Concept Development and Gender Identity in Early Childhood - Gender Essay Example
Concept Development and Gender Identity in Early Childhood
Children tend to ascribe living qualities to inanimate objects- dolls and stuffed animals, for example - Concept Development and Gender Identity in Early Childhood introduction. Adults may encourage this by pointing out similarities between animate and inanimate objects, such as a cloud formation that resembles a dog or a horse.
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Young children also tend to associate death with anything that goes away, but they are usually unable to comprehend the finality of death.
Young children, as a group, have very inaccurate concepts of bodily functions and of birth. This is true even when they enter school though, in time, these faulty concepts are corrected through teachings in hygiene and sex education classes.
Meanwhile, four-year olds can judge short distances accurately but the ability to judge long distances does not develop until late childhood. By the use of cues they understand, they learn to judge right and left accurately. When it comes to weight, before children learn that different materials have different weights-which does not occur much before the school age-they estimate weight almost exclusively in terms of size.
However, children who attend nursery school or kindergarten usually understand numbers up to 5, but have only vague concepts about numbers higher that that. Furthermore, they have no idea of the duration of time-how long an hour is, for example-nor can they estimate time in terms of their own activities. Most four or five –year olds know the day of the week, and by the age of six they know the month, season, and year.
By the time they are three, most young children know their sex, there full names, and the names of the different parts of their bodies. When they start to play with other children, their self-concepts begin to include facts about their abilities and their race but not about their socioeconomic levels. Clear concepts of appropriate sex roles are developed by the time boys are five years old but, for girls, these concepts are less clear because the appropriate sex roles for the girls is not as clearly defined as for boys.
Before early childhood ends, most children are able to form definite opinions about others- whether a person is “nice” or “mean”, “smart” or “dumb”, for example.
While some of the foundations of sex-role typing are laid as babyhood draws to a close, the major part of these foundations is laid during early childhood. That is why early childhood is often referred to as a critical age in sex-role typing.
During this stage in the developmental pattern, two important aspects of sex-role typing are expected to be mastered: learning how to play the appropriate sex role and accepting the fact that they must adopt and conform the approved sex-role stereotype if they want to win favorable social judgments and, in turn, social acceptance. Failure to do so will handicap children in their adjustment to the peer gangs that play such an important role in the social life of the older child.