Social Learning Theory

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By definition the term Social learning theory is an approach that emphasizes on the role of modeling otherwise known as imitation or observational learning, in the development of behavior (Matlin, 85). The behavior in which children learn is typically gender-related meaning that they will act based on their gender for example, girls will learn how to act in a feminine way and boys will learn how to act in a masculine way. The way children learn how to act gender appropriate is through their parents, peers, media, and finally school.

The first factor in the Social leaning theory is the child’s parents, their first teachers. Even though parents may not be consciously aware of it, they tend to teach their daughters and sons differently when it comes to gender characteristics. For one, take the activities that children tend to take part of whether it varies from chores to the toys they play with, parents will encourage the appropriate gender behavior. When it comes to chores a female will more likely to have to do more of domestic chores such as cleaning the living room and the bathroom while on the other hand a male will more likely have to the heavy duty chores such as taking out the trash and repair items that are broken. Once again parents encourage children to participate in the activity that is “appropriate” by using positive and negative reinforcement, they discourage the activities that they believe will be inappropriate based on the child’s gender and encourage those they believe to be appropriate. The book mentions a study by Campenni done in 1999 that states that parents are more scared of their male child becoming sissies then their female child becoming a tom boy.

Another way parents influences gender-type activities is through the conversations in which they have with their children. The book states a study done by Fivush and Buckner in 2000 showed that 21% of mothers will discuss anger with their sons in a conversation that will last a half an hour...
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