
             Later that week we were on a quest to find some more toy bugs to add to our bug bin for school. We looked all over town (for what it's worth since it's a small town) and only found a couple of huge grasshoppers and beetles at the Dollar General. But, we did come across a package of mini snakes, frogs, and lizards at CVS that Myka just had to have. They also had a package of “zoo” animals, but nope. She had to have the reptiles and amphibians one because the girl loves snakes. I couldn't help but reflect on this. As we got in the car I said,

Hey, Myka. I'm glad you're into weird stuff.” I quickly corrected myself as soon as the words were out of my mouth.
Well, I shouldn't say 'weird'. It's not weird, it's just not stuff that most girls your age would be into.”

             And, as much as she drives me crazy, that is one of the things I love about her. We try really hard not to push gender stereotypes on our kids. I personally believe that if we did, they wouldn't be as happy. Don't get me wrong: She still likes typically “girly” things too, like nail polish and make-up...Which yes, makes us cringe because we greatly dislike both, but if it makes her happy, whatever!
             Albeit it's been a few years since I've talked about it, I've talked about gender stereotypes in kids on the blog before, so I won't get on my soapbox for too long. Just remember: As parents, grandparents, teachers, etc., embrace your child's interests, even if it doesn't conform to what is “normal”.
             So what if your little boy wants to put on dresses for pretend play or enjoys flowers? So what if your daughter likes playing with dump trucks and getting muddy? From their perspective, they think it's strange and won't understand why we wouldn't want them to do those things! In our case, I think it's strange for a 4 year old girl to take such a liking to snakes because I hate them, but she probably can't understand why I wouldn't. With that being said...
             Besides gender stereotypes as a whole in our society, please, please, don't forget that just because you don't like something doesn't mean your child doesn't have to dislike it too. Trust me: It's easy to fall into the trap of wanting to push our likes, interests, and hobbies on our children. To be totally honest, it still hurts my feelings when Myka doesn't want to do certain things with me that I thought she would think were fun that I also happen to enjoy. While it's acceptable to give them the opportunity to explore the things we enjoy ourselves, it's not ok to force them. If you're having to drag your child to dance class, it's probably time to quit. If your child continually resists wanting to paint or only finishes a product halfway, don't push the issue any further. We wouldn't like it if someone did that to us as adults, right?
             So, let your child's “freak flag” soar! Be a good role model and let yours fly too. ;)

What “strange” things are your kids into?
This Is How We Roll Thursday Party


  1. I totally agree. My eldest and her bff are quite different to most of the other girls in their year. I love that they share their "weirdness" and found each other. I encourage her to do whatever makes her happy, even if it's different to what the other kids do.

    1. That is great! It's always more fun when you can enjoy it with a friend. ;)

  2. This is great. We're always encouraging the Tubblet to be her own weird self. It's lovely to read about other parents doing the same thing

    1. It is nice "meeting" other parents who feel the same! I just don't understand the parents who try to push things on their kids, like participating in certain sports and whatnot. I feel bad for those kids. :/