What Do You Do When Your Kid Makes A Sexist Comment?

“It’s not appropriate for you to play with that – you’re a girl.”

When your child says something like this, it can be challenging for a parent trying to raise a respectable person. As a result, it raises questions about how to respond: Should you laugh it off, gently correct them, or start a full-blown lecture on gender equality? Experts offered their advice to us.

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Comments like these could result from ads for cleaning products primarily featuring women, superhero commercials targeting boys, and other subtle messages aimed at today’s youth. Despite parents’ best efforts, Melinda Wenner Moyer, a mother who writes about parenting issues, says most children make sexist remarks at least once.

Parents worry, am I raising my kid wrong? “Kids are little social detectives,” Moyer says. In their view, men usually have more power. When children say these things, Moyer says, parents need to take the opportunity to have a conversation with them.

According to Yahoo Life, she did exactly that when her 5-year-old daughter asked if she could change into a boy. A gentle question led to a deeper explanation. ‘One day she wants to be president, but girls can’t be president,’ Moyer recalls. She had some misconceptions, but my heart broke into a million pieces.”

Moyer advises parents to begin with curiosity after taking a deep breath. Getting them to talk more and then offering information that corrects what they said is the best way to update their comment.

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Moyer said, “I told my daughter, ‘You’re right, we’ve never had a woman president, but absolutely women can be president,’ and I started picking out examples of countries with female leaders.”

Such moments can also encourage perspective and foster empathetic feelings. Children who say that boys cannot play with dolls should be asked how they would feel if they did play with dolls.