Recently, the attitude towards gender stereotypes and the distribution of gender roles in society has changed significantly. Numerous scientific works have proved the direct influence of these stereotypes and the purposive distribution of social roles on the gender self-identification of children. Programs in schools and kindergartens completely change the way children are raised and taught, and teachers are trained in new gender-neutral methods (“Children and gender identity: Supporting your child”, 2021). Despite a large amount of research and practice on the topic of gender education for children, there are still many gray areas and misunderstandings that must be addressed.
There is a significant number of gender stereotypes and precise expectations affecting all spheres and living standards. Gender perception begins to form in early childhood when toddlers distinguish the masculine and feminine features of parents. At 3-4 years old, children are already aware of gender stereotypes and can unconsciously try them on themselves for compliments and encouragement from adults. They submit to the impact of society and culture, start to adapt to it, and precisely adjust behavioral patterns (Abdullah, 2019). At 5-6 years old, the child’s intentional preferences and inclinations become more complex and revealed. They remain to be developing individuals who try to act within the framework of the surrounding culture. However, children begin to cognize their gender identity and observe the world around them. At this age, it is necessary to pay particular attention to the comfort and self-identification process of the child (“Healthy gender development and young children”, n.d.). The social theory argues that people’s prejudices and expectations are largely dependent on established stereotypes (Eagly & Koenig, 2021). Modern teaching practice is aimed at eliminating the harsh stigmatization of gender roles and stereotypes in all learning processes.
In recent years, society has advanced significantly beyond the strict separation of “masculine” and “feminine” characteristics. The modern developed model of raising a child requires complex, thoughtful work with their worldview and perceptions. Forced schooling against the will, precisely linked with sharp boundaries of a particular gender, can only generate mental trauma. In addition, gender stereotypes and labels should not be confused. Certain stereotypes might show only a general model of the world. The drastic allocation of any kind of label can have an extremely negative impact on the child’s self and gender identification.
Abdullah, S. M. (2019). Social cognitive theory: A Bandura thought review published in 1982-2012. Psikodimensia, 18(1). Web.
Eagly, A. H., & Koenig, A. M. (2021). The vicious cycle linking stereotypes and social roles. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 30(4), 343-350. Doi: Web.
Children and gender identity: Supporting your child. (2021). Mayo Clinic. Web.
Healthy gender development and young children. (n.d.). National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement. Web.