Gender Spectrum is pleased to partner with the National PTA to provide resources for parents who are interested in learning more about gender, children and youth.
Gender norms and stereotypes limit all children and teens, no matter what their gender is, impacting how they feel about themselves, the kinds of opportunities they believe are open to them, and how they are treated by their peers. For example, did you know that girls as young as 6 start to believe that specific activities are “not for them” simply because they think they’re not as smart as boys? And bullying is strongly associated with gender stereotypes, particularly when it comes to the targeting of boys who are perceived as “too feminine.”
While gender stereotypes persist, understandings of gender are evolving rapidly and it can be hard to keep up. Young people are driving many of these changes. Over one-third of 13-21 year olds know someone who uses gender neutral pronouns according to a recent Pew Research Poll. Nearly 60% said that forms should include options besides “man” or “woman.”
These shifting understandings of gender affects all of us – adults and young people alike. Whether or not these topics are new to you, the resources below will help you further reflect upon your own gender, your children’s gender, and the social and historical contexts in which we understand gender.
Resources for Parents and Caregivers
For a foundational understanding of gender and evolving vocabulary, including information about how and when children generally understand their own gender:
The start of a new school year can be a great time to talk with your children about gender. Watch our video “Back to School Tips for Parents” for some ideas on how to start this conversation.
- All parents want to raise healthy kids and having a healthy relationship around gender is part of that! Read “Six Things Parents Can Do to Create a Healthy Parent/Child Relationship Around Gender”, an article by Gender Spectrum written for a CDC partnership with the National Association of County and City Health Officials.
- Ever wonder how to talk with young children about gender in an appropriate way? Read “Talking with Young Children About Gender.”
- Explore resources to make your school more gender inclusive. (In gender inclusive schools, students are included in all aspects of the school environment without limitations based on their gender.) Our Framework for Gender Inclusive Schools can help you think about strategies to implement in your school.
- If you have questions about ways to support transgender and nonbinary students these two resources will be helpful: our reports "Schools in Transition" and "Bathroom FAQs."
Is your child exploring their gender? Gender Spectrum offers free Online Groups for parents, caregivers and other adult family members, the Gender Spectrum Lounge, our online community where parents and families can connect and find advice and support, and our searchable National Directory of online and in-person support groups for parents with gender-expansive children.
These are just a few of our resources for parents. Check out the rest of our website to find many more resources for parents, youth and educators!