gender differences

The question of nature versus nurture has been long debated. Are our personality, intelligence and behaviour determined by our genetic makeup or by our life experiences?

There is no denying that nature bestows individual abilities and personality traits upon us. Our life events, including how we are nurtured and parented, mould these genetic tendencies into actual skills and behaviours.

As parents we have already done our part on the biological or ‘nature’ side of the equation – creating a human being – with fingers crossed that our children do not inherit too many off our less desirable personality traits!

But it is following birth that the real work begins. As parents we have the opportunity to positively nurture our child by being mindful of our preferred parenting style, and by examining our own beliefs and biases. All of these factors will influence our children, both directly and indirectly.

One area that parents have significant influence upon is that of gender difference. I have met more than a few parents who are nervous that their little boy likes to dress up in pink fairy costumes, or who label their young girls ‘tomboys.’ But how do these

For a child to develop to his or her full potential s/he require opportunities to play with all types of toys, books and resources, interact with people of different ages, races and socioeconomic status’, and experience all manner of experiences – from a matinee at the ballet to watching a game of football from the grandstand. The greater the individual child’s range of experiences, the more rounded an individual will likely become.

In our home, Immy loves…

Jewellry of all sorts – necklaces, bracelets and rings,
The dramatic play home corner for cooking and shopping play,
Helping with the cleaning – wiping, sweeping, vacuuming,
Playing with dolls – cuddling and caring for them and pushing prams around

But she also loves…

Pushing cars along the floor and saying ‘brrrooo0m, brrroooom’
Searching the sky for distant planes she has heard flying over
Watching for the postman on his motorbike and the garbage truck emptying rubbish bins
Getting dirty in the garden and digging in the sandpit

So I ask you…

  • Do you worry that your child is exhibiting behaviour associated with the opposite gender?
  • Does your child have the opportunity to engage in activities more commonly associated with the opposite gender?
  • In families with children of both sexes, are they provided with equal opportunity to play with the same toys, engage in the same activities, visit the same places, read the same books?
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One Comment

  1. The only restriction my children had when growing up was I didn't allow them to play with toy guns – mind you they still occasionally used a stick or the like and obviously if they were at other people's houses who had toy guns maybe they played with them when I wasn't there. I tried to ensure that none of the games they played used violence in any way but apart from that – dolls for boys and trucks for girls, no problems with that. After all some of the best nursing care I have had came from male nurses and they were one of the first groups to cross the imposed gender barrier that society imposes. As times have changed I believe that there are less stereotypes imposed but maybe that is naive on my behalf.

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