After a long time, I am writing my heart out because I found it very important to call out! It is about my child who is only 5 years old. It must have happened two or three times when I absorbed a sudden change in my child’s behaviour. Something was weird. He was answering all my questions differently even when I asked politely.
It was the holiday and the night before, I slept thinking that I don’t have to wake up early tomorrow. So the next day, it was around 9 am and I was sleeping soundly. My baby, who doesn’t wake up easily on working days, got up too early. Well, I know that I am not the only mom who faces this situation. Anyways, he kept waking me up saying, “Mumma, get up early as I am feeling too hungry. You don’t listen to me, Mom. Get up na! Make some food for me. I reluctantly got up, freshened up and then went to the kitchen.
Made food for him, something that can be prepared quickly. Then I asked my son to wake up his dad. He denied it and said, “Let him sleep, Mumma. He was very tired last night!” This concern for his dad seemed a bit strange to me. I smiled and told him to finish up his food. Afterwards, I commenced my routine tasks.
And soon, the evening had arrived. Upon entering my room, I noticed that it was quite messy. Items were scattered all around. Especially my son’s stuff. I scolded him saying “You have to clean the room now. Stand up and do as I say. And who will gather up all these toys of yours?
I know it was a bit harsh on him but I believe that until you explain things thoroughly to children, they won’t understand how they are wrong in a particular situation. I did the same.
“You,” he said. I stared at his face and told him to repeat it. He said, “Yes mumma, you will do that because only girls must do all the domestic chores.” His reply made me a bit uncomfortable. For a few moments, I couldn’t believe that I had heard this from my son’s mouth.
“You should not talk like that. It is the duty of all members who live in a house. Do not repeat such words. Okay, son?” I said. Despite explaining so much, such small incidents continued to occur. I ignored some of them, while I expressed my views on others.
One day, we were sitting at home just like this, having a conversation with each other when a video call came from my son’s grandmother. Everyone started talking to her, and then my son’s turn came:
“Have you eaten your food, dear? What did you eat?” she asked. My son politely answered. Then she asked again, “When you come to our house, what will you do?” I didn’t feel good at all when I heard what my son said. He replied, “I will play a lot, Dad will take me outside, and Mom will cook food for all of us in the kitchen.” Then his grandmother asked again, “Won’t you take Mom with you outside?” He answered, “Mom doesn’t go out; she stays at home!”
I began to wonder where my son was picking up all these thoughts. I don’t want him to be like this. I want to teach him to respect me equally as he does to others. I want him to learn to do every household task and be guided by my example. So why is he starting to talk about me in this way?
After contemplating deeply, I realised that he has learned to think and speak this way from his own home. He observes how only I do all the household chores. When his dad comes home from the office, I give him water, make tea, and, with a smile, do all the remaining tasks.
Although I am also a working woman, he has never noticed my professionalism. Whatever the reasons may be, if such a situation is arising in your home, then there is indeed a need to take some necessary steps. For me and you as well. Let’s see what those steps could be.
Gender Discrimination: What Parents Can Do?
Moms and dads can work together to do household chores. This means everyone helps, and no task is just for boys or girls.
Talk About Feelings:
Parents can talk to their kids about how everyone, no matter if they’re a boy or a girl, can feel happy, sad, or excited. This helps kids understand that emotions are the same for everyone.
Encourage Friendship with Everyone:
Parents can encourage their kids to be friends with boys and girls. Friends can like the same games and activities, no matter their gender.
Read Diverse Stories:
Parents can read books that show different kinds of people doing all sorts of jobs. This helps kids see that anyone can be anything they want, regardless of gender.
Use Fair Language:
Moms and dads can use words that are fair to everyone. For example, saying “everyone can do this” instead of “only boys” or “only girls.”
Celebrate Achievements Equally:
Parents can celebrate when their child achieves something, whether they’re a boy or a girl. This helps kids see that everyone’s accomplishments are important.
Be a Good Example:
Parents can show by their actions that they believe in fairness. When moms and dads treat each other with respect and share responsibilities, kids learn from their positive example.
Answer Questions Honestly:
If kids ask questions about why things are done a certain way, parents can explain honestly. This helps kids understand the reasons behind certain choices and encourages open communication.
Remember, little actions can make a big difference in teaching kids about fairness and equality. By doing these simple things, parents can create a home where everyone feels respected and valued, no matter their gender.