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I work in a school which has close connections with and RAF base. I know that gender roles are very pronounced higher in the school but would be interested to know what people think about younger children aged 3-5? Does it develop naturally or do they learn from being ridiculed by older children?

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Hi Wendy. I really believe that gender roles are largely learnt through a huge range of cultural influences peers, families, schools, television etc. I think younger children learn to take on particular roles and also learn to react against what they think is normal unfortunately unless they are encouraged to welcome and celebrate differences !

I have a boy in my Reception class who lives with his Mum and 2 sisters and loves everything pink and Barbie etc. Women have been his most important influences. At the moment most of the other children accept this.... but the occasioal child makes a comment like 'But that's for girls' when he gets all excited about a new dressing up wedding dress ! I fear as he gets a little older these comments will be more frequent and he will stop taking an interest in princesses and fairy tales to fit in or face being picked on.

 

I do think boys tend to be more interested in physical / active / sometimes aggressive play but mainly (maybe there is a bit of our biology at play ) because we encourage them to do so. What does everyone else think ?

 

Galleon :o

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hi Wendy

I'm not really sure I understand exactly what it is that you want to know here.

There always seem to be boys who like boy things and girls who like girl things and then you boys who are more interested in what might be considered girl things and vice versa. Is this what you mean? :o

In a community with a srong influence like the RAF I can see that you might have other influencing factors at play but with little children I think it would be very unususal for them not to have a healthy interest in all things, whether they are traditionally male or female.

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Ok, yes Ive had boys who love to dress up and this has been accepted by their peers, although most boys prefered the boys clothes these 2 loved the skirts etc!

Few girls present in those ways.

My own sons who I had hoped would investigate their female side at nursery, never did so-always being very male in their outlookand activities! :o

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Thanks everyone for the replies. My interest arises from a module which i'm studying at Brookes Uni. It has made me examine closely my attitudes and the resources whch are available in our setting. I want it to be an environment where it is ok for children to investigate and be understood.

I do also feel that there are very strong differences between boys and girls(as a mother of 3 boys!!) and that they very often learn in different ways.

I think it's vitally important for us to understand the differences whilst providing equal opportunities .[/SIZE]

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Hi wendy, I've found dressing up and role play to be a sign of what they find acceptable or not. I remember one girl telling me she couldnt wear the doctors outfit because she was a girl!! And one boy telling me he couldnt wear jewellry because he was aboy!! I still find boys and girls will play at dolls with pushchairs and at monsters with guns. My own son when he was about 4yrs was in A&E and told me the person he'd just seen couldnt be a doctor because it was a woman, so when it was time for the stiches I asked for a male nurse! While we all encourage children to try different roles it's outside influences that finally give them their views, society in general is more powerful than us, adverts on TV are nearly always gender biased, although childrens programming has changed it still shows girls who do 'boy' thins as acting outside of the norm. We can but try. :D:D

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Hi and welcome Wendy!

 

Not a really useful addition to the conversation, but my 22 year old son takes a while getting ready for nights out at Rock City with his girlfriend - I'm always running out of eye liner, mascara and black nail varnish, becuse he's borrowed them :o !! And he's always been very masculine in his outlook.

 

Sue :D

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Oh black! My 11 year old has a black bedroom, walls and bedding! Loves black clothes too.

 

But, back to gender...I've skimmed through a book today by Bob Dixon, 'Playing them false' 1992, Trentham books. I've come straight home and ordered it from amazon.

It explores some underlying attitudes to race, gender and class which are implicit in some popular toys - Child Education.

A bit out of date but really worth a read. :D

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My own opinion is that children of 3-5 are influenced more by their parents and other significant adults, rather than their peers. And it's boys who get more of a raw deal of it than girls. I have come across so many parents who have refused to buy dolls and cookers for their sons. And these are families where the Dad takes an equal share in the housework and childcare. :o Seems bizarre to me but parents (and particularly Dads) are so afraid that their sons will be seen as 'pansies' by other adults. They can't see that their children want to be able to role play the situations they see everyday at home and that playing with a doll will not make them gay!!

 

My own son at this age had dolls, polly pockets, my little ponies and often was seen with hair bands on. After all, he had an older sister and wanted to be just like her. I was determined that I would take my lead from my children rather the other way round. My lasting memory at this age was that I asked for matchbox cars for both Christmas and my birthday for several years and never got them as they were 'boys toys'. :( And my brother was so mean that he wouldn't let me touch his so I only got to play with them when he was at school and mum was busy with her housework. xD Incidently, my son's interests nowadays are more RC car racing, PS2, football etc. Not a doll or hairband in sight - but he does have extremely long hair. :D

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Welcome Wendy this is a subject that I have often thought about. As much as I provide opportunities for either sex to use some boys and girls seem conditioned to play with certain toys before they get to us.Is it nature or nurture?

I was observing a few boys playing with the dolls house and they were using in a different way to the girls.i.e.their people were flying over the roof tops to land in the dough. In the home-corner they were pushing the prams around at full speed so their babies flew out. Once they all returned to the train -set the girls who were playing there walked away.I asked them if they had finished playing at the train set and one of them said "the boys are back so we had to go". As long as children are given equal opportunities we can't change the way they feel or think.Their will always be exceptions to the rule one of our challenging boys is the best behaved child when we have the role play area as a hairdressers and I am his client.He use many fine motor skills and adorns my hair combs and clips and he is always asking me I am O.K. Usually he doesn't think twice about punching his peers.

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Our children come to nursery with very definate ideas about what girls and boys can and cannot do. This extends to the colour of the pencils they use (the boys really dont like the girls using the blue pencils!), and the singing of 'bob the builder'. I find it is much more common for the boys to complain about what the girls are doing than the the way round.

 

There was a study done some years ago that showed that the girls' use of lego was greatly increased simply by providing the pastel range (pinks and lilacs). Sadly the name of the study escapes me but Im sure someone will know of it?

 

Oh and Rea, my parents were horrified when I wanted my bedroom done in black and white as a teenager.!(It still is too, although more white than black now)

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Has the world gone mad I wonder :o Did anyone read the article in the Daily Mail on Monday this week "Sex therapy at three"

 

I could not believe what I was reading! Children as young as three are being given highly controversial 'sex change treatment' on the NHS. They receive counselling and behaviour therapy if they are identified as having "gender identity problems"

 

I cannot believe that this heading includes 'boys who like to play with dolls' and 'children who want playmates of the opposite sex only' When they reach 16 they can be prescribed hormone drugs to 'prevent normal sexual development, paving the way for sex-swap surgery at 18' xD:(:(

 

This service is being provided by Psychiatric experts at the gender identity development service clinic in London. Whatever next .....!!!!

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Who knows what really influences children in terms of gender issues.

 

In my own personal case my influences have not made a jot of difference to my boys. My mother-in-law says the same.

 

YES! Geraldine, the world has gone mad. I was flabbergasted when I read your post

 

Children will be whatever they will be...

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Just been re - reading this thread and thinking back to when my boys were little.

If I had had daughters then no doubt there would have been prams, dolls etc. If my sons had a sister I would have had no problem whatsoever with them playing with her things, riding her pink, barbie bike etc etc but having only boys I can't remember buying anyting that was 'girly'. They had a wendy house with the cooker and crockery etc but I dont think that is particlarly girly, more often than not it was turned into something else by them in their play.

 

I do remember one of them at three getting a little wheelbarrow and it was used to push teddy around. I was more than happy to get him a buggy but he simply did not want one. I used to push a double buggy and have one alongside happily pushing teddy in the wheelbarrow - but that was his choice.

 

They had a dressing up box with all sorts in but I didnt buy a fairy outfit or snow white - i can't recall it being a concious decision not to - it just didnt occur to me but again if there had been a sister on the scene such things would have been in there and it wouldnt have bothered me if the boys had played with them.

 

Think I am rambling now! I just wonder what other parents of children of the same sex do - if you have only girls are toys predominently 'girly things' and do they buy items seen as 'boys toys' and vice versa. Just a thougt!!!

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It's a good thought, Geraldine! It hadn't occurred to me either, but I had one of each, our daughter first. I well remember my son being obsessed with her Sindy house - he used to crawl into it and try to go to sleep on the first floor! but he also used to attach his Spiderman with the extending 'web' to the balcony and set it to climbing up the building!

 

Sue :D

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I went with what the boys wanted. No.1 wanted power rangers, action man, and was always fighting with his dad, he also cried at the slightest thing and his world revolved around having a plaster for his invisible cuts. Son no.2 wanted Barbi and power rangers but has never liked rough and tumble play, he also had horrible exzema but never murmered how ever bad it got. I dont think I have a right to decide what they do or want (I can only offer pro's and con's to them), so long as they're safe and dont hurt anyone it's up to them. :o

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  • 3 weeks later...

My son (now 21) who's name is Ellis was very upset during his first week at playgroup, he was made to do pink handprints on the hand print poem ( yes the poem is that old) and his mates did blue hand prints. I didn't notice, just loved the poem.

A few years later the supervisor confessed that she thought my "Ellis" was actually "Alice" ( It was his first week and I did have him dressed in green and white checked dungerees and a white sweatshirt type cardigan, he was also wearing white socks and brown sandels.)

He is rather handsome now and yes he was a "pretty" child.

Thank god we've moved on at preschools and don't conform children to colour gender stereotypes.

 

Peggy

 

Guess what, my son hates the song "Living next door to Alice"

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  • 2 weeks later...

For some reason we have less boys at the moment and have noticed a big change in the type of play that goes on in the sand pit - we are lucky to have an indoor one - the garden - and with the construction equipment. The girls are taking over and the play in these areas is so much more co-operative, the boys still play but the girls seem to have a calming influence on them they play for longer and achieve goals such as completing a construction without dismantling it before completion, their attention and listening skills have also improved greatly.

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  • 2 months later...
I work in a school which has close connections with and RAF base. I know that gender roles are very pronounced higher in the school but would be interested to know what people think about younger children aged 3-5? Does it develop naturally or do they learn from being ridiculed by older children?

20163[/snapback]

 

 

Hi Wendy

I think you may find these books of great interest with regards to the gender issue (especially looking at boys)

 

One of the best writers I have come across (and this is my own personal view) is Steve Biddulph

 

Raising boys by Steve Biddulph ISBN 0-7225-3686-0 By HarperCollins publishers. (A fantastic read, worth every penny)

 

Manhood by Steve Biddulph ISBN 1-869890-99X (another eye opening read that I think every man should read!!!!!)

 

More secrets of Happy Children by Steve Biddulph with Shaaron Biddulph

(Chapter 5) Raising boys: It's time that we plan for a new kind of man....

 

Sons and Mothers Edited by Matthew Clendinning and Victoria Glendinning ISBN 9-781860-492549 Looking at different sides of the coin worth a read

 

The Boys are Back in Town by Simon Carr ISBN 0-09-179381-5 (A brilliant story about a family home with out a women. A easy read.

 

Hope you can find use from some of this

 

Carolann

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I work in a school which has close connections with and RAF base. I know that gender roles are very pronounced higher in the school but would be interested to know what people think about younger children aged 3-5? Does it develop naturally or do they learn from being ridiculed by older children?

20163[/snapback]

 

 

Hi Wendy

I think you may find these books of great interest with regards to the gender issue (especially looking at boys)

 

One of the best writers I have come across (and this is my own personal view) is Steve Biddulph

 

Raising boys by Steve Biddulph ISBN 0-7225-3686-0 By HarperCollins publishers. (A fantastic read, worth every penny)

 

Manhood by Steve Biddulph ISBN 1-869890-99X (another eye opening read that I think every man should read!!!!!)

 

More secrets of Happy Children by Steve Biddulph with Shaaron Biddulph

(Chapter 5) Raising boys: It's time that we plan for a new kind of man....

 

Sons and Mothers Edited by Matthew Clendinning and Victoria Glendinning ISBN 9-781860-492549 Looking at different sides of the coin worth a read

 

The Boys are Back in Town by Simon Carr ISBN 0-09-179381-5 (A brilliant story about a family home with out a women. A easy read.

 

Hope you can find use from some of this

 

Carolann

28149[/snapback]

 

 

Thanks- I have "raising boys" which i agree is fantastic, but i dont have the others! Thanks for your reply :)

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  • 1 month later...

I too have read raising boys - really interesting. What I find more interesting is that the EPPEE research actually refers to the differences in the teaching of boys. For me this is certainly a step forward - whilst I like to ensure that they all have the opportunity to get the same experiences - as a generalisation - boys are different to girls - they play differently - they like different things - of course they will do what the girls do but from my reading they are physically different - Nursery World had a good article on this recently.

Nikki

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