Is this behavior damaging to children?
While I’ve seen this kind of behavior in a lot of parents, my husband’s family is guilty of it across the board.
Whenever a small child, especially a toddler, does a specific action that the parents wants them to stop but is not punishment worthy they will scold the toddler then tease them about their behavior.
The teasing can be anything from telling them that they are acting like a different sex than their own or younger than are. It is done a condescending and mocking tone to humiliate the child and instill aversion toward that unwanted behavior.
For example, a 3 year old little boy cries about something and his mother says in a mocking tone, “are you a little baby?” Or “are you a girl? You are crying like one.”
Personally, I strongly disagree with adults who do this to children. I think it is damaging and immature.
Obviously, I keep this opinion to myself since my nieces and nephews are my in laws children and not mine. But I have noticed that the kids are very rigid about gender stereotypes. My nephews will throw an absolute fit if you buy them anything that is a “girl color”. And my nieces constantly tell me that they are afraid of being seen as tom boys.
I do worry that my future children will be subjected this type of ridicule as well. I do not want that and have no intention of ever mocking my children for any behavior. If a behavior needs to be corrected, there are better ways to do it than shaming a toddler into being afraid to continue the behavior I think.
I would like to hear other people’s opinions on this. My husband’s family thinks it is harmless and funny. But I feel like there is nothing funny about it.
Also if anyone has advice for how I can politely ask these family members not to do this to my own kids when the time comes, I would appreciate it.
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