Parent Goal 5: Gender Stereotypes

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1 Parent Goal 5: Gender Stereotypes I. Eye-Catcher Give participants a blank sheet of lined paper. Ask them to write the names of the people they are about to see (or hear names of) on the left side of the paper. Ask them to leave a few lines (3-4) between each name as they list them down their papers. Call out the names and show the pictures of well-known, successful men and women who DO fit the stereotype of masculinity and femininity. Be sure not to tell participants that the individuals they are seeing fit the stereotypes (a collection of these well known peoples pictures are in a separate file gender stereotyped people on the STAYCONNECTED curriculum CD). After the participants have written down each of the names, ask them to write a brief description of each person they are familiar with that expresses why this person is successful. Have people share their descriptions. Next, have people start a new sheet. Again, ask them to write down the names of the people who you show them the picture of or say the name of (if no picture is available). This time you focus on the list of well-known men and women who DO NOT fit the stereotype of masculinity and femininity stereotypes (a collection of these well known peoples pictures are in a separate file nongender stereotyped people on the STAYCONNECTED curriculum CD). After the participants have written down each of the names, ask them to write a brief description of each person they are familiar with that expresses why this person is successful. Have people share their descriptions. Ask the group: How are the people on these two lists different from each other? How are the people on these two lists similar to each other? Use this exercise to discuss the qualities of successful individuals they may or may not fit the stereotypes for men and women. What do they all have in common? II. Mini Lecture/Discussion (Powerpoint slides can be found on the CD; see speaker notes in the slide show for additional information) III. In-session Activities: A. What is Valuable.? This activity helps participants focus on valuable characteristics of individuals regardless of gender. (see Appendix 5A) B. Many Pathways to Success Parents focus on the many positive qualities of people they know, including themselves and their teens, and discuss how these qualities that may or may not fit gender stereotypes are part of these individuals being successful in life (see Appendix 5B). IV. Wrap-up: Review the main points of the session; check for understanding and questions 1

2 (it can be useful to have the group generate the main points and for the facilitator to write them down on a flip chart or overhead). The main points covered include: Gender stereotypes are learned from family and culture and can be harmful because they limit a teen s potential and may place inappropriate expectations on teen s behavior and choices. There are a number of ways that parents can reduce the negative influences of gender stereotypes: challenging the stereotypes and helping teens to feel okay when they don t fit them, encouraging teens to explore who they are in spite of the stereotypes that exist, and praising teens when they engage in behaviors and make choices that are good form them, whether or not they fit the stereotypes. V. Handouts: StayConnected Tip Card (see Appendix 5C). VI. Out of session Activities: Spend at least one hour doing something with your teen of his/her choosing. While doing this activity, talk with your teen about his or her special qualities that you think help to make him or her a successful person. Offer your teen both verbal (I think you have a wonderful skill), and nonverbal (pat on back, hug) praise. VII. Evaluation (see Appendix 5D) 2

3 Appendix 5A What is Valuable? The main goal of this activity is to help participants focus on valuable characteristics of individuals regardless of gender. Materials needed are paper and pencils. Have participants break out into small groups of 3-6 people. Ask each group to respond to the following questions. Please list for each item all of the ways you think this quality or interest is valuable for the boy or girl. WHAT IS VALUABLE ABOUT: 1. A GIRL WHO CAN STAND UP FOR HERSELF? 2. A BOY WHO IS NURTURING TOWARD LITTLE CHILDREN? 3. A GIRL WHO IS A STAR ATHLETE? 4. A BOY WHO SEWS AND KNITS? 5. A GIRL WHO CAN WORK ON A CAR ENGINE? 6. A BOY WHO CRIES WHEN HE IS SAD? 7. A GIRL WHO IS NOT AFRAID TO ARGUE WITH ADULTS? 8. A BOY WHO IS INTERESTED IN BALLET? *FEEL FREE TO GENERATE ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS After the groups have had time to respond to the questions, ask each group to share their ideas. Talk about why it is so important to support their children s interests and personality styles, especially when they go against what we typically expect for males and females. Helping their teens feel positively about themselves, regardless of whether they fit the norms, will help their teens grow up into strong, confident, and competent adults. They also are more likely to be happy as adults if they are free to be who they really are. 3

4 Appendix 5B Many Pathways to Success The overall point of this activity is to raise awareness of the knowledge participants already have of the diversity among the boys/men and girls/women they know. This process helps to illustrate that many successful men and women in our lives have qualities that don t always fit what we think is appropriate for their gender. Materials needed are paper and pencils. Have participants get into groups of 3-6 people. Ask members to discuss people they know and respect (including themselves and their immediate family members) who have unique qualities that have not always been appreciated by others, but are part of this person being successful. Ask participants to talk about how these unique qualities are quite valuable and have been part of this person s ability to succeed in life. Have someone in the group make a list of the qualities being mentioned. Give groups minutes to discuss these unique people. Ask the group to use the qualities they have listed to create a fictitious hero. They are to write a story about a town in trouble and how this hero, because of his or her unusual qualities is able to save the town. They are free to be as creative as they like in writing their story. When the groups have finished, have them read their stories to the large group. After all stories are read, ask participants what they think are their own teens most unusual qualities, and how they nurture (or plan to nurture) these qualities in their teens. How will these qualities help your teen become a successful person? 4

5 Appendix 5C StayConnected Tip card for goal 5 (Duplicate as many as needed on card stock paper) Gender Stereotypes Breaking the Barriers of Gender Stereotypes: How Parents Can Help Talk: Teens want to learn about themselves and they need to hear your views. They also need to experience you listening to their views. Encourage: help them to learn to express emotions and/or frustrations Don t lower your Expectations: Don t assume that your teen can t behave a certain way or make a particular choice just because she is female or he is male. Gender Stereotypes Breaking the Barriers of Gender Stereotypes: How Parents Can Help Talk: Teens want to learn about themselves and they need to hear your views. They also need to experience you listening to their views. Encourage: help them to learn to express emotions and/or frustrations Don t lower your Expectations: Don t assume that your teen can t behave a certain way or make a particular choice just because she is female or he is male. Gender Stereotypes Breaking the Barriers of Gender Stereotypes: How Parents Can Help Talk: Teens want to learn about themselves and they need to hear your views. They also need to experience you listening to their views. Encourage: help them to learn to express emotions and/or frustrations Don t lower your Expectations: Don t assume that your teen can t behave a certain way or make a particular choice just because she is female or he is male. 5

6 Appendix 5D Parent Goal 5: Gender Stereotypes County Name of Facilitator Marital status: single(never married) married(first marriage) divorced remarried widowed Parental Status: mother father grandmother grandfather other (please write in) Race/Ethnicity: Black/African American White/Caucasian Hispanic/Latino Native American Asian American Other(please write in) How many sons/grandsons do you have What are their ages: How many daughters/granddaughters do you have What are their ages: Please circle the number that indicates how much you enjoyed the activities. Not A little Some A lot at All 1. What is Valuable Activity Many Pathways to Success activity Please circle the number that indicates what you knew before and after participating in this session. Before the Session After the Session Not A little Some A lot Not A little Some A lot At All At All I know how to recognize gender stereotypes I can recognize the gender stereotypes that I hold or have held in the past. I understand why gender stereotypes should not be used to determine what I think is best for my teen. I can recognize ways that my teen does and does not fit the gender stereotypes I know what to do to help reduce the influence of gender stereotyping on my teen. 6

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