Equal education: 5 mistakes to avoid

How to install an egalitarian and non-gendered education at home? It starts with avoiding making these few common mistakes parents make. Explanations with Christine Barois, psychiatrist for children, adolescents and adults

To have children is to plunge into the unknown. If you are full of educational principles before they emerge, you often end up abandoning them. In particular, because the reality is very different from what we imagined – and having children is as stressful as it is exhausting.

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Video by Clara Poudevigne

However, if there is one principle of education that should not be abandoned, it is that of raising our children in an egalitarian environment. By that, we mean educating our children in the same way, girl or boy, while being aware of gender stereotypes (and avoiding them as much as possible). In theory, gender-neutral education seems easy. But in practice, we still, as parents, make a few mistakes. If this is not serious (we are all human and there is no such thing as perfect parenthood), it is nevertheless necessary to rectify them so as not to create inequalities. At home, but also in their later life. What are these mistakes and how can you avoid them? We take stock with Christine Barois, psychiatrist for children, adolescents and adults.

Set a bad example

For the expert, “Parents must set an example from an early age”. Parents are true role models for children. And whether we like it or not, we often end up repeating the patterns we experienced growing up. Thus, if one wants to embark on an egalitarian education, it is necessary that there is already equality within the couple and with those close to them. If a little boy is told that the vacuum cleaner and the dishes are only for girls, but daddy does nothing at home, the message conveyed will be confusing. Children are also attentive to the relationship of domination between parents: the way they talk to each other, who makes decisions, etc. It is important not to be in a model of male domination, to prevent children from reproducing it in the future.

Give some household chores to girls and some to boys

“It is important that children do not feel that they have gendered household chores. At home, my mother worked a lot because she was a local elected official. My father was vacuuming and setting the table. It was normal. We need a distribution of things of equitable stewardship ”, says the specialist. Clearly, we must avoid believing that girls are only good to be in the kitchen and boys in the garage. Your son can help with the dishes as much as his sister, because no household chores are gendered.

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Do not listen to children’s emotions

Say things like “Boys don’t cry” or to a girl she has to be “Very wise” is dangerous. According to the psychiatrist, it is indeed “Cut off their access to their emotions” : “If we tell a little boy that crying is for girls, he will not have the possibility of distilling his emotions, except through aggression because it is good for a boy to be ‘strong’. ” Moreover, this kind of remark leads one to think that women are inferior to men.

In an egalitarian education, children are encouraged to express their emotions. “You can ask them how they feel, what they feel, what is going on in their head, in their body. What is the event? How did you interpret it? This is how we help children to feel their emotions, in any case to qualify them ”, continues Christine Barois.

Not daring to buy a doll for a boy and toy cars for a girl

According to the expert, we must at all costs avoid “Qualify things according to a genre”. For example, telling a boy that dolls, pink or even cooking “it’s for girls”. Gendering objects, colors, household chores, etc. only accentuates the idea that there is a real difference between girls and boys and therefore, inequalities. However, it is important to let the child grow up being free from all stereotypes, being fully himself.

Don’t tell them about consent

The notion of consent has been on everyone’s lips for a few years, especially since #MeToo. But do not believe that this only concerns adults. Quite the contrary. It is essential to talk about consent with children, for their safety, but also for that of others. “It is necessary to tell them that when it’s no, it’s no. Already, we do not touch the bodies of others. If someone touches your body, you must tell an adult. That is essential. And above all, you don’t do to others what you wouldn’t like to be done to you. In the other direction, you do to others what we would like us to do to you. That is to say, if you see someone in danger, you will protect them ”, says the psychiatrist. Before adding: “We can also explain to a preteen that growing up he may have impulses, but it is not because he will have impulses that others will agree. ” It is important that children become aware of their actions, which are acceptable and which are not.

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Equal education: benefits for later

“The danger with an education that is too gendered is that the vision of women in general is impacted. If, in a heterosexual couple, only the mother does the housework, the child will believe that it is up to the women to do the housework ”, continues Christine Barois. Again, this maintains gender stereotypes and inequalities between men and women.

An egalitarian education has many benefits for the child, but also for his future relationships. “The advantage of egalitarian education at home is that children will be all-terrain, they will not be obtuse on certain subjects. For example, having a man ironing at home will be considered quite normal and not prone to silly jokes. It is important to open minds, to open up to all the banalities ”, she concludes. The idea is to make our children respectful adults, while being free to become what they want.

Elise Poiret

Journalist specializing in parenthood, Elise writes for aufeminin and Parole de mamans. She is also very involved in the fight for women’s rights. If you only have to remember …