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Gender Stereotyping Effects On Children

It has been well-established that gender stereotypes have an overwhelmingly negative impact on our young children. But according to experts they say that the only reason young boys and girls behave differently is because of the early environmental influences in their life. There are many parents who are not aware of such things. Therefore this article will provide you tips on parenting and teaching your child on how to be gender neutral.

Studies have also shown that parents treat their newborn boys and girls differently too. There are en number of commercials in which children see which will affect the things they are willing to learn, which is a threat of being stereotyped. This stereotyping also decreases the girls maths performance and in boys' their verbal performance.

Children need to live in a world where all possibilities are open to them. They need to live amongst no gender limitations and differences. In almost every society, gender is constantly made salient and it can be nearly impossible to eliminate all gender stereotyping.

Therefore, we have listed a few parenting tips for single parents and couples who can now treat gender neutrally with their child. These steps will not affect your little one in any way, instead it will lead to more understanding between you and your growing child.

Here's how to minimize the effect that gendered stereotypes have on your child:

Children and the Media- The media is one of the biggest culprits of gender stereotypes. From commercials which tell young children how boys and girls are supposed to act, to television shows which encourage girls to be like princesses and boys to be violent. The media is one who is involved with gender conditioning right from the time kids are babies. It is always best to keep a track of what your child is watching on the idiot box, this is the best way to protect them at a young age.

Encourage Gender Play- There are a number of parents who are aware that up till puberty, children tend to segregate along gender lines and avoid the other gender like plague. Due to this behaviour, it will lead to a higher stereotypical behaviour and thus result in a child who believes certain options are closed to her by virtue of her gender. Parents should therefore, encourage their young children to mingle and play with boys and girls. This will help to minimise the effects of gender segregation.

Lesbian / gay marriages- Although one cannot stop from falling in love with the opposite gender and marriage being legal in most parts of the world. This affects children to a great extent. Experts say that young girls need need positive male role models from a young age, and growing boys need positive female role models in their life.

Single parents - When it comes to single parenting, the work load can become pretty tough. Single parents should find an aunt, a uncle, or a friend who can spend time with the growing child and teach the child that gender does not have to limit to his or her activities.

Gender Unimportant - You will hear this statement from every parent you come across, 'Be a big girl!' and, 'You are a good boy'! Parents should first replace this gendered terms with non-gendered ones and gender will be less important for your kid. You should convert your sentences and praise your child for being a good kid rather than for being a good boy.

Choosing toys - When your kids play with gender based toys, they learn the meaning of gender roles. But little girls can learn spatial reasoning from playing with action figures and legos. On one hand, growing boys will learn to emphasise from playing with dolls. Parents have to choose toys which is neutral in nature and not gender biased. One should their children to be imaginative when they play with all types of toys. Moreover, avoid making gendered attributions for the way children play too.

These are some of the ways a parent can minimize the effects of sterotyping in young children.

Story first published: Thursday, August 1, 2013, 14:04 [IST]
Read more about: children parenting tips
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