Peer socialization of gender in young boys and girls

By the time children are about 3 years old, they have already begun to form their gender identity.1 In other words, they are aware of the fact that they are boys or girls and that there are certain behaviours, activities, toys and interests that are played with more often by boys and girls. Gender differences in children’s behaviours and interactional patterns also begin to become apparent by this age. For instance, boys are more active, physical and play in larger spaces than girls. In contrast, girls are more compliant, prosocial and play closer to adults than boys.2One important way in which children learn about gender roles and develop gender-typed behaviour and attitudes is through their interactions with peers.3


Gender: early socialization

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