Parent Interviews

Michele (46) parent of Jack (10) & Bella (8), who live in Ibiza

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Me: ‘Do you think the stereotypes for kids is different in Ibiza from the U.K?’

Mich: ‘We’re still a bit behind the times here, a bit more old fashioned, so the traditional boy/girl stereotypes are still very much in place. Kids are still kids here and the spanish parents spoil them rotten! It’s sometimes hard with us being british parents raising the kids a bit differently from the locals.’

Me: ‘Do you think if you moved back to the U.K the kids would follow the stereotypes here or do you think they’d be stuck in the ways of Ibiza?’

Mich: ‘I think they’d be able to adapt, kids are good at that, especially at the ages they are now. I would hate to do it though, the role models for Bella, apart from me, would stretch to teenage mum’s, people on the dole and Barbie.’

Me: ‘Who do you think follows stereotypes more?’

Mich: ‘They both are typical in their own ways but Bella definitely loves her dolls and her pink. Jack just wants to play football, I don’t think he really cares about much else.’

Me: ‘What age do you think the kids will be/are most impressionable?’

Mich: ‘I think now for Bella (so 8), it tends to be younger for girls. Girls get very cliquey very young so they have to establish what kind of friendship group they want to be in. That changes all the time though, girls are very transitional. I think for Jack it will probably be a bit later, when he’s a teenager and he’s trying to impress someone.’

Me: ‘Do you think boys playing with girls toys is more of a taboo than girls playing with boys toys?’

Mich: ‘Definitely. Less than it used to be though. It depends on what age i think actually. Boys in a spanish family are pride and joy, they can do no wrong so if thats what they want to do then its perfectly fine. When they’re older though they’re expected to be the head of the household so that’s probably why they’re given so much leeway when they’re younger. Personally I don’t think boys playing with girls toys is a problem but i just don’t think that they generally do. I don’t know whether it’s because it’s programmed into them or because they think they’ll get teased.’

Me: ‘Why do you think it is more of a taboo in some places though?’

Mich: ‘Girls become feminine at an older age so people don’t think anything will come of it when they play with boys toys. Boys don’t have a maternal or homemaking kind of instinct naturally so people don’t understand if they chose to show this when they are young.’

Me: ‘What would you call a male version of a tomboy?’

Mich: ‘Hmm, I don’t know, a Nancy? I can’t think of anything that doesn’t sound offensive!’

Me: ‘Do you think that other kids tastes have more of an impact on the kid’s taste than your own?’

Mich: Yes, absolutely. There’s always peer pressure and wanting to fit in. Although the kids love cooking because of what we do and most of their friends seem to think that cooking is boring.’

Me: ‘Do you think when the kids chose a toy they let their choice get swayed because of what the other kids have?’

Mich: ‘ I think it’s advertising that sways them more than friends but I think Bella chooses things because other kids have them because she wants to fit in. She’s a bit of a tom boy sometimes and far too bossy so she sometimes has trouble.’

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