Thursday, October 22, 2009

Monkey See, Monkey Do

The age old question...Nature vs. Nurture. Every day I am reminded of my awesome responsibility of taking care of this new life. I have the power to shape this person into the best she can be. Everything I do, every decision I make and all the things I expose her too have an incredible influence. What if I make a mistake? Have a ruined her for life? How much does nurture really impact my daughter and when does nature take over?

These simple scenarios had me questioning everything I was doing at first. As soon as I became a mom, I suddenly noticed that I had beliefs about how my daughter should be raised. I had strong opinions! Where did that come from? My childhood? Am I raising my daughter the way my parents raised me? If so, who says they did it right! I think when we start out, sometimes we find ourselves doing what our parents did to us. I know I have caught myself singing some of the same songs that were sung to me.

When i was 20 weeks pregnant the ultrasound technician told us we were having a boy! I already had the whole nursery decorated with huge princesses on the wall and everything pink. I was stuck thinking, if i leave the princess on the wall for my son, does that mean it will damage him? Why can’t we encourage boys to play with dolls or allow them to like the color pink? What would happen if we do? In the end i decided to leave the princesses on the wall and just throw in a lot of blue blankets. Of course as life would have it, we were blessed with a little girl after all. I had all boy clothes for my baby and now the tables were reversed! This got me thinking. What impact do we have as parents on our children when we buy trucks and cars for boys and dolls for girls. Would our society be different if we didn’t? Do our children grow up thinking these stereotypes because of us? I constantly hear parents say “boys will be boys” when their son acts aggressive and telling their daughter to “be nice” when she does the same thing. What type of impact does that have? Perhaps next time we catch ourselves making one of these decisions, we should ponder why or better yet, why not?

1 comment:

  1. Be easy with yourself; yes, parenting is the hardest thing you will ever do, but it is also the most rewarding "work" you will ever do.

    Having both a girl and a boy, I can honestly speak to the nature/nurture debate. My infant daughter hated dolls, and had a plastic lizard as her playmate. My son, on the other hand, loved the squishy baby my daughter had previously rejected. We never wittingly imposed gender roles. He's a gymnast, she's a dirt bike rider. BUT, now, ten years in - he can tell a fart joke like a sailor, and she spends an hour a day doing her hair. Sigh.

    Sometimes I feel like nature takes over, because now the squichy baby has been put on a remote control car and sent down the stairs several times.