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Social Interactions and Play Patterns of Parents and Toddlers with Feminine, Masculine, and Neutral Toys

Yvonne M. Caldera, Aletha C. Huston and Marion O'Brien
Child Development
Vol. 60, No. 1 (Feb., 1989), pp. 70-76
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1131072
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1131072
Page Count: 7
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Social Interactions and Play Patterns of Parents and Toddlers with Feminine, Masculine, and Neutral Toys
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Abstract

Children as young as 18 months display sex-stereotyped toy choices. The present study was designed to determine whether parents encourage involvement with sex-stereotyped toys or avoidance of cross-sex-stereotyped toys and to determine whether masculine and feminine toys lead to different patterns of parent-child interaction, regardless of gender. 40 parent-toddler dyads were videotaped while playing with 6 different sets of sex-stereotyped toys. Equal numbers of boys and girls were observed with mothers and fathers. The children showed greater involvement when playing with same-sex-typed toys than with cross-sex toys even when statistically controlling for parents' behaviors. Parents' verbal behaviors, involvement, and proximity to the child differed across toy groups, regardless of the parent's or child's gender. Parents' initial nonverbal responses to the toys, however, were more positive when the toys were stereotyped for the child's and parent's gender than when they were not.

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