Originally Posted at TSP Discoveries
In the United States we tend to think children develop sexuality in adolescence, but new research by Heidi Gansen shows that children learn the rules and beliefs associated with romantic relationships and sexuality much earlier.
Gansen spent over 400 hours in nine different classrooms in three Michigan preschools. She observed behavior from teachers and students during daytime classroom hours and concluded that children learn — via teachers’ practices — that heterosexual relationships are normal and that boys and girls have very different roles to play in them.
In some classrooms, teachers actively encouraged “crushes” and kissing between boys and girls. Teachers assumed that any form of affection between opposite gender children was romantically-motivated and these teachers talked about the children as if they were in a romantic relationship, calling them “boyfriend/girlfriend.” On the other hand, the same teachers interpreted affection between children of the same gender as friendly, but not romantic. Children reproduced these beliefs when they played “house” in these classrooms. Rarely did children ever suggest that girls played the role of “dad” or boys played the role of “mom.” If they did, other children would propose a character they deemed more gender-appropriate like a sibling or a cousin.
Preschoolers also learned that boys have power over girls’ bodies in the classroom. In one case, teachers witnessed a boy kiss a girl on the cheek without permission. While teachers in some schools enforced what the author calls “kissing consent” rules, the teachers in this school interpreted the kiss as “sweet” and as the result of a harmless crush. Teachers also did not police boys’ sexual behaviors as actively as girls’ behaviors. For instance, when girls pulled their pants down teachers disciplined them, while teachers often ignored the same behavior from boys. Thus, children learned that rules for romance also differ by gender.
Allison Nobles is a PhD candidate in sociology at the University of Minnesota and Graduate Editor at The Society Pages. Her research primarily focuses on sexuality and gender, and their intersections with race, immigration, and law.
a — January 25, 2018
I would love to know if teachers in the Scandinavian countries where a master's degree is required exhibit similar behavior toward the children.
Weekly Wednesday’s What’s-happening-in-the-world: a round-up of news articles at noon 31/01/2018 – Drunk Tree — February 21, 2018
[…] The important cultural dimensions to the gendered policing of relationships are continuously overlooked by many LGBT advocates and simplistic pop songs like Lady Gaga’s Born This Way. Here is an interesting piece involving a study of 9 preschool classrooms that identifies multiple subtleties through which teachers reinforce cultural… […]
David Jackson — March 5, 2019
Really informative article. Thank you for sharing this knowledgeable article about children learn rules. I totally agree with this article and much appreciated to the author for sharing this valuable article. Anyway, I am David a professional academic writer and students adviser. Interested people can check this useful link to know more information about me. My passion is writing and helping students for enhancing their writing skill. Thank you.!
Cynthia Coleman — April 24, 2019
Is it? But of course, appreciable initiative. Sex education has been a mandatory part of education to prevent sexual amusement. Though children are learning romance here as well, I never find any negativity here. I have noticed that college students have some confusion regarding sex. It is because they didn’t get proper sex education in school. They approach me as I am involved with academic writing on https://sky-writer.com/essaylab-review/. I can feel their problems and confusion about sex and romance. So, I personally support this initiative.
Temecca Martin — April 24, 2019
Great News! Glad to read it. Sex education has been a mandatory part of education to prevent sexual amusement. Though children are learning romance here as well, I never find any negativity here. I have noticed that college students have some confusion regarding sex. It is because they didn’t get proper sex education in school. They approach me as I am involved with academic writing on https://sky-writer.com/essaylab-review/. I can feel their problems and confusion about sex and romance. So, I personally support this initiative. I also appreciate the author for sharing this informative post with us. Thank you.!
Darryl H. Alvarez — November 14, 2019
In my opinion, I think they are right if girls and boys spend their time together as a child, they will learn how to live together, how to respect each other and this will be very beneficial for them going forward but now this https://icasinoreviews.info/new-online-casinos-nz/ help gambler to earn a lot money. It’s a nice informative blog and it gives us a very upright message.
Darryl H. Alvarez — November 14, 2019
Check this google and get everything you need.
alizaati — May 21, 2022
Wendy’s is an American international fast food restaurant chain. It was founded on November 15, 1969 by Dave Thomas, in Columbus, Ohio. Wendy’s Breakfast Menu 2022