Handbook of Parenting - Vol. 1

By Marc H. Bornstein | Go to book overview

7
Parenting Girls and Boys
Campbell Leaper
University of California at Santa Cruz

INTRODUCTION

We rarely, if ever, encounter a person for whom we are not permitted to determine “her” or “his” gender. If a child's gender is not apparent, we typically ask questions to find out. We may try an indirect method, such as asking for the child's name, or we may directly ask if the child is a girl or a boy. However, suppose that a person's gender was deliberately kept anonymous. That is the premise in Lois Gould's (1978) children's book, X: A Fabulous Child's Story:

Once upon a time, a Baby named X was born. It was named X so that nobody could tell whether it was a boy or a girl. Its parents could tell, of course, but they couldn't tell anyone else.

The story poignantly highlights the challenges Ms. and Mr. Jones face when rearing a gender-neutral child. Difficulties arise the first day Baby X is visited by friends and relatives:

The first thing they asked was what kind of baby X was. When the Joneses said, 'It's an X!' nobody knew what to say. They couldn't say, 'Look at her cute little dimples!' On the other hand, they couldn't say, 'Look at his husky little biceps!'

More problems arise later in the story when X becomes old enough for the first day of school:

You couldn't tell what X was by its clothes. Overalls don't even button right to left, like girls' clothes, or left to right, like boys' clothes. And did X have a girl's short haircut or a boy's long haircut? As for the games X liked, either X played ball very well for a girl, or else played house very well for a boy. The children tried to find out by asking X tricky questions, like, 'Who's your favorite sports star?' X had two favorite sports stars: a girl jockey named Robyn Smith and a boy archery champion named Robin Hood.

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Handbook of Parenting - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents of Volume 1: Children and Parenting vii
  • Preface ix
  • Foreword xiii
  • References xv
  • Foreword xvii
  • Contents of Volume 2: Biology and Ecology of Parenting xxi
  • Contents of Volume 3: Being and Becoming a Parent xxiii
  • Contents of Volume 4: Social Conditions and Applied Parenting xxvii
  • Contents of Volume 5: Practical Issues in Parenting xxix
  • About the Authors in Volume 1 xxxiii
  • Handbook of Parenting *
  • Part I - Parenting Children and Older People 1
  • 1 - Parenting Infants 3
  • References *
  • 2 - Parenting Toddlers 45
  • References *
  • 3 - Parenting During Middle Childhood 73
  • References 94
  • 4 - Parenting Adolescents 103
  • References 127
  • 5 - Parent–child Relationships in Adulthood and Later Years 135
  • References *
  • Part II - Parenting Children of Varying Status 163
  • 6 - Parenting Siblings 165
  • References *
  • 7 - Parenting Girls and Boys 189
  • References 216
  • 8 - Parenting Twins and the Genetics of Parenting 227
  • References *
  • 9 - Child Temperament and Parenting 255
  • References *
  • 10 - Parenting and Child Development in Adoptive Families 279
  • References 305
  • 11 - Foster Parenting 313
  • References *
  • 12 - Parenting Children Born Preterm 329
  • References *
  • 13 - Parenting Children with Mental Retardation 355
  • References *
  • 14 - Parents of Aggressive and Withdrawn Children 383
  • References *
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