In the role of parenting in generating sex differences, we have learned that these messages from parents can come in a variety of ways, but are predominately reinforced by cultural values, which was found in Chapter 8 of the book in the Social Learning Theories section. For example, as an African-American, I have learned that African-American mothers tend to convey less traditional gender-typed attitudes to their children than European-American mothers; however, there are some messages within our culture that are restrictive while others inspire inclusivity.
Two examples of restrictive messaging might include: (1) The responses given regarding the toys children choose for play. While it would be appropriate and encouraged for girls to play with dolls, it would in no way be acceptable for boys to do so; and (2) Girls are encouraged to show their emotions and are comforted when they cry; whereas, boys are encouraged to be a “big boy” or to act tough.
Two examples of inclusive messaging in my culture might include the following: (1) Attitudes toward gender and sports – if a child (boy or girl) is found to be athletic, both genders are encouraged to develop their athletic talents and pursue activities associated with that talent; and (2) I have never witnessed any gender differences in the expectations of how children are to learn, the evaluation of their intelligence and a preference shown for one gender to be intellectually superior or inferior to the other.