For as long as I can remember young girls have been socialized with a very distinct trajectory. We’re given dolls and ‘play’ makeup at a very young age – signifying that being able to care for children and maintaining our appearance are things that should be considered important.
Boy’s are encouraged to roughhouse, to be adventurous, and to explore. Girl’s are often expected to be charming, quiet, and graceful. Until recent years, parents and adults had the ability to control a lot of what their children were exposed to. However, with technological changes that simply never existed in our own childhoods, it’s getting more and more difficult to keep up with who and what is influencing the children.
Yet, even with access to different perspectives, cultures, and blurred gender roles, we still cling to traditional male and female decor themes. Think about the difference in mainstream decor for girl’s rooms – soft color palettes, primarily based in hues of pink, neutral furniture colors, and clean organized spaces. It was back in the 60’s that bedroom culture was highlighted as the main way that young girls are socialized differently to young boys. Where boy’s rooms are generally outfitted with bold primary colors and sturdy toys, girl’s spaces usually display the complete opposite.
If you’re a millennial mom of girls, finding a good balance between a well-decorated bedroom and a space that encourages personal discovery and exploration can be difficult. Here are a few tips on creating an empowering environment for your ‘mini’ that allows her to find herself despite gender standards!
let her lead
Your daughter will go through a lot of different changes in her life. Get comfortable with the idea of constantly redecorating for different milestones, phases, and her evolving preferences. What’s most important is that she get’s to be involved in the process.
As moms, we like to plan and implement.
Try not to make all the decisions for her and then expect her to like the final result. You don’t want to force your personal choices on her. This is an opportunity to let her lead and explore what she likes and prefers.
Including your daughter in the decorating process, even at a very young age, is a healthy way to allow her to express her personality. She should feel that her voice is important and that it’s okay to be a little assertive about what you want. Keep in mind that she’s still a child. She won’t be concerned with function, flow, or kids storage solutions. So, you’ll still need to be the guiding hand and the final authority.
this isn’t your room
Think about all the different interests that you had growing up. How many did you pursue? …and how many do you wish you were given a little freedom to really give it a try? The same goes for her space.
Make sure that she feels like her room is a safe place. A dedicated space to try different things (whether it’s a weird wall color or art that leaves you confused). She needs a place where she’s free to be creative and expressive, even if you don’t quite understand it.
help her create distinct spaces
Your daughter probably has many different interests. Help her incorporate them all into her design. If she enjoys reading, help her create a reading space. If she’s an artist, dedicate a well-lit portion of the room to a desk/easel and her art supplies. She may be into fashion. If so, you’ll want to consider adding a vanity or large mirrors and extra storage in her closet.
She may have the ideas and interests, but you have the know-how to ensure that she creates a functional space. The idea is to give her a little creative freedom, while you maintain the reigns of organization and execution. By allowing her to have a part in the decorating of her room, you’re empowering her to go after what she wants. You’re teaching her that she should have a voice and that her wants and desires matter. If she chooses a traditional girl’s room, draped in pink and soft edges, then let it be her choice and not one that you made for her.