As a parent, you want to make sure that you raise your children to the best of your ability. You want them to be happy and feel confident in the choices that they make. Therefore, if they pick out certain toys to play with, why does it matter if they are designed specifically for boys or girls? What should matter is that your child is enjoying what you have purchased for them. Placing a gender bias on toys can affect their self-esteem and limit their future potential. Here are the reasons why you should avoid placing a gender bias on your kids’ toys.
Shaping a child’s world
The toys we play with as a child will end up shaping how we view the world as adults. A lot of our interests are shaped from what we experience when we are younger. So, if we played with a toy cooker and stove, there is a chance that we would enjoy cooking more as an adult. We may even decide to go into a cooking career as a chef! By limiting the type of toys that children can play with, this may affect how they grow up and what type of people they become. They may grow angry as adults because they have not been allowed to explore certain interests because of their gender. You do not want to limit your children. So, allow them to enjoy whatever toys they choose.
Most of the time, you will be able to spot the differences between toys created directly for boys and girls. Often this is because they will be blue and pink. This bias will direct girls to distinctly more “girly” objects, whilst boys may be pushed towards sports or scientific objects, like robots or rockets. If you set an expectation of what girls and boys are supposed to do when they are young, you will find that they will retain these values growing up. So, if the values become toxic, it may perpetuate certain stereotypes of masculinity and femininity. For instance, one toxic stereotype is that boys love cars and girls do not. That’s certainly not the case. There are many girls that love the freedom that driving brings. If a child chooses to give a car some feminine trappings, it is through their own choice, not because of a stereotype. So, what’s stopping you from purchasing your kids ride on Lamborghinis? Let them experiment and enjoy themselves with their own interests.
Developing core values
Although many toys are marketed towards a certain gender, it’s important that your child is allowed to play with as many toys as they want. Each toy presents a certain purpose that may help strengthen or develop a core value. For instance, if your son wants to play with a doll, it’s likely that he will strengthen his empathy and caregiving capabilities. If your daughter wants to play with blocks, it’s likely that she will strengthen her hand-eye coordination and engineering skillset. Allow your children to develop their own personalities through play.