Can You Raise A Neutral Child?

We all love our kids. It’s undeniable. Even the two parents my wife saw smoking outside the Walmart exhaling cancer in the face of their newborn love their daughter. You’d hope.

We’re all trying our best. Sometimes we make mistakes, but we’re trying. So it’s never fair to call out another parent and their parenting choices.

That said, I’ll call out any parent who smokes around an infant, one that doesn’t slap a helmet on their kid before a bike ride and parents who try to raise their child as genderless.

Kathy Witterick and David Stocker believe a child’s sex should not determine his or her place in the world. The couple wants 4-month-old Storm to grow up free from strict social norms about males and females, so they have shared his or her sex only with sons Jazz, 5, and Kio, 2, a close family friend and the two midwives who helped deliver the baby.

The family challenges the norm on other issues, too. They practice “unschooling,” an offshoot of home-schooling that centres on the belief a child’s learning should be curiosity driven. They believe children can make meaningful choices for themselves, like choosing their own clothing and how to wear their hair. And the family co-sleeps, curling up together at night on two mattresses pushed together.
[parent central]

My niece wasnt “allowed” to wear pink for the early years of her life. My brother and sister in law tried to raise her in a neutral environment. Fair enough. They have issues with the “princessification” of little girls and were trying to rail against it.

We all have philosophies we try to pass on to our children and that was the one they chose. However, trying to entirely remove gender from the equation takes a reasonable theory and pushes it to unreasonable limits.

Not telling your family or friends the gender of your child? Who are you kidding.

I’ve picked up my son from daycare to find him wearing tutus and pigtails. Other kids were doing it, he wanted to try it too.

Was it a problem? Nope.

Did I care? Nope.

Did I take pictures to bring out at his bachelor party? Yup.

It’s never fair to tell another parent “you’re doing it wrong.” It’s never fair to judge because none of us is absolutely perfect in our methods, but when madness arises it needs to be called out.

Two parents in France were charged in the death of their 11 month old daughter they were trying to raise as a vegan. Were their intentions proper? Sure, a little off the beaten path, but there’s nothing wrong with being vegan. Was their execution inadequate? Absolutely.

Same in this case. It’s not that they are trying to raise a child in a neutral environment and follow their son/daughter’s cues for interests – it’s the extreme nature of the execution that’s so jarring.

These are children – not lab experiments.


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  1. Roger k May 24, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Isn’t that basically identifying your child for him/her? I find that hypocritical. By denying your child an understood launching point into the world, you “undefine” him. They are many different kinds of men. I’ll use gay men as a random example. Some gay men like decorating houses, some like building them, but they all start as men. It seems to me that being put on a path of discovery is far less damaging then waking up one day wondering WTF happened.

  2. Loukia May 25, 2011 at 4:46 am

    I am so against this. It borders… almost… on child abuse. This is NOT the right way to raise a child. They think they’re being cool and new-age? No. They’re setting their child up for years of therapy.

  3. Pingback: The Princess Fixation | DadCAMP

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