Diversity & Sexuality
Gender is something that most everyone thinks they understand, but it can be more complicated than people expect. Gender doesn’t just mean male or female; it covers a whole range of identity expressions, and your child may begin to question their gender at an early age, or perhaps challenge your understanding of the term. Gender independent children are not being defiant; their behavior is not caused by parenting style or abuse. Everyone experiences and expresses gender identity in their own unique way.
Children have a pretty good sense of their gender identity by about age seven. Think about it: kids learn about emotions and showing affection even as newborns. By age two, your child is naming body parts and asking about the differences between boy and girls. Next comes playing house, taking turns being Mom or Dad, pretending to have babies, mimicking adults they admire. Your kid has spent lots of time figuring out who they are before they even start school.
The best way to help your child discover and embrace their own identity is to be approachable. Give honest, age-appropriate answers to questions. Discuss everything, including sexual issues, in an open, comfortable manner. Treat everyone with dignity and respect.
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