Write a 5 page essay on Theories of Gender Development.Download file to see previous pages… By the age of 3 years, most children identify themselves as boys or girls and can classify others as being

Write a 5 page essay on Theories of Gender Development.

Download file to see previous pages…

By the age of 3 years, most children identify themselves as boys or girls and can classify others as being of same sex or the other sex (Golombok &amp. Fivush, 1994). Once they identify their sex, children begin to learn and show sex-appropriate behaviors. How people from childhood to adult acquire different gender roles can be explained by three broad theories: social role theory, cognitive developmental theory, and biological development theories. Social Role Theory Parents’ expectations on how their child behaves have much influence on a child’s gender identity. This theory emphasizes the influence of social and cognitive processes on how we interpret, organize, and use information (Plotnik &amp. Kouyoumdjian, 2010). Hence, mothers, fathers, friends, peers, and society are expected to respond to and reward different behaviors in boys than in girls. Under this differential treatment, boys learn different gender roles from girls. For example, the stereotypical roles for males include being dominant, controlling, and independent, while gender roles for females include being sensitive, nurturing, and concerned (Chrisler &amp. McCreary, 2010, p.20). Based on this theory, these gender differences originate largely because mothers and fathers respond to and reward different behaviors in girls than in boys. Studies have revealed that parents are more likely to encourage dependence in girls, reward boys for conforming to traditional play activities, and reward girls for doing traditional household chores. Thus, parents influence the children to match traditional boy-girl gender roles. The only major shortcoming of social role theory is that it focuses too much on rewarding and discouraging behavior, while putting little emphasis on biological and cognitive influences. Cognitive developmental theory During childhood, a child learns that there are rules about what boys and girls can do or not do. This childhood experience forms the basis of cognitive development theory. According to this theory, as children develop mental skills and interact with their environment, they learn one set of rules for male behaviors and another set of rules for female behaviors (Plotnik &amp. Kouyoumdjian, 2010). Therefore, children actively process information that results in their learning gender rules that stipulate which behaviors are correct for girls and wrong for girls, and vice versa. Thus, children form mental images (gender schemas) about how they should act. For example, the convectional gender schema for being a girl includes engaging in rough and tumble play and sports, and initiating conversations. the convectional gender schema for being a girl includes playing with dolls, expressing emotions, listening, and being dependent (Chrisler &amp. McCreary, 2010). The cognitive development theory lays much emphasis on the child being an active participant in learning a male or female set of rules and schemas while it does not take much consideration on social and biological aspects of development (Eckes &amp. Trautner, 2000, p. 93). Hence, this participation predicts how the sexes will develop different gender roles.

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