Big box stores like Target and Walmart avoid naming certain aisles of toys for “girls” or “boys.” However, a quick glance at the shelves of pink toys, baby dolls, and fashion accessories makes it clear these toys are grouped together for a reason.

It's the same with the rows of monster trucks and action figures. When you look beyond the toy department, clothing and shoes also seem divided by gender: glitter, butterflies, and rainbows for girls; trucks, dinosaurs, and action figure logos for boys.



Christina Hise-Johnson and her husband Josh from Indiana are doing something different: gender-neutral parenting. They think it's okay when a boy might want to wear sparkly shoes or play with dolls.

They also think it's okay when girls don't want to do activities that are more "girly." They're raising their three children to explore the activities that they want to do and wear the clothes that they want, whether or not it’s traditionally “for boys” or “for girls.”



For example, their oldest daughter Ashley is into wearing more masculine clothes right now. Their son Jacob used to wear long hair and do "girly| activities, even though he might be doing more typical "boy" stuff right now.

And then there's their youngest son, Chandler, who is five. Chandler is free to enjoy what he wants to because of his mom and dad's gender neutral parenting. For example, he really wanted pink shoes when he was a baby.



Chandler's parents have gotten a lot of critical looks and comments when they're out in public for the way Chandler dresses and the toys he likes.

"I have had people tell me how beautiful our little girl is and when they find out he’s a boy they shake their heads and walk away," Christina told the Daily Mail.

Some people will even ask Christina if she is worried her son might grow up to be gay. This is bewildering to her, especially since Chandler is only five. Christina explains that the way they try to parent is to not limit their child's interests by what the media says about "girl" activities and "boy" activities.







Do you: Their youngest son, five-year-old Chandler, likes to wear some clothes that are traditionally seen as 'girly' things



Whatever suits: Ashley used to be a girly girl, but more recently has started wearing more 'masculine' clothes


Personal preferences: Christina said she doesn't want to tell her kids what they are allowed to like and not like


Besties: Christina also said he has plenty of friends who are mostly girls, and kids generally don't give him a hard time about what he likes (second from right)



Not nice: However, she added, adults can sometimes make rude comments or ask critical questions


Mom said: 'We want our children to always be allowed to be who they are and not who society or anyone else says they should be'


Supportive: 'We want our kids to always be able to be firm in who they are and know that they come from a secure and strong foundation,' she said


Positive influence: 'By getting our story out there maybe other families that are going through the struggles and victories that we go through will know they aren’t alone,' Christina said


What do you think about this parenting style? What do you think about girls that might want to wear tomboy clothes or boys that want to play with dolls? Let us know in the comments and pass this along to your friends and family to see what they think!

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