Gender stereotyping in children
Cite and discuss at least five ways that parents can reduce gender stereotyping in children. What will be some of the factors that may make this a difficult process?
The social learning theory states that all the behaviors acquired by children of different genders are learned. Sex role learning occurs both at home in the domestic environment and in the wider environment. Children of different genders are taught to behave according to the societal prescription of how men and women should act. Parents contribute to gender stereotyping by offering rewards to sex-appropriate behaviors, and punishments to sex-inappropriate ones. This theory was developed by Sigmund Freud, a guru in psychology.
From this theory, there are many ways that parents can reduce gender stereotyping. One of the steps that parents can take to reduce gender stereotyping is to assign gender-inappropriate roles to the respective unwanted genders. For example, that are culturally assigned to boys can be reallocated to the girl child. This will disabuse the notion that there is inequality in job distribution among different genders.
Parents have been known to administer rewards and punishments to children who conduct acts socially considered to be gender-inappropriate to the genders of their respective children. This increases gender stereotyping. To avoid gender stereotyping, parents should reward or encourage acts that their children undertake, which are culturally regarded as being of their opposite genders. They should not be rebuked for behaving as people of their opposite genders do. For instance, boys who beautify themselves are not supposed to be discouraged from doing so by their parents, as it brings gender stereotyping that it is only women who should be neat.
It is important for parents to encourage competition among children of opposite genders, if gender stereotyping is to be lowered. This will create a sense of gender equality, brushing aside the perception that women are of inferior gender. Chances are that the girls may outdo their counterparts by emerging victorious thereby reducing gender stereotyping.
Finally, separating boys from girls both at home and in the institutions of higher learning creates a wall between them. It makes them avoid socializing and as such results to gender regroupings. Regroupings along gender lines serves the purpose of bringing gender consciousness among boys and girls, which in turn increases stereotyping. As a way out, parents should allow boys and girls to play and learn together as it lowers gender stereotyping.