Sarath’s teacher sent home a reading sheet. The kids have to read aloud everyday for 15 min and the write the name of the book in that sheet. They turn it in to the teacher at the end of every month and if they have done a minimum of 15 days, they get a pizza hut coupon. Now, Sarath loves to read books but is not used to reading it aloud. We have been making him read aloud and it has been going really good for the past 4 months. He also earned a pizza hut coupon every month so far.
Few weeks back, I sat down with him for the reading and I gave him a book we got from the library. The book’s name is ‘Brave’. It had a princess on the cover. Sarath immediately refused to read the book. When I asked him what was wrong, he said “it’s a girl’s book. I don’t want to read a girl’s book.”
Me: Anybody can read any book. There are no girl’s and boy’s books.
Sarath: This one has a princess on it. Boys don’t read books about princesses.
It took me a good 15 min to convince this kid that he can read that book. In that process he told me the real reason he did not want to read the book. He thought the book is a scary book based on the picture on the cover. The thing that surprised me was that he did not want to tell me that he is scared to read that book until I prodded into it. The first response is that it’s a girl’s book.
Seriously where do they get these ideas? Is this influence of school? I am sure school plays a big role in this. But, he is only 6 years old! I knew we had to deal with these types of thoughts but, I thought we had time for that. Last week when we were in LA, my SIL’s son (almost 8 yrs) told me that cooking is a girl’s thing. He apparently heard it from some other kid. His mom and dad work and there are a lot of days when his mom is either working late or working from home and his dad takes care of him and his sister. Even after seeing his dad cook, he thinks cooking is a girl’s thing.
I always encourage both my boys to play whatever game they like to play. We never differentiate between toys. But, where ever we go, we are forced to see the differences. Even simple things like small toys are made into pink and blue. Is that really needed? These things really bother me and the worst part is we parents cannot do much about it. The kids pick up on this early on and their thoughts are fueled by their friends.
I am trying to stay a step ahead of Sarath by learning how to talk about these kind of things. Anyone going through the similar things? Any ideas on how to talk about these issues?