Gender-fying Kids: Finding Balance When Raising Girls

Princess"I know what boys like." I peeked into the bedroom to see Elizabeth dancing around the room, shaking her four-year-old hips while she sang one of her favorite Teen Beach Movie songs. Sighing, I walked away knowing she doesn't really know what boys like. And knowing too that we'd have the conversation before about the second part of the song, the part where the modern day girl tries to tell the 1960's slumber party participants that it doesn't matter what boys like, what's important is having goals and following your dreams.

When I first watched this movie, I loved the homage to the 60's beach movies my sisters and I used to check out from the library and watch over and over. Who can forget Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon who surfed without ever getting their hair wet and frolicked on sand that never stuck to their skin? And yes, those girls were all about the boys. And those boys were all about the girls. 

Of course, in today's world of raising a daughter, the movies I watched—Marilyn Monroe sauntering across the screen with her sexy pout and Jane Russell telling men to raise their eyes—are not deemed appropriate. Barbie is out and gender neutral, educational toys are in. I find myself divided between "down with princesses!" battle cries and "awww…look at the fluffy tutu" moments. 

I tell myself I'm raising a strong willed, independent, confident daughter—no matter that she loves to wear a purple tiara and sing songs about boys. After all, this is the same girl who climbs higher than her brother, jumps instead of walks, and thinks science is magical.

How do you find balance with your daughter?