Olivia Wilde and her partner, Jason Sudeikis, are probably a bit more well-known for their professions as actors and less for their roles as parents. But to their two young kids, 4-year-old son Otis and 1-year-old Daisy, they're just "mom" and "dad." However, people might want to start paying attention to how they parent, because they've really got a handle on it. In a new interview with People, Wilde explained how she wants her kids to grow up without gender stereotypes and you have to hear what she says about it.
When it comes to her children, gender roles and stereotypes don't matter for Wilde — and she's trying to keep it that way. In a new interview with People, Wilde told the magazine that she loves that her son has "no judgement" about gender at his age, and she hopes it will stick with him, even if she knows it is bound to change.
Case in point — Wilde revealed to People that Otis loves singing songs from the Disney-Pixar animated film, Moana, a film about an adventurous teenager who goes on a mission across the ocean to save her people. Wilde told the magazine that Otis loves singing the songs from the film and she loves that he uses imagination while singing. "Otis loves Moana, obviously, and when he thinks about Moana, he thinks of himself as Moana," Wilde said. "I love hearing him sing...it's the best when you can watch them singing in the backseat of your car and he's just like, 'I wish I could be the perfect daughter!' And he's just belting it out."
But Wilde believes that this will not last for too long. Wilde told People:
That's so great because at a certain age he's going to be like, "Well I can't, that's..." you know, and he still doesn't judge things like pink, or dance, or gymnastics. These aren't things that are gender specific yet.
When kids are small, they tend to not think about their self perception, especially when it comes to their own gender. They will dance in the middle of the grocery store because they like the song playing over the speakers, sing "Let It Go" from Frozen because it's their favorite song, or wear a pink shirt just because it's their favorite shirt. Studies have found that children don't have a concept of their own gender until the age of 5, according to The Conversation, and it "develops gradually" between the ages of 3 and 5. Research has found that children first recognize gender differences starting with adults before believing in the "rigidity of stereotypes" at ages 5 and 6. A study conducted by Common Sense Media found that gender stereotypes presented in the media kids consume can have an impact on them from as early as the age of 2.
So Wilde's fears about wanting to keep her son away from this as long as possible are completely warranted. Wilde elaborated, telling People, "I don't know why at a certain point we tell them that's for boys and that's for girls but I'm going to do my best to not force that delineation."
While I personally believe that Wilde's decision to do this is admirable, some people might disagree. And if they were to get angry at Wilde because of it, it wouldn't be the first time that she was mom-shamed. In the past, Wilde has been shamed for posting an Instagram photo of her kissing her son on the lips, according to Good Housekeeping, and posting a photo of her son sitting in his carseat "incorrectly," according to PopSugar.
But there would be no reason to shame her for her words on gender stereotypes, especially since Wilde certainly is not the first celebrity parent to reject gender stereotypes in her house. Parents like Adele, Angelina Jolie, and Russel Brand, according to Parents, have all expressed their willingness to listen to their children and have them make decisions for themselves, not because of their assigned genders. Wilde is just joining the ranks of these super cool parents who want their kids to love the things they love, regardless of whether it's a "boy" thing or a "girl" thing.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.