Essay on Gender Role Development: Influence of Sibling Dynamic and Interaction

Submitted By sallymanduurs
Words: 2494
Pages: 10

Sarah Smith
Psych 301 Child Development
AAA Final Paper

Gender-Role Development: Influence of Sibling Dynamic and Interaction

The topic of gender-role development in children is one that has been heavily researched. The gender-role development of a child is how they develop a sense of what is socially considered typical of a male or female, and applying that to their own gender based behavior (Volkom 2003). There are many aspects of society, which act as variables that contribute to the development of a child’s gender-role identity. Some of which include family dynamic, economical background, ethnicity and religion. While all variables are important, the focus of this exploration concentrates on the influence of siblings on gender-role development. Recently there has been an increased focus in research examining the impact of siblings on children’s gender-role development. The results of these types of studies support the idea that siblings do in fact influence the gender-role development of children (McHale, Updegraff, Helms-Erikson & Crouter 2001). There are numerous elements, within context and findings, in regards to this topic, that are consistent throughout various studies. It is important to note that for the purpose of control when referring to previous findings, the studies that will be used as references sources’ throughout this exploration are selected with attention to similar methodology and parameters. Each study, while conducted independently, share key aspects in regard to the selection of participants, and methodology. The targeted age group is middle childhood through early adolescence, ages 6-12. The sibling dynamic involves both cross-sex and same-sex siblings. Furthermore the families of the child participants are selected with the specifications of married heterosexual parents who are both employed. The family’s come from middles class economic backgrounds in both urban and rural areas. By accommodating consistent constraints among each reference study, the information provided by these studies will serve as reliable support for the premise of this exploration. When researching the gender-role development of children it is necessary to keep in mind there are a few variables still present, worthy of being noted, even when focusing on the influence of siblings. Firstly, it is important to know that the sex of an individual is different from the gender of an individual. The sex of an individual is the biological make up of their reproductive organs, which is innate at birth. The gender of an individual is their awareness of being male or female; the gender of a person is not entirely dependent on their sex (Siegler, DeLoache & Eisenberg 2011). Secondly, when focusing on siblings it is important to remember other family members, such as parents and guardians, influence the relationship between siblings. The gender-role ideals of the parents may influence that of their children. The parent’s treatment of their children will also determine the siblings’ ability to interact (McHale, Updegraff, Helms-Erikson & Crouter 2001). The researchers of these studies focus their observations on certain areas within the sibling relationship and dynamic. Sibling interactions differ depending on a few general variables. Among the selected studies, there are common themes, which affect the socialization of siblings. The themes that are most relevant for this exploration are birth order, sex of siblings, and ability to interpret gender-role behavior through interactive play and observation. One aspect is the birth order of sibling pairs. Researchers have found that in regards to sibling influence on gender-role development, the older siblings have different involvement and experiences than the younger siblings. When looking at the impact of siblings on gender-role development, it is the younger siblings that are more affected by the sibling relationship for various reasons (McHale, Updegraff,