Girls, Boys, and Teenagers
ALTHOUGH THE RELATION between sexes is fairly complex, it is not difficult for children to recognize the contours of such relations or perceive the various norms that society establishes because children are exposed to these norms gradually. As the children mature, parents, families, and other institutions in society make increasingly clearer to children and teenagers the ways in which boys and girls are expected to relate to one another.
The establishment of clear norms actually begins while children are quite young. Consider a few examples. When young boys and girls reach a certain age (five or six), they are no longer permitted to see each other undressed. Busy moms and dads often bathe their toddlers together in one tub, but by the time they are setting off to kindergarten, their sons and daughters have different bath times. It is also true that at a certain point in school boys and girls start using separate bathrooms. While the unisex bathroom scene might be prevalent at some trendy colleges and universities, it is not going to spread to primary and secondary schools any time soon.
All of us can remember the rather rough and tumble days of childhood; young children can be pretty physical with each other. In the early grades of primary