I love this. I know there will be controversy, but my childhood would have been easier this way. It sounds like the siblings of this child might have some issues, but my first inclination is to consider that this part of the parenting is not the cause. That being said, I know nothing about children, so I'll shut up now.
I think this "progressive" attitude is misplaced. Biology will dictate, due to hormones and genes, some differences between the sexes. There is a difference between recognizing the differences and teaching that one is better than the other.
The child should be taught to be proud to be a boy or a girl, so that it develops with a self esteem, which will enable it to be the best man or woman that it can be. It is not a matter of one gender being better than another, it's a matter of having a healthy attitude towards its gender. For example, if the child is transgendered, and the parents kept up with their hiding of its gender, they would not be benefitting the child in any way. They need to celebrate the child's gender (by what the child desires and not its genitals) , sexual orientation, talents, skills, abilities, and encourage it to succeed and prosper in all of those areas.
This does not mean that they automatically buy it trucks or dolls. They should be buying whatever the child gravitates towards and then encourage that development. We now know that supporting a boy who loves to dance or a girl who is mechanical, only serves to encourage them to develop their strengths. Their sexual orientations and their sexual identities are innate, but their attitude towards their own gender and the gender of others can be a positive one, if they are raised to view other people that way.
I agree that biology dictates the outcome, but isn't part of the point here that outside forces (including grandparents (which would be the case in my famly)) possibly can't be trusted with projecting traditional gender roles if they know the gender of the child? I know this is extreme, but I think it is interesting. The child is going to know his or her gender, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
And really, how long can this secret go on? Not long. I think it is a neat idea to not put so much emphasis on the gender of a newborn.
I want to add that we can't dismiss gender as an important part of a child's identity. Ask any transgendered person who was made to dress and act like the gender, opposite of how that person felt inside.
If you accuse a small child of being the wrong gender, he/she will stomp his/foot and say, "I am a boy" or "I am a girl." If you wrongly call him Joey, he'll stomp his foot and say that he is Johnny. If you wrongly say that he lives in the yellow house, he'll correct you and tell you where he lives.
Children are growing and developing all the time. Just as a few very progressive parents are accepting and encouraging their transgendered children, parents also need to celebrate biological gender. If Grandpa tells the child not to cry or that he must play football, a progressive parent would correct and send the proper message.
It does draw more attention to it, but as I said above (just speculating, of coures), I don't think this will remain a secret for very long. Grandma is going to check out the bits and pieces.
Saying "I'm not telling you our child's sex" draws more attention to it--and not even letting grandparents know? Come on!
Very good point.
Your correct forgive my hands the air "will i never" moment.
I must say that Toranto must be a very open minded city seeing as how their other two children dress like girls (it was both right?) and apparently receive no static from other children. This is truely impressive!! Maybe I should become Canadian.
I don't think it's a good idea to do social experiments on kids. I don't really like hearing it when psychologists do it either - even if the kids turn out okay like BF Skinner's.
Just because a person identifies as one gender or the other their career and life paths are not set in stone. Women become doctors, police officers and construction workers. Men can be anything they like as well including being stay at home parents. Things have changed radically from the 50s when gender meant everything in terms of employment and lifestyle choices.
If the child is transgendered that is one thing, this seems to be another. And it is causing at least one of the children pain:
Stocker and Witterick's choices haven't always made life easy for their kids. Though Jazz likes dressing as a girl, he doesn't seem to want to be mistaken for one. He recently asked his mother to let the leaders of a nature center know that he's a boy. And he chose not to attend a conventional school because of the questions about his gender. Asked whether that upsets him, Jazz nodded.