Adolescent Family Structure

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K. Jill Kiecolt and Alan C. Acock did a study in which they examined the effects of adolescent family structure on gender-role attitudes (1988). They performed a multiple regression to test for the effects of family type, mother’s employment and education level, and social status. They found that men and women who did not live in a traditional household, meaning they only lived with their mother following a divorce, held a more egalitarian attitude towards women than people that came from intact traditional families (Kiecolt and Acock 1988). While this study did not prove that gender-role attitudes are directly related to parents’ gender roles, it did prove that the family structure itself is responsible for the way people choose to view gender …show more content…
The family is the first social institution that shapes children’s personality (Kimmel 2000). The family is the most important agent of socialization because the self-concept formed during childhood has lasting consequences, so it is evident that the gender roles the parents have in the family are passed down and later developed by the children themselves (Liao and Cai 1995). Children will mimic what they see, and these gender traits are associated with what they see in their parents. The social learning theory suggests that children learn gender roles through imitation of role models (Beal 1994). Children normally copy others of the same sex such as parents. An example of this is White and Brinkerhoff’s study, “The Sexual Division of Labor: Evidence from Childhood.” Their study shows that more than two thirds of teenage boys, but only over one third of teenage girls do yard work, yet three fourths of the girls, but only one fourth of the boys help with the kitchen and the housework (1981). Parents usually differentiate by gender in their encouragement of sex-typed housework; typically girls do more feminine chores than boys (Raley and Bianchi 2006). This shows that these differences in behavior mimic what they child sees in his …show more content…
One of the biggest parts of being pregnant is learning whether the baby will be a boy or a girl, and parents begin preparing by buying gendered clothes such as pink clothes for girls and blue clothes for boys. Gender roles are so common that children have preset expectations of gender at an extremely early age, and this socialization process begins in the family. The societal stigma of gender is passed down to children even if parents are not even purposely trying to teach their kids gender role attitudes because children mimic what they see. It is more likely for a girl to want to grow up being the stay at home mom if that is what she grew up with, moreover it is also more likely for the boy to grow up with the preconceived notion of needing to be the breadwinner of the family. Not only does the parent influence the gender behavior, but children also influence gender behavior on parents. It is evident that parents act differently depending on the sex of their children. Parent do not usually think about their ideas of gender being passed down to their children, yet the foremost influence on gender role development and gender stereotyping occurs in the child’s own home with the family being the first agent of

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