How Do Children Learn Gender Identity

Topics: Developmental psychology, Psychology, Gender role Pages: 3 (822 words) Published: November 19, 2010
How do children learn Gender Identity?
A child's awareness of being a boy or a girl starts in the first year of life, Mukherji (2001) emphazises that a child begins to think of themselves as separate individuals and develop knowledge about who they are at around 15 to 18 months. Each of us has a gender identity a private feeling that we are male or female. There are two fundamentally different explanations for how gender develops i.e. Nature vs. Nurture. Nurture is the result of environmental influences particularly the way we are treated by our parents, guardians, friends and relatives in contrast nature is our inborn reaction which is heredity. Lindon (2009).

Social learning theory, developed by Albert Bandura, emphasizes the importance of children's imitation of the behavior of others (models). The theory argue that boys learn how to behave as boys from observing and imitating masculine behaviors, especially from their fathers, and girls learn from imitating females, especially their mothers. When children imitate same-sex behaviors, they are rewarded, but imitating the other sex may carry the threat of punishment gender roles (2010). Social learning theory has difficulty explaining how children’s understanding of gender changes overtime. It also cannot easily account for how children’s prepare to imitate a gender role and their behaviour depends more on whether the behaviour is seen as gender appropriate than the sex of the model demonstrating it. These findings suggest that cognitive processes play a greater role in the learning of gender than social learning theory allows for. Social lerning theory 2010 Theorist such as Kohlberg (1966) put forward a stage theory of gender development. His cognitive developmental theory argues that gender concept and a child’s understanding of gender is gradually acquired overtime. His first stage is gender identity in which a child recognises if they are a boy or a girl, the second stage is gender stability where the...
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