Saturday, April 17, 2010

Parental influences II

In addition to influencing attitudes in such areas as dependency and self reliance, fearfulness and aggressiveness, and in the formation of conscience, you also shape your child’s attitudes toward behavior that is appropriate for his or her particular sex. The question of attributing certain personality traits to a baby’s gender is another issue that has been fiercely debated for years, but researchers have in fact found very few biologically determined behavioral differences between male and female babies. Studies indicate that girls tend to be little more watchful and able to concentrate for longer periods, while boys are slightly more restless and more inclined toward physical activity. But even these subtle differences have to be reinforced if they are to last.
Many parents do reinforce gender differences, in many ways that are often quite unintentional.  They may cuddle a girl more often that they would a boy, for example. Or they may roughhouse with a boy but play quietly with a girl. Because the socialization process does much to determine the child’s attitude towards sex appropriate behavior, you have a clear opportunity to influence your child’s outlook and personality in his regard. The way you proceed with in the end depend on your own views of masculinity and femininity- how you feel toward the traditional stereotypes of the tomboy and the sissy.