I had mentioned in my first blog post that my daughter was pulled out of school when she was being bullied. It’s important to note that I had asked her permission to write about that because again, autonomy (I’m not messing around). What had happened was that kids would pick on her for the crazy colors of hair she chose or the hobbies they deemed too strange for a girl, even the staff would join in on the ridicule. After spending the time she was homeschooled reassuring her that she’s a boss, I was still scared when she started her new school. Weeks passed and I got a call from the counselor’s office. The guidance counselor told me there was a physical altercation. Boys had stolen a ball from her and she had spoken up and was hit by one of them in the stomach. She told me that Naomi yelled for her friend to get an adult while she stood there facing them down. The counselor had asked Naomi why she had done that and she replied, “This happened before and I’m not letting them get away with it. I am not a princess that needs to be saved.” Listen, I don’t get every thing right as a parent, but you better believe that moment went down in the books for me. She knows who she is and may God have mercy on your soul if you try to take that from her.
This feels like a good time to bring up that HOLY BANANAS, literally everything surrounding a child is telling them how they should be. From the moment their parents open a cute, wrapped box and pink or blue balloons pop out and even continuing throughout adulthood, they are told to be soft and magical or tough and smart. My kids and I are super into fashion (who would’ve guessed, right?) and you better believe we noticed what the mainstream retailers tell children. They’ve even gendered animals, y’all. Just try to find a kitten on a shirt in the boys’ section, I’ll wait. We get asked constantly when we will start offering “boys’ clothes” which makes my eye twitch every time. I understand the question and I try to reach into my empathy bag to realize, okay, there are people who still see clothes as one way or another and want a traditionally masculine thing for their child. It still bugs me though. Especially as a mama with a son that is just as comfortable in basketball shorts as a sundress, I wonder what people like that will say to him and if they will try to force his beautiful gelatinous self into a jello mold that doesn’t fit him.
If I were to conclude this behemoth of a topic, it would be with this: let your kids be whoever the eff they are unless they are assholes. Practice your own autonomy since kids really do learn from example, respect their autonomy, and in turn, they will respect others’. The world is kind of a dumpster fire right now, but I have faith in this generation of caretakers and the generation we are raising. Empower your children and watch amazing things happen!
Kirsten Bosio runs Tiny Bangs, a colorful kidswear brand with her two small daughters, Naomi and Anni in Los Angeles. Her goal was to make a creative and conscious alternative to major retailers while being open and honest about parenting and the artist lifestyle.