Outline Kohlberg's Theory on Gender Development

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Outline Kohlberg (1966) Kohlberg used a form of cognitive development. He believed that our understanding of gender develops over three stages. It is only after children have reached Gender Constancy that they can then display gender role behaviour. The three stages: Gender Identity At this early stage children learn whether or not they themselves as an individual are a boy or a girl. This is around age two to three and a half. They will use the word girl or boy to label themselves and others around them but they don’t have a very good grasp on what is means to be a boy or a girl and still do not understand that our gender stays constant and the same in most cases. Gender Stability When children get to about three and a half they will begin to understand that their own gender will not be changing as they get older. For example by the time they are four they understand that when they grow up they are either going to be a Mummy or a Daddy. However even at this age children will be misled by appearances that do not match what they expect a man or a woman should look like. For example if a child at this stage sees a man with long hair and a beard, they may question why that lady over there has a bushy beard. Gender Constancy This is around ages four and a half to seven years old. The clue is in the title that children begin to understand that gender is constant and unchanging. Meaning they will think people’s gender will not change despite any superficial changed made to people’s appearances. As Piaget put it, children are capable of conserving at this point. Beyond this point children will then become motivated to go out and behave in their gender roles, as it what is to be expected of them. Children will only pay attention to any same sex roles in those around them once they have achieved gender
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