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Why Do Some Children Show More Gender-Typical Behavior Than Others?
The process by which children acquire values, motives and behaviors viewed as appropriate for males and females within a culture is called gender typing (Nadal, Kevin).
There are a variety of factors that influence this behavior. As a result of this, some children steer towards more stereotypical behavior that has been ingrained in them from early on.
A very large factor that influences children with regards to their gender roles is the family environment they are brought up in. Parents tend to treat boys and girls differently from early on. By default, boys are taught to be stronger while girls are given kinder teachings.
Another factor that plays a part in media and books. These have content that is very gender driven. Men are shown to have more dominating, career driven, taking charge of roles while women are shown to be more domesticated and fragile.
Children develop their gender identity by around the age of two. By the age of three, they become conscious and start learning gender role behavior. (Rozenweig, Janet) This is when they start learning about what is generally expected from them as a girl or a boy. This is with regards to toys, mannerisms, reactions, etc.
It is at this age that some of them gravitate more towards being exact with what is being taught to them in their immediate environment. This results in some children showing more gender-typical behavior than others. To break this to some level, children at a young age should be given the freedom to explore what is not the decided gender norm. This helps with their overall development in society as they grow up.
Nadal, Kevin. The SAGE Encyclopedia of Psychology and Gender. SAGE Publications, 2017.
Rosenzweig, Janet. The Parent’s Guide to Talking About Sex. Skyhorse Publishing, Inc., 2015.