Language is important, and one could argue that it’s never more important than when you're raising children. When and how you choose to speak to your kids, what words and phrases you use, the tone of your voice: all of these decisions can have lasting effects. They’re learning about the world through you, and that’s why it’s important to speak carefully and mindfully around your children. As such, there are many things you shouldn’t say to your sons around your daughters, and vice versa.
As my son begins to speak more and more, I know he’s absorbing more and more messages about the world. While I do my best to try and raise him in a more gender neutral environment, I can tell he’s already beginning to see gender. While I try and explain to him that we should all treat each other equally and with kindness, I’m sure there will come a time when someone tries to tell him otherwise.
As a feminist mom, I want to make sure that I raise a feminist son — one who champions the causes of those who have less privilege than him, who isn’t afraid to speak up and speak out, and who recognizes how important it is to treat everyone with respect. I know that I must make sure to never say the following phrases and statements to him, especially when in the presence of other impressionable children and girls.