Gender Schema theory

This is when, behaviour and attention are guided by motivation and the child has understanding of gender consistency and they know that a person’s sex will always stay the same despite the changing of clothes etc. There are biological roots to our behaviour, in fact behavioural genetics has provided us with lots of information regarding the roles of individual genes in the implementation of behaviour. Even events before birth can contribute to determining sex behaviour as adults and in gender identity.

There is an ongoing debate centred on the effects of androgens and estrogens during a Childs development in the womb. Hormones present during critical developmental stages could affect the development of gender role behaviours. The androgens affect males by controlling the onset of puberty, biological fertility etc and the estrogens are important to females hormones which control the timing of biological maturity and menstruation. Girls exposed to higher levels of androgen are defeminized in sex type interests, abilities and behaviour, but not core gender identity.

“Some studies by John Money and his colleagues have been made of girls whose mothers received excessive amounts of androgens during pregnancy (to reduce the likelihood of miscarriage) .The babies developed Androgential Syndrome. As they grew they tended to be more aggressive and “tomboyish”, and less feminine. They preferred male activities with male company and expressed more interest in a career than in having a family.” (G.C Davenport, ESSENTIAL PSYCHOLOGY, chapter five, page 116.) When a child is born their gender role (set of expectations to say how they should think, act, feel.) is based on their gender identity (sense of being male/female), which is usually based on what sex the child’s genitalia reflects.

When we look at children who have Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, it is interesting to see that some individuals develop in a feminine direction and acquire a sense of identity as female but others are brought up as males. The child’s upbringing was based purely on judgements about their genitals, which makes me doubt the theory above. Depending on the case, the child’s behaviour could have been seen as boyish, rather than tomboyish and the child will have acquired the role given to it.

Most people believe that our gender role is the result of our environmental influences, particularly the way we are treated by our parents. A child’s gender role is made clear through observation and imitation of gender behaviour. “Ones gender is a product of socialization” G.C Davenport, ESSENTIAL PSYCHOLOGY, chapter five, page 115.) Single parents and their children constitute a rapidly increasing population. So I have found myself asking the question, “Would I little girl raised by her father alone be tomboyish?”

Answer: Not necessarily and I am proof. Single mothers and fathers need to establish strong support networks, personal friendships, and new social networks, and work on improving their self-esteem. Single parent families have a greater appreciation of responsibility in being the primary parent. They show more concern about day care, more interest in education and protection of their children, and more discipline orientation. Bringing up a family as single parents is tough work. However, with special effort, and the support of individuals, communities and institutions around them, single parent families can be very successful.

Sigmund Freud claims that moral feelings are learned from our parents through identification. It makes sense that children should learn appropriate behaviour from the important people around them. Freud emphasises emotional development with his theories, his psychoanalytic theory was designed to account for gender development. Freud believed that identification played a huge role in the development of gender stereotypes. Freud’s studies led to him to see personality consisting of three parts- the id, ego and super ego. His psychoanalytic theory of personality shows how a child proceeds through psychosexual stages. During each stage certain body parts are particularly sensitive to sexual stimulation and the child’s limbo is focused on these parts.

Parents, peers and the media are all social factors that affect children’s awareness of gender roles. The influence of parents and peers can be explained in terms of social learning theory. Parents and peers are role models for children, they …

There are many different types of gender bias that has been identified within psychology. The main two are: Alpha bias – this type of bias exaggerates the differences in males and females Beta bias – this minimises the differences between …

Instead of the parents advocating for a surgical alteration of the infants genitalia, emphasis should be laid on counseling the parent and the infant in the early developmental years. This counseling is supposed to empower the child to make informed …

Freud suggested that a dysfunctional superego is likely to lead to criminal behaviour. How does a dysfunctional superego form? According to Freud, the parents will have the biggest impact on the development of the child’s superego. If the boy fails …

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