My question

At what age can children start being influenced by gender stereotypes?

has received a VTC for being "off topic" because:

Other: This is not a parenting question. It's a psychology question. It won't make us better parents (as it is stated right now), it will only satisfy somebody's curiosity.

Whereas the on topic section of the help center states:

We welcome questions on topics like these:

  • matters of upbringing,
  • safety considerations,
  • food and feeding,
  • health and hygiene,
  • development and growth,
  • language development,
  • behavior and social skills,
  • discipline and punishment,
  • childrens'/family games for developmental purposes or parental sanity.

Emphasis mine.

I would contend that psychology and sociology based questions and answers regarding information relevant to parents is very good, because our topics can tend toward subjectivity, when not all parenting outcomes are subjective.

I think some of our great answers also tend to rely heavily on science and facts. Sociology and psychology are also sciences, and so I don't think they should be discounted when accurate medical information is highly regarded.

I also think a lot of our answers tend to use psychology and sociology, but not the terminology of those sciences.


Are questions about generic medical fundamental medical information on-topic?

Are questions that are related to something you do as a parent, but not explicitly parenting itself, on topic?

2 Answers 2


I agree that it is on-topic for parenting. While the topic is not necessarily direct parenting (as opposed to, say, how to feed a newborn), understanding childhood development and it's associated psychological background is useful. In general, information such as that helps parents become aware of the long-term (and usually unanticipated) effects of their actions, forming a motivation to improve our change their approach.

In particular regarding that question, having a stash of references can be handy to link to from other related questions (e.g., asking about boy/girl toys) as supporting details. So not only is it on-topic, it can be a potential reference resource (perhaps community wiki?) if answered well.

  • 1
    The way I asked it, I had in mind it being useful as being a references for other questions (since the topic comes up a lot), sort of like a wiki entry.
    – user11394
    May 1, 2015 at 21:47
  • I think it could potentially be improved, to be fully honest, but I'm still mulling that over and don't have a coherent explanation of where I think it's lacking. It does not need a severe overhaul or closure, but some tweaking.
    – Acire
    May 1, 2015 at 22:17
  • Most likely. I thought it was fairly straightforward, so I didn't include much and kept in brief. That seems to not have worked, so I think I need to rewrite it to have better definitions and more clearly defined scope and how it relates to parenting decisions. I might get to it tonight.
    – user11394
    May 1, 2015 at 22:20
  • I did edit it just now. I think my straightforwardness unintentionally comes off as brusque or adversarial. I'm hoping I was able to tone that down, and clarify why I was asking the question and how it specifically relates to parenting.
    – user11394
    May 3, 2015 at 5:33
  • My immediate concern (admittedly, I didn't actually bother reading the linked question, in the best traditions of Slashdot oldtimer - for all I know its answers are actually awsome :) is that the answer would be personal perspectives and not a collection of references. I certainly experienced that effect on the questions I asked, even when the question explicitly asked for research/references/statistics.
    – user3143
    May 14, 2015 at 17:55
  • It currently has two answers, one a collection of reference and one a personal perspective; the latter was heavily downvoted.
    – Acire
    May 14, 2015 at 18:08

I agree with @Erica that this question is on topic.

Whether we realize it or not, psychology influences every aspect of our parenting. How to discipline, how to praise effectively, how to show love, at what age children develop, say, the concept of object permanence, death, self... this list is as extensive as the research that has been done. We don't know about them all, but there are lots of studies out there which trickle down through various channels giving us important feedback.

Even a question on whether or not to breastfeed involves psychology. We know a lot about both the medical benefits and the psychological benefits to parent and child. Whenever we ask for references, we are ultimately asking for psychological or sociological studies.

I can't see how this will hurt the site any, whereas the potential to help is significant, especially in light of some of the gender-related questions we've had lately.

You must log in to answer this question.