Pregnancy comes with joy, and sometimes, with mixed feelings for some couples. After the realisation of the pregnancy, comes other questions – when are we expecting? What are we expecting? And so on. It is here that there might be a tussle between the desired gender and what one eventually gets blessed with.
When it comes to the gender of a child, one of the questions to clarify is if it really matters whether it’s a boy or a girl. When it comes to children, some people find themselves under unnecessary pressure to have a particular gender, especially in some cultural settings. Does it really worth the worry and anxiety associated with such self-inflicted stress? I guess the answer should be ‘NO’.
Some factors such as inheritance, name-bearers, i.e. the ones who will carry on the family name, and others make some parents desire a particular gender over the other. And in most cases, they usually desire male children. Issues such as these can give rise to deliberate neglect and abandonment of the female child/children.
In different parts of the world, due to some cultural or perceived notions, some parents might prefer boys to girls and vice versa. They don’t mind having all males or females. It’s okay to have both genders, but what do you do when a particular gender doesn’t come to you?
1. Accept your child
First, accept your child as a blessing regardless of his/her gender. When conception is through a natural uninterrupted process, it is almost impossible to determine the sex of any child. Recent medical advancement can help with sex determination e.g. through IVF sex-selection process. But don’t forget that your children didn’t ask to be in the gender they came.
With natural conception, you only get to confirm the sex of the child at about 20 weeks gestation period. Some people cry or even reject the pregnancy because it is not their desired gender.
I grew up in a culture that values male children more compared to females. If a woman has all girls, she’s more likely to face discriminations from not just her immediate family, but also the society as well.
Likewise, a woman is celebrated and treated well when she has male children. My joy is that people are waking up to the reality that the determination of a child’s sex is not in the hands of any man. This understanding is fast shifting such male child dominating cultures.
Please accept your children irrespective of their gender and care for them equally. They are your blessings and thus, should be treated so.
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2. Train and support your children whether males or females
I want to encourage all parents and guardians to train their children, whether males or females. Do away with the idea of properly training the desired gender and leaving the ‘undesired’ gender to fate.
Some people would rather train and support their sons than their daughters, and vice versa. In a family setting, none is greater or better than the other. It all depends on the level of exposure and opportunity given to each child.
Plan and invest generously in all your children. Support them too in their gifting and talents. Just like the parable of the sower in the Holy Bible (Matthew 13: 1–23 and the references therein) who scattered seeds everywhere, you never can tell what each child will become. So, don’t suppress or undermine the potential of each child due to your pre-conceived ideas of gender preferences.
"Is it not funny how some couples would do anything to have a child and some others are caught in-between accepting the gender they have been blessed with?"
3. Love and appreciate your children
Love and appreciate your children genuinely irrespective of their gender. Yes, God might have blessed you with the gender you didn’t desire, but hey, it’s not about you anyway. It’s about that child and his or her purpose on Earth.
The least you can do is to love and appreciate your children for who they are – your bundles of blessings! When you see your children as blessings, your mindset on gender-tussle will fade.
It is by loving them that you raise and train them to become the best form of themselves.
4. Treat your children fairly – let equity be the order
You have to learn to treat your children fairly. Let equity be the order of the day. Give them the same opportunities and let them evolve to be themselves.
Treating your children fairly will not only be beneficial to their growth and development, they will also learn a great life lesson of treating other people and their children fairly when their time comes.
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5. Avoid infusing discrimination among your children
If there’s one thing parents need to avoid like plaque, it is infusing discrimination amongst their children. In everything you do and regardless of their gender, don’t discriminate your children.
Avoid taking sides due to your pre-conceived gender beliefs. Doing so will only breed envy, strife and jealousy amongst your children. Trust me, you don’t want to have a divided family on the basis of your actions or inactions instigated by gender bias.
"Does it really worth the worry and anxiety associated with such self-inflicted stress? I guess the answer should be ‘NO’."
6. Teach your children to be each other’s keeper
Please instil in your children to be each other’s keeper by loving and caring for them equally. Irrespective of their gender, raise them to respect and watch out for each other. Also, as parents, you need to be present, as well as be interested in their lives and affairs.
Don’t deliberately ignore or neglect a particular gender. Be involved in the growth and development of your children, and as well teach them to be there for each other.
7. Jettison any form of preferential treatments
Try as much as possible to jettison any form of preferential treatment ideas you might have. You will simply create chaos in your family by doing such.
Some cultures across the world have some degree of preferential treatments for children in the order of their arrival. For instance, in my culture, a father bequeaths a good chunk of his wealth to his first son, the remaining sons will share whatever is left, and interestingly, nothing to the daughters. The daughters are left to the fate of whatever belongs to their husbands. But this tradition in my culture has been recently changed.
In my opinion, this sort of attitude and preferential treatments should be done away with globally or changed for the greater good of the family.
In life, a lot of things are beyond our control. The sex of a child is one of those things beyond our control. Isn’t it funny how some couples would do anything to have a child and some others are caught in-between accepting the gender they have been blessed with? It doesn’t matter if one has all girls or all boys. A child is a child and a precious gift at that. Accept any gender that comes to you and count yourself blessed that you even have a child or children.
What is obtainable in your culture or what are your thoughts on this? Please share those in the comment section and let’s dazzle together.