Written by Michelle Aditya Hadi
Since young age, children play together in group of friends with similar age. They often play as husband and wife while copying what their parents usually do. A research from About Kids Health organization revealed that in their subconscious mind, most two-year-olds children know the differences between girls and boys. However, the gap becomes wider as they grow up into adults. Women tend to judge men for always making mistakes while men underestimate women due to their soft figure. This imbalance in the society happens because parents did not teach their children about gender equality which is one of the most essential things for their social and emotional development.
First, the easiest step parents could do is by showing respect between husband and wife. With a synchronized and healthy relationship, children can observe the good example of interaction between male and female. Children who came from broken home families were proven to face higher risk of mental and emotional issues. Morgan (2004) stated that almost one in ten of 8000 children suffer from disorders. Men who lost their mother over divorce would believe with the statement “Do not get close to woman.” Meanwhile women with father-issues are proven to have harder and longer period to trust and rely to their partners. Children who grew up while witnessing their mother getting abused or father being overshadowed by their wife would not see both gender as equals.
Then, it is important for parents to not limit the choice of dream job for their children. Kaufman (2011) stated that during the age of 5 until 10 years old, children are very imaginative and eager to explore everything surround them. Parents usually tell their daughters to be nurse, teacher, princess, but the manly jobs like police, pilot, or firefighter. Boys rarely stated they want to be a dancer or ballerina when they grow up because their parents tell them they cannot do that. This action is actually a restriction that would build stereotypes when they apply for jobs in the future. Children need to know that they can do any occupation without gender as the issues. Parents need to learn how to guide their children in order to avoid them underestimate other children. Stereotypes like “girls do better at academic” or “boys are better at sport” should not be used in school and home.
The last is to select proper media and learning facilities. According to Active Healthy Kid’s Canada Report Card (2014), children from age 6 to 17 watch 7 hours of television per day. Therefore, parents are suggested to be strict when selecting television shows for children. They should be avoided from watching programs that involve violence and sexual contents. Experts also advice parents to avoid variety shows or dramas that show stereotypes and prejudice against men or women. Children also need to have variety of books and stories that project women as heroes and men as soft figures. This will help to create an understanding for children that men are not always the dominant and women also have their moments to shine.
Without proper controlling, involvement, and encouragement by parents about gender equality, kids would develop jealousy over each other. They would not understand the reason why sons could come home a little late without their parents worrying or why daughters get to do easier house chores. By implementing the fair treatment between siblings and knowledge, children will have awareness about the difference between both genders and respect the equality between male and female.
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