Parents’ Impact on Pregender Children’s Toy Preferences
Boe, Joshua Leroy
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Societal messages of what it means to be a boy or a girl influence children at an early age, shaping their developing identities into adulthood. Parents, for example, offer children toys and other objects that are gender-specific; trucks for boys and dolls for girls. Researchers have recognized the need to focus on gender development in infancy and toddlerhood. Although this research has been mixed, studies have revealed some gender-typed toy preferences. These preferences have been primarily attributed to biological factors. In the current study, parents’ encouragement and previous exposure to certain toys and infants’ and toddlers’ baseline and posttest toy preferences were assessed. Results indicated that parents’ encouragement and previous exposure were ineffective in shaping infants’ and toddlers’ toy preferences. Four-month-olds did not show a preference, while twelve-month-old male toddlers preferred the trucks. These results are consistent with previous research. Implications of the current study and future research are discussed.