As soon as a pregnancy is confirmed, new parents are hit with gendered messages everywhere: pink and blue onesies, gender reveal parties, and pressures from social media on “holidays” like “National Son and Daughter Day.”
Annually on August 11, our country celebrates a major holiday. But not every child identifies as a “son” or “daughter,” and not every parent identifies as a “mom” or “dad.”
It is possible that certain kids and teens are gender non-conforming. What should a family do if they don’t fit under these highly socialized gender constraints in today’s climate of intense demand to conform?
How About If They Don’t See Themselves as Sons or Daughters?
Gendered holidays can make some non-binary kids feel excluded because they don’t fit into either ‘box. Gendered holidays may cause transgender youngsters distress or make them more susceptible to the cruel jokes and remarks of their non-supportive peers and adults.
This begs the question, what measures can we take to minimize the negative effects of the holidays on our children? With that in mind, it’s important to note that National Son and Daughter Day is an excellent way for some families to celebrate, but it might not be right for all families.
Do “Holidays” Across the Country Just Exist as An Excuse To Get People Together On Social Media?
While national “days” might be wonderful, they can also throw undue stress on parents. According to a recent poll, 72% of U.S. adults are active on at least one social networking site. For some time, social media has been connected to depression, and one argument is that it makes individuals feel horrible about themselves when their own lives don’t match up to the idealized ones they see online.
Despite its potential for good, social networking has been linked to “dysphoria and body image issues.”
Social media can provide people with identity issues and a sense of belonging, but it can also raise anxiety. It is possible to avoid going through an outing because of the fear of rejection that social media might “generate anticipatory stress,” as the author puts it. The internet has the potential to heighten people’s worries about their public image.
Guidelines for Discussing the Holiday with Your Kids
Less time on social media can help parents feel more connected to their kids and give them more authentic, powerful experiences. You can engage your kids in age-appropriate conversation regarding the gender binary when they see posters about National Son and Daughter Day.
When parents join together to celebrate and support their kid’s decision, they have a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate their support by commemorating the holiday in whichever way and under whatever name their child chooses. Asking your kids what works best for them is a great way to validate their feelings of being heard and seen, and it also helps your family recognize the diversity of gender experiences that exists within its members.
What to Do in Honor of Your Kid
It’s possible that your non-binary or trans child will feel unwelcome or insecure about being acknowledged on National Son and Daughter Day. These sexist celebrations serve as a frustrating reminder of our ongoing struggle.
Your child can benefit from your help in one of three ways:
Find a holiday that everyone in your family enjoys and celebrates. The national holidays that cater to our individualism tend to be less in your face than the exclusive ones. July 14, for instance, is Non-Binary People’s Day around the world. March 31 is Trans Visibility Day across the globe.
The next step is to join a group. Finding a community, whether online or with a local LGBTQ+ organization, can make observing traditionally lonely holidays and societal traditions more bearable.
Finally, remember who you are and remind your loved ones of who they are. There are several ways to do this, from using the appropriate pronouns to researching the early members of the trans, non-binary, and/or queer groups.
Parenting a transgender or non-binary child may be difficult, especially in the age of social media and viral holidays like National Son and Daughter Day. Celebrating your family’s individuality can be easier when you and your child are aware of and prepared for the effects of social media on your household and when you create gender-specific holidays and customs.
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