The Rise of Theybies

Brittany recently stumbled upon an interesting, if not obscure, parenting style she’d like to share some thoughts on.

Have you ever heard of “Theybies?” I had never heard of this term until a couple days ago.

I was just browsing online the other day, looking for gifts/decorations for my son’s birthday, and looking at funny working mom pictures (Ok, so maybe I wasn’t as focused on my task as I should have been).

Anyways, that’s when I happened to stumble across a video titled The rise of Theybies.

Curious, I clicked on it and it was from one of the cable news opinion shows. There was the host (Tucker Carlson) and his guest (Cathy Areu). And as to be expected from a show like this, they go back and forth for the five-minute length of the video with Cathy defending the parenting choice of ‘Theybies’, and Tucker almost mocking it.

So, anyways, what are ‘Theybies’?

The Concept of Theybies

This is a good question. Like I said before, I had never heard of this term, but I was curious.

The concept of ‘Theybies’ is when parents decide not to give their child a gender label at birth. They don’t tell their child or anyone else if the child is a boy or girl (he/she), but instead call the child gender neutral pronouns such as them and they.

I did some more research and reading on this topic, and apparently, it’s actually not necessarily that new of a concept. It first came into the media spotlight in 2011.

I’m sure it caught on with some, but I guess it didn’t have much steam because as far as I can tell it didn’t really become a major public “thing” again until more recently.

More About Theybies

From what I have gathered, raising a ‘theyby’ is a parenting style. Parents are deciding not to raise their children as boys or girls but as children. This means not calling them a boy or girl or telling people their biological gender. They don’t dress them in gender specific clothing. They don’t call them princess or sport. They let them play with a variety of toys instead of just boy or girl toys.

What they believe this does is, it gives the child the opportunity to decide for themselves what gender they want to identify with when they are old enough to decide. Evidently this is around age four.

I have Questions

I firmly believe that every parent has the right to raise their children how they see fit. However, this parenting style leaves me with more questions than I can find answers.

Anatomy vs Gender

I understand that now gender can be a choice. People can choose to identify differently than their biological makeup. And that is fine. But can anatomy be denied?

Whether a child chooses to identify, or not, with the gender they were born, they are still biologically male or female, which is important for them to know when it comes to doctor visits and overall health.

The Practicality of It

This would be another hard aspect of parenting the ‘theyby’ way. We all wish that everyone would agree with or, at the very least, respect our parenting decisions. But we all know that’s not how it always works out.

Unless you never have to leave your child in the care of someone else, ever, other people will know the gender of your child pretty quickly. (Diaper changes, bath times, staying at grandparents or other sleepovers). It’s not going to be a secret very long.

Not only will it be difficult to keep family and friends from attaching a gender to your child, kids can start preschool at 3 or 4 years old, and kindergarten at 5. Things are going to get complicated in a hurry.

Oh, and making decisions when they’re four? Anybody who thinks a child understands ‘gender identification’ or can make any sort of permanent decision like this at four, has probably never actually had a four-year-old.

My view

Cable news channels need to sell ads, and to do that they need viewers.  And to get viewers, they need to grab your attention with nice click bait like ‘Theybies’.  Maybe this isn’t actually that much of a trend out there, but it got me thinking.

In this day and age, everyone wants to be different. Everyone wants to stand out and be outside of the box. This isn’t a bad quality. But when is it going too far? Couldn’t we just allow our boys and girls to play with whatever toys they want or wear whatever color? There is no rule saying that boys have to wear blue and play sports and girls have to wear pink and play princess with dolls.

Can’t we just be open enough with our kids so they will be comfortable coming to us if they are confused about how they want to identify? Why would we conceal our child gender and use them, they, and their pronouns instead of him and her, instead of assuring them that it’s ok to be who they are regardless?

What do you think? Is ‘Theybies’ a real thing, or is it just one of those obscure parenting trends that will fizzle out and fade away?

Maybe I can start to research some of the other Parenting Trends that have come and gone to share with you in a future post.

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