5.27.2011

A Storm is Brewing - Feedback Friday



Have you heard about "Storm"? It's a baby...I say "it" because "it's" parents have decided to raise "it" genderless. No one knows what "it" is except "it's" brothers, the midwives who delivered "it", and "it's" parents...and none of them is allowed to divulge the secret until Storm decides it's time.

Storm's parents have decided to raise their 3rd child genderless, not sharing the sex with others, as "a tribute to freedom and choice", believing they are giving Storm and their other children the "freedom to choose who they want to be". They believe the many choices parents make for their children are "obnoxious".

Both of the family's older two boys prefer long hair in braids or curls, love pink and purple, wear sparkly studs in their ears, and fingernail polish and are often presumed to be girls. The children prefer not to go to school because of the discussions their appearances spark. So, the kids are "unschooled" at home - a version of child-driven homeschooling with no books or tests driven by the child's curiosity and questions.

After reading the book X - a fabulous child's story, a book about raising not a boy or a girl but an "X", Storm's parents decided to try it out on their next child.



It's Feedback Friday...

What do you think of the notion of genderless child rearing?

Do you think that telling the world the sex of a child shapes who it is in a negative way?

Do you think a child can grow up this way with a more firm sense of self?

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27 comments :

  1. First of all the entire "unschooling" is just plain stupid and I have seen no evidence whatsoever that it will lead to developing a productive member of society. I figure my job as a parent is to sometimes force my kids to do things they don't want to do. It seems to me these parents are using their children to prove a point-and I don't see how that's going to turn out well.

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  2. Hey Jenn,
    I find it interesting that these parents are using a literary work of FICTION as a base for their child rearing style.

    So they think using their unsuspecting child in a social experiment is the way to go?

    Good luck with that.

    I read the whole article about this family...not sure what else to say about them. Time will tell.

    Janet xox

    ps.....how long do they think they can keep the gender a secret? Sooner or later someone will be witness to a diaper change!

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  3. Sounds to me like there are a whole lot of other issues than just raising their child "genderless".

    We raised our boys as...boys. As toddlers it's not like they had any clue that they were boys, and these were girls. They played with everyone..I wonder how this little one will know when it's time to let everyone in on the secret if they never tell X that there's something to tell?

    As far as unschooling goes, there's more behind it than just saying "Ok kid, go pull some knowledge out of the universe". Does anyone send their kid to a Montessori charter school? There ya go, you're kind of unschooling too..now we all can be friends ;)

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  4. Double dipping today-sorry.

    I think it comes down to a question of balance. I don't freak out when my boys played with Barbies or their sister dressed them up and put on make-up. I wouldn't have freaked out if my daughter was a tom-boy. I think making "gender" a big secret will make it be a huge issue in a kid's life. As far as the "unschooling", I think it's great to let kids explore subjects that interest them as long as a parent you balance what they WANT to learn with what they NEED to learn.

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  5. sounds to me that these parents were looking for some publicity. unfortunately, putting a child in the middle of it. it's their way for a reality show, only more sad, ah, and stupid. they might as well go live in a jungle.

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  7. "Unschooling" sounds a lot like what Jean Jacques Rousseau poses in Emile. It is an old and tried idea. Successful? Debatable.

    I am not sure about choice. I think that people today believe they can control everything, and somethings just are. I also believe that too much "freedom"places responsibility on those who have no frame of reference or experience. Additionally, as a Christian, I must protest. Reality is reality. We are what we are. Period. Everything beyond that is a choice, as evidenced by the parents stating that "it" will choose a gender. This raises many thoughts regarding gender studies and issues and choice verses nature.

    Hmmm . . . for the sake of subtleties and public politeness I will stop there.

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  8. Okay, I just couldn't stop, maybe I will not be polite, this parents are in for a HEAP of trouble. Resentment city. They are so self serving.

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  9. I think it'll just be more confusing on the child. If you don't grow up knowing who you are, how can you decide what you want to be.

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  10. So because everyone knows my first child is a boy and I decorated his room in blue and bought him cars to play with means that I am not allowing him the "freedom to choose who he wants to be"? This whole thing makes me angry...

    I let my child play with whoever and whatever he wants. When he let a little girl paint his nails, I didn't freak out...who cares...I may even buy him a doll before his baby BROTHER is born...

    guess I'm just another parent who allows her child no freedom of choice...oh...and that preschool I put him in...shame on me.

    I feel sad for this little kid...he/she either has a penis or a vagina...that's a fact...doesn't mean he/she can't make up his/her mind on who it wants to be....

    Parents and their need for public attention....blech!

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  11. I feel sorry for those poor kids.....

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  13. I think that parents have the right to raise their children however they want. If they think this is what is best for their child, then more power to them. However, a child should not be treated as a cool experiment or a way to make a statement to the world. My other concern is that one day these kids are going to have to enter the real world and the parents need to be sure they are preparing their kids to handle that. You can't shelter your kids forever.

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  14. There are no words to describe how stupid this is. That kid is going to be in therapy (or need it) its whole life. Its relationships are going to be difficult and the trickle down effect of what these parents are trying to do is going to be a disaster for all of those children.
    GAH.

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  15. The sad part of this, is that this is an "experiment" that these parents are conducting. Storm is the one that will pay the price for what his/her parents (I use the word parents lightly here) are doing. Sad....very sad.

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  16. Sounds as if they wanted girls and all they got were boys.

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  17. We are fairly open minded parents. Which explains why my sons are toenails are painted pink and my daughter is outside helping her dad with the boat. We don't divide things into "girl" stuff and "boy" stuff. To all it is all just "kid" stuff.

    But put all of that aside. I think these parents are doing this child a huge disservice. Your gender is a huge part of who you are as a person regardless of what types of activities you enjoy. I can't imagine the confusion this baby will have has (s)he grows up. I don't think children should be limited by their gender, but I do think it should be acknowledged that they have one. By trying not to push society's "issues" on this child they are pushing their own.

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  18. And one more thing. I think treating your child like an experiment is kind of reprehensible.

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  19. Jen,
    I"ve not really read the articles, but seen the headlines. I think it's pure craziness.

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  20. And therefore that is why we have a screwed up world.

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  21. I heard a radio conversation about this the other day and couldn't believe it! Honestly, babies don't understand their gender at that early of an age anyway! Like many of the other commenters, I think these parents are definitely causing more harm than good. And not just regarding Storm's gender, but the complete lack of parenting and basically letting their children rule the roost. Life is about having to sometimes do things you don't like/want to do and finding a way to get through it. To tell your parents, when you are 5, that you don't want to go to school, partially because of the way people react to you ("That’s mostly why he doesn’t want to go to school. When asked if it upsets him, he nods, but doesn’t say more.") and they say ok, we'll just "unschool" you then. HUH?!
    Ugh... this feels wrong on so many different levels!

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  22. Nuts. Storm, however, is a cutie pie.

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  23. Gender is part of who you are, it does not define you as a person, yet it does have an affect of who you are and become. To ignore a person's gender is also a form of ignoring who you are, something I would not want to teach my kids to do.

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  24. There raising this child to "choose" it's sex is another way of proving the point that homosexuality is a choice.
    I feel they are confusing this child even more with this "unknown" attitude of what "it" is and are leading this child into some major issues when "it" reaches puberty and teen years.
    Also - "unschool" = where are the truancy officers? I'm reading this as though they don't school their children at all, so how are they helping them?
    Ugh - this just makes me crazy.

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  25. I'm sorry but these people are idiots. So if their child decides to sample vodka or play in the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge that would be ok too. This is much more a message about the parents then the kids.It's sad they are sacrificing their children to do it.

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  26. Even more than just having a penis or vagina. Male and female brains are physiologically different. For starters as soon as DNA kicks on that a baby is a boy the brain is prety much marinated in testostorone until they are born. There are certian parts of the brain that are differnt sizes depending on the gender. And the hormone levels are completely differnt.
    No matter what gender name you choose to go by you cant change who you are on the most basic molecular level.
    As for unschooling I have a friend who was taught kinda like this until he went to public high school. Many years later he still lives with his mom and cant hold down a job.

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  27. I like what the last person "Anonymous" said--and agree with others on many points.

    I don't think traditional societal roles are necessarily evil, but I don't feel tied to them either.

    Who you are genetically (male or female) is part of who you are--but it doesn't have to define you as a person. I know of amazing musicians, artists, engineers, scientists, and journalists of both genders. Everyone has a role to play in this life, and trying to deny who you are, or who your children are is a vain exercise.

    For decades there have been individuals trying to 'find' themselves--I propose that they have known all along who they are--but for personal reasons, do not want to accept that responsibility.

    As for Storm--I feel sorry for this child, I truly do. Storm's parents are misguided to say the least.

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