Parenting question: ‘I want to raise my child in a gender-neutral way, but I am afraid of the reactions of others’

Raising children is sometimes accompanied by difficult situations and parental concerns. That is why Lisa van den Akker, editor-in-chief of famme and Y/M Parents and mother of four children, weekly special for Subway a parenting question. This week a question from Iris: “I want to raise my child gender-neutral, but I am afraid of the reactions of others.”

How do you get over that? Lisa comes to the rescue.

Parenting question: ‘I want to raise my child in a gender-neutral way, but I am afraid of the reactions of others’

“Hi Lisa,

We have been the proud parents of a daughter for two years now. Her name is Alex and that is a conscious choice. We wanted a gender neutral name, because we want to raise our child gender neutral. For us, that doesn’t mean we deny she’s a girl, but we don’t want to pigeonhole her into a girl. She has as many cars as dolls and she regularly wears clothes from the boys department. It wasn’t very noticeable when she was a baby, but now that she’s getting older, people are starting to ask questions about it. I find it difficult to deal with that and to admit that we want to raise her gender neutral. What can I do?

– Greetings,


The answer

“Hi Iris,

I understand that you are concerned about the reactions of others if you choose to raise your child gender neutral. But remember, you are the parent and it is your choice how you raise your child. Unfortunately, you cannot prevent people from not understanding or reacting strangely, but there are a few tips to deal with these reactions.

First, inform yourself. Learn as much as you can about gender neutrality and know why it matters to you. This will help you explain your choice more easily to others. In addition, be prepared for reactions. Consider in advance what kind of questions or comments you can expect and how you can respond to them. Remain calm and confident in your answers.

Furthermore, you do not necessarily have to talk to everyone about your upbringing. Choose your interlocutors carefully. Seek support from people you trust and who are open to different views. Like family and close friends.

If you do talk to someone who reacts negatively, be patient and respectful. Not everyone will immediately understand why you raise your child gender neutral. Calmly explain why you made this choice. Give others time to understand and be open to dialogue.

If you need it, you can also seek support from like-minded people. Online communities or Facebook groups can provide valuable support. You can meet other parents who have had similar experiences and learn from their advice.

But most importantly, remember that as a parent you have the right to determine how you raise your child, as long as you ensure your child’s well-being and safety are paramount. Stay true to yourself and to your child. You do what you think is best, and that’s the most important thing.

Do you want more tips on how to parent in a gender neutral way? You can find it here.

Good luck!”

You can find other articles about parenting here.

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Parenting question: ‘I want to raise my child in a gender-neutral way, but I am afraid of the reactions of others’

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