Whether we like it or not, all grown-ups are some kind of role model to the children with whom they come into contact. We can never be certain when some throw-away thing we say or do will have a lasting impact on some little soul with a super absorbent brain.
I got to thinking about this recently with regard to gender. Gender stereotyping is very much of a hot topic at the moment, with plenty of discussion around the products available to boys and girls and the whole pink/blue, princess/car kind of imagery they are exposed to and limited by. Similarly, concerns have been raised around boys being able to express anger over and above other emotions, and girls being led to believe that their appearance is more important than their achievements.
I’m sure you’re aware of all the recent discussion there’s been around children and gender stereotyping, in the papers, on television and also within social media. In July, I posted this quote on the How to Speak Child Facebook page and it prompted a slew of comments, mostly expressing frustration at how engrained in common language those stereotypes can be.
Physical contact is more important than you may think - especially for our children.
We live in a world of stranger danger and an overwhelming desire to keep our children safe. In light of the horrendous incidents our press have slathered over like hungry dogs, perhaps this is understandable, but I worry that we might be breading a culture that has fear as its driving force.