To listen

The relationship between the sexes is high on the agenda thanks to the revelations of school harassment on Everyone’s Invited, children’s increasing exposure to porn and hashtags like #NotAllMen. But how are parents navigating this complex area? In this four part series of Bringing Up Britain, Anjula Mutanda sets out to find answers. She explores whether stereotypes matter, how to prepare boys for adolescence, the pros and cons of single sex education and how to parent children through the complexities of online harassment and abuse. In this first episode, Anjula speaks to Sophie, a mother who was adamant she would protect her children from society’s expectations of them, but finds herself with a toddler son who loves tractors and trains and a three-year-old daughter who loves pink and princesses. Sophie wants to know how these stereotypical interests get ingrained so young and whether it matters for her children’s future lives and relationships. Anjula brings together a series of experts from neuroscientists, to sociologists and psychologists to explore the gender norms children learn from the moment they are born and provide some answers for Sophie.