Parents Influence On Gender Roles

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Introduction Parents play an important role in guiding the development of their child in the early years, before the influence of teachers and peers comes into play (Diem-Wille, 2014). This influence that parents have on their children would naturally affect the child’s perception of gender roles and stereotypes. Following the approach of the Gender-Schema Theory, the child learns about gender in his or her society by observing behaviours of the people around him or her and then classifying the information as characteristic of different genders (Bem, 1983). The family environment and experience would therefore be central to helping the child construct schemas about gender roles since parents’ actions and attitudes are part of the information that the child receives from the environment that is integrated into the schema (McHale, Crouter, & Whiteman, 2003). Furthermore, it is possible that in mixed-gender families, the higher chances of comparisons between the two parents’ behaviours would reinforce specific ideas about gender roles than it would in families where parents are of the same gender (Endendijk et al., 2013). For example, it is often assumed in mixed-gender households that males are breadwinners of the family while females are caretakers, whereas in same-gender households, parents tend to be more open-minded about gender roles and do not necessarily subscribe to existing stereotypes (Sutfin, Fulcher, Bowles, & Patterson, 2008). Division of roles in terms of gender
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