The sex-typing of children and the sex-typing pressure of parents was investigated during free play in a home visit. There were 30 male and 24 female 45-month-olds observed with their mothers and fathers in separate free-play sessions during which an array of both sex-stereotyped and neutral toys were available. Behavioral observations were recorded for a variety of parent, child, and dyadic behaviors, including initiations of sex-typed play, total sex-typed play, and rough-and-tumble play. Children initiated sex-typed play and played with sex-appropriate toys. Father-child and mother-daughter dyads were more likely to engage in thematic play appropriate to the child's sex, while in mother-son dyads equal amounts of masculine and feminine play occurred. In addition father-son dyads displayed the highest levels of rough-and tumble play and arousal of child by parent. The results suggest that fathers are the discriminating influence on sex-appropriate play.
- differential socialization
- parent/child interaction
- sex typing
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)