Gender-Neutral Parenting is Trending: Here’s What to Know


The Everymom’s product selections are curated by the editorial team. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We only recommend products we genuinely love.

gender neutral parenting"
gender neutral parenting
Source: Canva
Source: Canva

We know societal gender stereotyping starts young, even in utero. Who hasn’t seen a gender reveal where pink means “it’s a girl” and blue means “it’s a boy”? But some parents are interested in pushing back against those gender stereotypes. Gender-neutral, or gender-inclusive parenting, is based on the idea of not holding kids to a strict boy/girl binary and instead playing against the gender stereotypes our kids see represented in media, their classroom, and at stores.

Gender-neutral parenting aims to avoid gender norms to give kids the freedom to decide their likes and identities on their own. Here, with the help of an expert, we’ll dive into what to know about gender-neutral parenting and how to support your child as they explore their own identity.


Crystal Britt, MSW and LCSW

Crystal Britt is a California-based licensed clinical social worker, therapist, speaker, educator, and mom. She also co-hosts the podcast Time to Lean.

What is gender-neutral or gender-inclusive parenting?

While gender-neutral and gender-inclusive parenting philosophies are similar, there are some important differences to note, says Crystal Britt, a California-based MSW and LCSW.

“[Gender neutral] designates a kind of disengagement or non-position on gender—gender-neutral parenting may look like dressing a child in neither blue nor pink and instead opting for ‘neutral’ colors like greens, browns, blacks, or yellows. Same for toys—they may pick toys that are not specifically marketed to a boy child or girl child to maintain neutrality.”

But gender inclusive, also called gender creative, is a bit different, she explains. 

“[Gender inclusion] denotes a pursuit of interests, bringing in items that may be marketed to girls or boys or neither and allowing a child to interact with them,” she says. “The idea behind gender-inclusive parenting is to not force a narrative on your kid, to allow them to be who they are and to choose how they’d like to identify later in life.”

gender neutral parenting
Source: Canva

How do I incorporate gender-neutral or gender-inclusive parenting?

This part is fairly easy, Britt says. It’s all about following your kid’s cues. “If they want to wear a dress, buy the dress,” she says. “If they want to watch Powerpuff Girls, grab some popcorn and snuggle up! The most important piece of incorporating gender-creative parenting is to pay attention to your own experience. What do you find yourself resisting? Why? What comes up for you?” 

Many parents find themselves resisting this parenting strategy because they don’t want their kids to be ridiculed or singled out for not adhering to traditional gender norms. “No one wants to see their kid suffer, [but]… research shows that the more we can prepare and walk our kids through difficulties, the more distress tolerance they build,” Britt says. Distress tolerance is a person’s ability to manage real or perceived emotional distress. 

“The goal in parenting isn’t to protect our kids from everything but to help them be true to themselves and teach them how to weather the storms,” Britt says. 

What are gender-inclusive or gender-neutral pronouns for kids and parents?

These pronouns are those that don’t denote the gender of the person you’re referring to. While the most common gender-neutral pronouns are they/them/theirs, other options include it/its, xe/xem/xyrs, ze/hir/hirs. 

Gender-neutral names also work for parents who don’t identify with a certain gender. “Gender-neutral parenting names are a cool option for parents who don’t identify as ‘mom’ or ‘dad,’” Britt says. “Some might include Poppy, a combination of papa and mommy; Maddy, a combination of mommy and daddy; Mapa, a combination of mama and papa; or Zizi, a play on the ze/zir pronouns.”

How can parents address input from family or friends on gender-creative parenting?

“If you and your family are pursuing gender-creative parenting, let friends and family know up front, [with something like] we’ve decided to pursue gender-creative parenting, and our child is currently using she/they pronouns. We are happy to have you in our lives and appreciate you working hard to make she feel supported so they can grow up to be the fullest version of themselves she can be. If you have any questions, please direct them to me or my partner as opposed to our child.”

Setting proactive boundaries is key. Nedra Glover-Tewab’s Set Boundaries, Find Peace and Drama Free are two great resources, Britt says. 

Gender-neutral or gender-inclusive parenting can take many different forms. But the end goal is the same, Britt says. “The priority is a healthy kid who doesn’t feel penned-in because, for example, they were assigned male at birth and want to paint their nails, but can’t because gender norms say boys don’t paint their nails.” 

5 Ways to Help Children Avoid Gender Stereotypes
Click to Read