Which clichéd interview question do you loathe?

Princess boys - don't take the dolls away from your boys

My son comes home crying because someone has told him that with his calm demeanor, his caution and his fearfulness he is "a girl" - how do I react correctly to help him build up?

Nils Pickert: First of all, it is very important that I hold him in my arms and comfort him. Until he is comforted. And don't just “slap on” and say “you'll do it”. If a child needs consolation, no matter if boy or girl, I will console them. This is the first. The second thing is to talk to him about it. So that he knows perfectly well that girls are not bad. Make it clear to him what a ridiculous abuse it is. He has a mom, maybe a sister, he has girlfriends and aunts - what's wrong with them? That is, the abuse is wrong. It is important to understand that labeling boys as "girls" means devaluing girls. Depending on the age, I would talk to the boys about it. Why is this used as an abuse? Here you can work on role models and show that this is not the case. Weakness has no gender. There are female boxers who would blow any man, and that's just one example. Seeking consolation, being “soft” and in need of protection, none of this has any gender.

 

The child is constantly annoyed by other boys in school or kindergarten, but the educators and teachers are of the opinion that the boy "has to fight back".

Nils Pickert: Firstly, it is important to know that schools and daycare centers have a state-specific mandate. Many parents don't know that. These institutions must react better in such a case. There are correct pleadings, brochures and even legal requirements. At this point, the educators and teachers would have failed. And secondly, it is not the job of anyone to defend themselves against violence. It is up to the perpetrators not to use violence. That means we are not practicing victim blaming here. It is primarily the task of educators to convey this. And if they don't manage to do that, then you can look for a conflict with them, because that's not possible.

 

Grandma comes to visit and the first thing she does is take the dolls away from her grandchildren, "because boys don't play with them".

Nils Pickert: Grandmas and grandpas are an example that comes up very often. As a generation below, you often ask yourself whether you really still have to talk to a 70- or 80-year-old about such things and teach them. At this point, parents should clearly become their child's advocate, as they cannot yet do that themselves. An eight-year-old boy cannot defend himself against it. He loves his grandparents and then listens to such statements if necessary. But no, grandma and grandpa do not have the right to take away a boy’s doll. Try to talk to them. And if they don't want to understand that, then the grandparents have a problem and not the child. Because there is absolutely nothing wrong with playing with dolls. Playing with dolls gives children a feeling for social skills, it makes them better at communication and at resolving conflicts. Ask stubborn grandparents what is wrong with that. As adults, they become exactly the people we want to spend time with, whom we trust, who we make friends with, who we want as colleagues. And my boy shouldn't learn that? There is nothing wrong with that. But everything is wrong with forbidding a boy to do so, and grandma is not allowed to do that either.

 

The son wants to wear nail polish to daycare, one parent (father or mother) is against it.

Nils Pickert: I would then first ask the counter-question, "Why shouldn't he wear nail polish?" If the boy gets pissed off for it, that can't be the problem, that's just paint on fingers after all - so what's the problem? Once again, there are prejudices taking place. If this kind of thinking also takes place among the educators, there is help from an association like pinkstinks, for which I also work. There are brochures for parents and daycare staff. Incidentally, we also come to the facilities and advise on site. That means that you could educate people and at the same time question your own gender images and check why it is uncomfortable for me as an adult when my boy wears nail polish. It is like that, in most cases we pretend that we as a society are unbelievably enlightened, but in the end it usually comes down to: "Afterwards he'll be gay."

And then it gets down to business, also for the parents: Because a) it is really not bad or reprehensible to be gay. b) If you don't become or aren't gay because you paint your nails, that's just paint on your fingers. c) Do you have to talk to parents about the fact that they love their son because he is who he is. And this can also include painted fingernails.