Dear Parents of the children you call Theybies,
Today I read an article from NBC News that boggled my mind. It explained that you are raising your children without a gender. You’ve given your child or children gender-neutral names (no problem there!), gender-neutral toys (totally support that), and refer to your child using the pronoun “they” (here’s where I start to have a problem), and refuse to tell anyone what sex/gender/genitals your child was born with (this one just boggles my mind. Are you like, the only person who’s ever changed your kid’s diaper? It’s gotta be weirdly difficult to keep that under wraps.)
But ANYWAY. I read the article, which refers to your children as Theybies, and to be honest, I really appreciate your efforts to do what you think is best for your children. Some parents don’t care enough, and you truly love your kiddos. There are many parenting decisions that I think are “different strokes for different folks”—some things are best for your family, but not best for mine. Not every parenting “style” or decision is universally good.
I cannot get on board with the Theybies style of parenting.
I do think it’s right and good for every child to know what gender they are born with. I have a couple of reasons for feeling this way.
Firstly, I believe that God created each one of us specifically, and that, as the Bible says, all children are fearfully and wonderfully made just as they are supposed to be. Gender is a key part of who God made us to be. Holding that back or covering it up where your child is concerned is going against the plans of God.
God made females different from males, not just our genitalia and other physical differences, but our brains, and they way we think and act. These differences aren’t bad, they are beautiful! There is no reason to try and make both genders the same, or non-existent, when both physically, emotionally, and mentally, we were made to complement each other. Suppressing these differences in your Theybies is certainly not going to help them as they grow up.
Secondly, I believe that because child sexual abuse is so prevalent today, that parents need to teach their children about the genitalia at an early age. Your children do need to know the names and functions of their private parts in order to know what another person may or may not due to them. Now, perhaps you have come up with a way of communicating this to your children while still keeping their genderless-ness intact, but it’s hard for me to imagine this not being very confusing to your kids, and possibly having serious safety repercussions.
Finally, I fear for the psychological repercussions this will have on your sweet children. Since raising a child this way is uncommon, there aren’t a lot of case studies to draw from. I think that boys can play with dolls and girls can play with trucks and that all kids can grow up to be whatever they want—but that no one can deny their gender. Even transgender kids feel a strong gender identity—I don’t understand why one would encourage a child to delay developing a gender identity, when it’s so important to feeling confident in one’s skin.
Moms and dads of Theybies, I know you love your kids, but I pray you will turn from this experiment soon. Not because it’s unconventional, but because it’s harmful. Let your kids be who they were BORN to be, who they were created to be…let them be children, not enlightened beings who are bucking social norms. The heavy burden of changing gender norms shouldn’t be placed on their little shoulders.
A Fellow Mom