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Acceptance: The Secret To Good Parenting In A Gender Biased Society

Posted: June 24, 2019

Raising a child in a gender biased society is not easy. But, acceptance can certainly see you through and help raise confident and self-assured kids.

I was immensely overwhelmed to discover those two pink lines on the pregnancy kit. The first thought that bang me on was, “I should be extra cautious and should take extra care of myself, so that the baby would be safe and sound in my womb for the next nine months.” My husband and I always prioritized the foetus’s well-being, sans its gender.

Oh, you will have a boy!

On my baby-shower day (I was in my ninth month then), every single invitee was gazing at my baby bump, and then they declared, “All symptoms are indicating that it’s a boy!” I presumed that all these were expert opinions. Therefore, I prepared myself to welcome a baby boy!

A few days later,  the nurse declared (after my delivery), “It’s a girl!”

For a fraction of a second, my mind was not ready (and I am extremely ashamed for that till date) to accept it. Then, as I heard my new born daughter crying, at once something changed. I never have been biased towards someone, owing to his/her gender. Hence, it was easier for me to accept.

Be it a baby boy or a baby girl, acceptance is the key!

Acceptance is the most wonderful gift from the parents, to the child, at any stage of his/her life. Acceptance is the foundation stone to develop a hearty relationship between the child and the parent. Accept your child for whoever he/she is, be it gender, deformity, mental or behavioural challenges, physical features or ability, nothing should refrain you from accepting your child with utmost love and warmth.

My daughter was crazy about having a baby sister. During my second pregnancy, every moment she prayed to God to bless her with a baby sister. My second born is a boy, though. I could sense that she would be disheartened. She literally was so, I swear. As soon as she met her younger brother for the first time, she looked surprisingly content! She had accepted her little brother as the ‘Precious Gift from the God’.

How she could cope up so effortlessly? The art of accepting her situation, which she had learnt from her experiences, made her so content. Acceptance not only makes a child feel confident, respected, and important but also helps him/her to accept and respect the individuality of other people and their behaviour.

A few months later, after returning from school, she asked me, “Mamma, is it true that you love my brother more than me?”

“Did you feel so?” I asked her.

She nodded her head up and down and answered, “You give most of your time to him only!”

“That’s because you are a big girl now, and you are not much dependent on mamma, whereas, your brother is too tiny to be independent, hence, needs ultimate attention from me. When you were a tiny tot, I took care of you in the same way.” I caressed onto her forehead and showed her some pictures of her own infant months.

My answer could not satisfy her.“Are you sure this is the reason? The reason is not that he is a boy, so he is getting more attention?”

Indian Society introduces gender bias early on…

It bugged me that despite never discriminating them on account of gender, and nurturing a healthy home environment, something made my daughter get such an idea! As I inquired, I came to know, the source was none other than her best friend!

They were three sisters and her mother was expecting for the fourth time, as the parents wanted a baby boy. This girl was their eldest one, who was hardly 7 years old by then. But, she already could sense that she and her sisters did have very little or no value as they were girls!

Children learn acceptance from those around them. It’s true that learning starts from home but peers can also play an important role to change the learnt ideas at any time. It’s parents’ duty to reshape their ideas and learning positively and continuously.

Furthermore, parents may aspire or dream for their child. It’s natural. However, it’s more important what the child aspires for or dreams about him or herself. If a child has to constantly live up to expectations that are beyond his or her ability, there arises discontent and conflict. The child also becomes reticent and withdrawn.

Every child is unique!

You may ask, what should parents do to ensure that they could accept each of their children for their own personal uniqueness? How can they avoid comparing the children with the sibling or any other child?

  1. Take time to understand your child’s personality.
  2. Let go of your expectations and dreams.
  3. Stop criticizing your child for the lack of his/her ability or for the way he/she think, respond, or react.
  4. Be mindful of the underlying causes of your child’s behaviour.
  5. Provide your full attention to your child and try to enter his/her world.
  6. Try to understand his or perspective or point of views. Try to go back to your memories: how did you feel, think, react, say or do when you were at his/her age? Revisiting your own memories play an important role, while understanding your child’s behaviour.
  7. Respond to your child by acknowledging his/her feeling. It’s important that your child can understand that you understand and respect his/her emotions, experiences and individuality.
  8. Let the child know through your words and actions that they are loved and accepted for what they are.
  9. Communicate to the child without being judgmental.
  10. Help the child be aware of his/her own feelings, so that he/she can make conscious choices on how to respond.

As parents we ought to ‘accept’ not ‘approve’

We often get confused between acceptance and approval. Well, these two are completely different concepts. As parents, we should not approve whatever the child does. We can accept what a child is feeling, but we should not approve his reaction or respond, “I understand you are angry, but you cannot hit.”

Accepting his/her perspective should not restrict us to maintain our rules and limits, “Yes, I know all of your friends are going for the trip, but you need to go with us to meet your grandma as she is sick.”

To conclude, acceptance in parenting is about being able to observe and acknowledge the unique personality of your child, and love them for being themselves. This, however, must not resist you to shape or empower your child’s behaviour, educational outcomes, sporting ability, etc.

What do you think? How acceptance in parenting can be helpful? How have you learnt to accept your child’s uniqueness? I invite you to add your tips, positive thoughts, words of appreciation on acceptance in the comment box. If you believe it otherwise, please, let me know.

Happy Parenting!!

Image Source: Pexels

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Munmun is the author behind the Bengali Novel, Mayasm: The Subtle Conflict between Inner Affinity &

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