HE SAID WHAT?!
Posted By Eric
Do you ever know you’re doing something wrong yet still don’t change your ways? Well, that’s how I feel about treating your son differently than your daughter.
Am being sexist? Yes, and I know it.
I have told my wife that protecting my daughter is something I am programmed to do. I can’t help it. It is not like I am the first and only dad to ever think this way about monitoring and limiting his daughter’s lifestyle. We men already know what goes on in our heads, and it is NOT pretty. If women could see our thoughts, holy crap it would be a dangerous world.
So with that being said, I will expect my daughter to be home on curfew. My son, well, he will get some extended time if he calls and lets me know he is okay. I will reward him for showing me responsibility and common courtesy. I know it’s not fair, but that is what will happen.
I received this same type of parenting growing up. My older sister’s dates barely got access to the kitchen. Even after she was 18 (I was 12), her male friends were on my parents’ watch. Seeing what she went through, I was worried about bringing a girl over in high school, so I tested it. I introduced a girl to my mom and we went to my bedroom and were able to close the door. My mom or dad did not even ask me to keep the door open. Later, I asked my parents why I was allowed to do it, and they said, “because you’re a boy.” I hugged them both. Honestly, I would not allow my son to close his door until he is at least 18 or out of high school. I know for a fact Gaby will not let doors be closed. However, I would be okay with the door slightly closed so I can sneak a peek and make sure no grandkids are being produced.
However, I only have double standards with certain things. It is not like I am going to put my son in private school and my daughter in public school or vice versa. The things they get for Christmas and birthdays will be the same. When it comes to sports, I will probably encourage my son to try more than my daughter. I will encourage my daughter to try more dancing, music, and arts. But if my daughter asked me if she could play baseball, I would sign her up with no questions asked. If my son wanted to start ballet dancing, man that would just really suck.
SHE SAID WHAT?!
Posted By Gaby
I know what you’re thinking: “You married him. Why are you surprised?” I never intended on changing Eric, so that’s not why this issue is so exasperating. I just have a tough time understanding how someone who seems to be generally progressive has such old fashioned, sexist viewpoints.
The fact that Eric sees no problem with the double standards he would establish for our kids astounds me. Beyond wanting our kids to fit into their gender-specific molds, my biggest issue is his double standard when it comes to dating, curfews, and discussions about sex.
From the moment we found out we were having a boy, I knew that this baby would be treated differently than his sister, but I expected that from society and extended family, not from his dad. Saying you’ll allow your son to have a girl in his bedroom with the door closed, but will give your daughter a strict curfew is not only unfair to your daughter, but you’re teaching your son that he’s allowed certain things because he has a penis.
Eric argues that this is how the world is, but I think that we as parents are supposed to help our children understand that you should stand up for what you think is right. This is an opportunity to teach your children that men and women are equal and that they are going to be subjected to the same rules and expectations, at least in our household.
I’m not arguing that our daughter should be able to be out all night and bring boys to her room. I’m saying that if you set strict rules for one child, you need to have those same rules for all, regardless of genitalia. Jamiroquai could easily take one of those girls into his bedroom and get her pregnant or get an STD from her. A baby is a two-person responsibility and I, for one, wouldn’t allow my son to skirt his responsibility just because he’s a boy.
I understand Eric’s innate need to protect his daughter, and I am really grateful he wasn’t disappointed that she was a girl, like some guys are. My problem lies in this idea that somehow, because she’s a girl, she needs extra protection (and extra rules). With our daughter being very opinionated and strong-willed, I have a hard time believing setting stricter rules for her will be effective. Many girls that grew up in strict households like mine say that they broke the rules because they were curious about what they weren’t allowed to know about/do. If we allow her to have the same curfew as her brother, call if she’s running late, and have her feel that we trust her as much as we do her brother, then we can hopefully avoid her going behind our back and breaking rules. If we don’t, we’re teaching her that we don’t trust her as much as we do her brother and that she can’t come to us in a time of need. I personally don’t want that in order to avoid my daughter going out with boys (which you can’t avoid, and I’m proof of that).
It’s tough being a girl and it seems like nowadays it’s even more difficult. I want our daughter and son to know that women and men, while different in many aspects, have the right to be treated equally. That one isn’t superior over another and that all genders are to be respected. Those lessons start at home, and I want my children to learn that from us.