What characteristics of a family environment reinforce traditional and nontraditional gender roles?
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The characteristics of the family environment that are most likely to affect gender roles are the roles played by the parents of each sex. These parents are likely to be the most influential role models when it comes to socializing their children into a given gender role.
When we are children, we learn how we are supposed to behave given the sex that we are. We learn what our society expects of boys and what it expects of girls. Much of this process of socialization takes place within our family.
Within our family, the strongest agent of socialization in terms of our gender roles is our parents. When we watch our parents, we get cues that show us what is expected of people of each sex in our society. We learn how adults of each sex are supposed to behave in a variety of situations. This is likely to shape our own views of what it means to be male or female.
This does not mean that we will automatically replicate our parents’ gender roles. We may observe our parents and decide that we do not like some or all of their gendered behaviors. However, the fact remains that their behaviors will influence us in some way.
Thus, we can say that parental gender roles are the family characteristic that is most likely to reinforce traditional or nontraditional gender roles in us.
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