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Essay on Differences in Gender Identity of Children with Same Sex Parents

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Although sixteen states have legalized same-sex marriage, the idea of same-sex parenting remains a controversial topic in America. As American families continue to vary from the traditional heterosexual husband and wife headed families, developmental differences among the children reared by two lesbians or two gay men pique the interest of both the public and developmental psychologists. Perhaps children raised by two mothers or two fathers will exhibit much different gender role behaviors and identify differently with their gender than children reared by heterosexual parents. By observing children raised by different parental groups the possible differences, and subsequent benefits, in gender identity and sex roles can be discerned.
Gender roles and gender identity are comparable measures of how an individual views the gender they belong to and how they fit into that gender. Gender roles are observable or qualitative measures or behaviors that mirror the broad gender stereotypes held by society. Gender identity is an internal reflection of how one views their own specific gender independently (Berk, 2006). Some common gender stereotypes associated with masculine traits include playing more aggressively, exceling at math and science related school subjects and leading groups. On the feminine side of stereotypes, girls are thought to play in pairs, portray a calmer demeanor and express more emotions than boys (Berk, 2006). In general children move from a rigid and strict construct of gender and begin to adopt a more fluid model as they age and develop cognitively and socially. Until preschool age, most children adhere so tightly to their gender that they refuse to break gender stereotyped rules, such as boys wearing dresses or gir...


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...coby (Ed.), The development of sex differences (pp. 82-173). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Retrieved from http://books.google.com/books?id=_jumAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA82&lpg=PA82&dq=A+cognitive-developmental+analysis+of+children's+sex-role+concepts+and+attitudes.+In&source=bl&ots=6
Levine, L. E., & Munsch, J. (2011). Theories of development. In M. Masson & L. Gleason (Eds.),Child Deveopment (4th ed., pp. 33-34). London, England: Sage.
Levine, L. E., & Munsch, J. (2011). Emotional Development and Attachment. In M. Masson & L. Gleason (Eds.),Child Deveopment (4th ed., pp. 339-345). London, England: Sage.
Sutfin, E. L., Fulcher, M., Bowles, R. P., & Patterson, C. J. (2008). How lesbian and heterosexual parents convey attitudes about gender to their children: The role of gendered environments. Sex Roles, 58(7-8), 501-513. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11199-007-9368-0



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