Gender-role development is one of the most important areas of human development. The moment a women finds out she is pregnant she is often anxious to find out the sex of her child.
The definitions of the terms "sex" and "gender" need to be understood. The term "sex" denotes the actual physical makeup of individuals that define them as male or female. Sex is determined by genetic makeup, internal reproductive organs, the organization of the brain, and external genitalia. The behavior of individuals as males or females, the types of roles they assume, and their personality characteristics, may be just as important as a person's biological framework. In order to differentiate between biological features one may take into consideration behaviors and social roles to establish "gender." Sex and gender are often intertwined, and certain social expectations can be attributed to one’s biological sex. The sex of a newborn sets the agenda for a whole array of developmental experiences that will influence the person throughout his or her life.
Overall, the sex differences between boys and girls in the first year of life are minimal. Boys may be a bit more active or fussier and girls more physically mature and less prone to physical problems, but that may be the extent of the significant differences. Mothers have a tendency to ignore more of their son's emotional outbursts in comparison to their daughters' outbursts. Boys may be rough-housed or played with in a more aggressive manor as well. This goes in line with stereotyping males as more hardy or tough and girls as gentle and soft. A parent can influence their child into these gender roles by the way they discipline. They may be harder on a boy than a girl for the exact same behavior. "Children see what their parents do. Children learn when they try to imitate their parents (Putnam, Myers-Walis; Love, p. 1)." For example, a boy may grow up seeing his father fix things around the house and his