some thoughts post parent teacher conferences, in no particular order, based on salient and recurring themes, with the caveat that I do not have kids and raising kids is hard and all kids are different and everyone is doing the best that they can; howsoever and but still:
1. Little girls can be assertive. Don't call it bossy. They can want what they want and use their words to ask for it while still being a kind and empathetic friend, and a respectful child. They are humans and have opinions and needs. It's time we start treating them as such.
2. Little boys can do art, and they can also cry. It's not weirdness or excessively emotional if they do. They are also humans! If these drawings contain motifs of skulls instead of flowers, or blood instead of bunnies, ask why. Are you inundating your male child with violent images, games, and expectations? If he comes to school wearing a tshirt emblazoned with a flaming shark embattling a sky zombie, why do you expect him to paint daffodils that day?
3. Actually, all kids can do whatever the fuck it is they're interested in. They can cry and do math and paint and be assertive. I am so sick of talking about if they are boys or girls, or south east asian or white or hispanic or korean, or rich poor or in between. This or that or that other thing. Look at the child, your specific child. At this tender age, if you are already limiting them with your societal expectations, stop yourself. If you find yourself saying, "Oh well, boys always--" or "It's because we're X that she--" please stop. Just stop doing that to them.
4. If your child is preoccupied with loss, death, absence, or grieving, talk with them! You are more scared of these abstractions than they know to be. All of their cues come from you, and their reactions will be as accepting or bereft as you show them to be. As their guardian you need to guide them, and show them how to healthily discuss and process all changes.
5. Love them, first and foremost. This is your child, and that love carries through more than anything else you can say, prepare, prevent or plan. Enough with the extra math homework at age 4. Ask how their day went.
6. Read books with your kids. Dammit.
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