Parenting with No Labels
Updated: May 15, 2022
I have 3 children, each beautiful in their own way. Each of them have taught me the most important lesson. It’s O.K. to be myself. I don’t need to worry what other people think of me. My kids unapologetically share who they are. They wanna dance in the mall to their favorite song? They will. I envy their fearlessness. They are happy with who they are. I want to keep their light shining and allow it to shine even brighter. My children are surrounded by love and acceptance. This is the creation of where we live and what we allow in our lives.
My children are very active and spirited. This was especially true when they were toddlers. And I was active along with them making sure to take responsibility for them. When we visited family who were not used to active toddlers, the phrase, “Children should be seen and not heard” was said a couple times. I had never heard this phrase before. It sounded horrible and was the exact opposite of our parenting. We want our children to tell us who THEY are. WE don’t tell them who they should be. We want our kids to know we hear them and honor them. When you truly see your child, you see their soul, not hair & clothing choices. These choices can be lots of fun and give a chance for self expression. It can also be chains to societal norms. We want our children to be seen and heard for who they truly are.
For this reason we don’t attach gender labels to anything. How my kids identify themselves is up to them, not me. There are no “girl” or “boy” toys. The only rule is play with what makes you HAPPY. The same goes for clothing. Clothing can be a form of self expression and self identity. As long as my kids are appropriately covered they can wear whatever they want. I have to say some combinations are impressive. My son has even implemented a unicorn costume as everyday wear. Besides that’s how fashion start anyway!
Living in Los Angeles makes this way of parenting easier. I know there are many places in the world where this parenting style would not be accepted. If your child doesn't fit into traditional gender norms what do you do? My husband and I faced this early with our son. His first word was “pink.” Princesses were his life as a toddler. At first we weren’t sure what to do. So I listened to my heart and my child. He showed us what made him happy. So we treated him like any other child who was excited about a toy or cartoon character. He wanted to be a princess for Halloween and he loved every minute of it!
We’ve been parenting this way openly in our community, but we haven’t shared much on social media until recently. I’m opening up about this because I don’t want anyone to feel alone like I did. We have wonderful family and friends, but I wish I knew others who had similar experiences. Early on I would question my parenting. I would be fearful that I’m going about things wrong. Then I saw how happy my son was. The fear was pointless and proof was in front of me. My son is growing up knowing he is truly loved for who he is.
If sharing our journey will help other parents to listen to their kids and help create an equitable society where everyone can thrive, then I’ve done my job.