Here’s the difference between your kid's sex and gender and why it matters

So if you don't understand all this ‘political correctness’ and prefer the good old days when 'men were men,’ you're on the wrong side of history

The conversation surrounding gender and gender dynamics has never been this palpable than in perhaps the last ten years, and that’s a good thing.

As new studies shine its light in these previously enigmatic concepts, we gain a deeper understanding they function not only on the principal level, but tangentially as well.

And yet despite all these, many still balk at the idea of discussing these previously undisputed concepts: in their collective minds sex and gender is one and the same. But having a penis or a vagina does not make one either a “man” or a “woman.”

Difference between sex and gender

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“[Gender identity] is unique, subjective, and you can identify as both or neither,” said family therapist Jean Malpas, a member of the Ackerman Institute for the Family and director of their Gender And Family Project, in a Fatherly article.

“Some of us are cisgender, some are transgender, and there's a difference between how we feel and the way we're born.”

One might find these claims preposterous, or even just simply wrong, but the thing about gender is that it’s a personal thing; what your gender dictates doesn’t necessarily resonate with mine, or someone else’s.

Why should you care, you say?

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Well, not only does it encourage the equality and acceptance, but as parents, a deeper understanding of gender dynamics may save a life.

“Family acceptance decreases the risk of suicide 8.3 times in teens,” Jean said.

“Kids who are not accepted have a much higher risk of killing themselves. Children who are celebrated for who they are will build a strong confidence and they'll be better equipped to handle a harsh world.”

Parents’ role in their children’s sexual identity

Children develop their gender identity as early as two, and the realization of their genders peak between ages three and seven.

“So if you don't understand all this ‘political correctness’ and prefer the good old days when 'men were men,’ you're on the wrong side of history,” said Fatherly’s Jonathan Stern.

Parents can either make or break their children’s identity for good by how they decide to approach this topic.

“You can have an impact on their comfort with expression, or make it hard for them to tell you who they are,” he also said. “But you can't change their inner self. Let them lead the way and choose the safest roads for that to be affirmed. Guide the kids toward a self-development path.”

Children begin to feel anxious when they start to notice that their genitals don’t match their gender.

It’s the parents’ job then to explain these complex dynamics and tell their children that there’s nothing wrong with them, and that what they’re feeling is fine.

Here’s another responsibility parents have to carry: making the future world a better place for their children to live in, and that can only happen once the world jettisons its outdated concepts and misguided beliefs and begin to embrace the ever-evolving world.

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