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Contents of Gender-Role Learning in Childhood and Adolescence

Gender-Role Learning in <br />Childhood and Adolescence


Lecture Notes

It is difficult to analyze the relationship between biology and personality because learning begins at birth. During infancy and early childhood, children's most important source of learning is the primary caregiver. Many parents are not aware that their words and actions contribute to their children's gender-role socialization. Nor are they aware that they treat their daughters and sons differently because of their gender.


Children are socialized in gender roles through several very subtle processes:

Manipulation is when parents treat boys and girls differently. They treat a daughter gently and tell her she is pretty. They treat a son roughly and advise him that big boys do not cry. Channeling is when children's attention is directed to specific objects. Toys, for example, are differentiated by sex. Dolls are considered appropriate for girls, and cars for boys.



Verbal appellation is when parents use different words with boys and girls to describe the same behavior. A boy who pushes others may be described as "active," whereas a girl who does the same is usually called "aggressive."


Activity exposure is the type of activities boys and girls are encouraged to be exposed to and imitate. For example, boys are discouraged from imitating their mothers, whereas girls are encouraged to be "mother's little helper."

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