Throwing Away the Baby Pinks and Blues

How to raise your child without enforcing gender stereotypes

Gender-neutral baby merchandise is hitting the nursery harder than ever before. Many parents are taking the step to stop gender stereotyping by not enforcing pink-clad baby dolls on their daughters or blue racecars on their sons. Instead, it’s about parents letting their child choose what they enjoy. “I think it’s important to let children make their own decisions and not impose,” said Leslie Jones, a Borderstan parenting columnist. “This way, they can create their own identities.”

Enforcing gender stereotypes limits children’s potential explains Lise Eliot, author of “Pink Brain, Blue Brain.” “You can’t do much more for a kid than let them reach their full potential,” said Eliot.

Unfortunately, finding gender-neutral baby merchandise is difficult. Most stores have separate “girl” and “boy” sections – if they touch, well, society might implode. But there are steps you can take to get around this.

1. Start at the beginning: pick out a gender-neutral name. Luckily, adorable gender-neutral names exist. Popular names for both boys and girls in 2011 included Dakota, Jayden, Casey, Jessie, and Riley.

2. Decorate your nursery in gender-neutral colors like yellow, orange, green, white, or brown. Stay away from anything stereotypically feminine or masculine.

3. Fill your child’s toy chest with toys that encourage growth instead of gender roles, such as puzzles. Or “let them choose toys that are both ‘girl’ and ‘boy’ toys,” said Jones. “Don’t worry about the category a toy falls in.” Let them know that the world won’t really collapse if they like both.