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Child Dev. 1989 Feb;60(1):70-6.

Social interactions and play patterns of parents and toddlers with feminine, masculine, and neutral toys.

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Department of Human Development and Family Life, University of Kansas, Lawrence 66045.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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