Gender typing (everything you need to know)

In this article, we will explain what gender typing is, when do children become aware of their gender identity. To support this theme, we will also give you advice on how to talk to a child about sex and gender identity. 

What is gender typing? 

Gender typing is a term to describe the moment when a child becomes aware of his/her sexual identity, and thus adopts a gender identity. 

One of the most talked-about topics today is the issue of gender identity, especially due to the value and religious debates it has generated in public opinion. When do children become aware if they are male or female? According to the American Pediatric Association (AAP), “When children can express themselves, they will declare themselves a boy or a girl. That is their gender identity.”

Besides, they determined that this identity is clarified near “2 years of age” since at that time the minors are “aware of the physical differences between boys and girls.” 

Although other specialists explain that there is no certain age. The identity construction process occurs in stages, and sociologists use the concept of interpretive reproduction to explain it.

In the early years, boys learn gender roles and behaviours — that is, “the things boys do and the things girls do,” – and this is what we call gender typing.

However, over time, society has recognized that stereotypes of female and male behaviours and their characteristics are not exact. For example, in the past girls could only do feminine things like playing with dolls and cooking; while boys played with cars, keep in mind that the toys they choose are not a sign of an option. 

That is if a girl takes a car or a boy takes a doll, she is not talking about her sexual identity. The ideal position is to listen to the children and for them to choose, according to specialists.

One of the most beloved couples in Hollywood is also an example of showing us how to dialogue with children and understand their positions. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have let their daughter Shiloh Nouvel wear men’s clothing and be comfortable with her gender identity.

Discussing sex and gender with your child: what helps and what doesn’t

At what age should I talk about sex with the baby? Sexuality is a component of everyone’s life, regardless of age. As the child grows and develops, he can joke with friends by sharing “eye-catching” points or he can look up taboo words in the dictionary. The child’s curiosity is normal, and children of all ages have questions. When your child is ready to ask you, you, as a parent, should be prepared to give him the answers.

How to get started

Every day some situations offer you many opportunities to explain to the child various topics related to sex. These are good learning opportunities. 

For example, talking to her about body parts during a bath is more effective than doing it during dinner. Pregnancy or family birth is a good opportunity to explain to them how children are conceived and how they are born. 

When you watch TV with your child, it is a good opportunity to talk to them about sexuality. The moments when you can explain them can be anywhere – shopping, at the movies, even in the park. Use them when they appear. You don’t need to give him a speech. 

First, find out what the child already knows. Let him guide the discussion through his questions. Some children do not ask for information if they find it difficult to answer, while others may test you with embarrassing questions. 

Talk openly and tell the child that he can ask you about any subject. When you start asking questions, the following tips may be helpful to both you and your child:

  • Don’t laugh or giggle, even if the questions are funny. The child should not feel ashamed because he is curious.
  • Try not to seem too overwhelmed or too serious about the subject.
  • Be short. Don’t dwell on the explanations. Answer in simple terms.
  • Be honest. Uses common names for all parts of the body.
  • See if the child wants or needs to know more. After you answer them, ask him if he answered the question.
  • Pay attention to the child’s answers and reactions.
  • Be ready to repeat them if necessary.

If you don’t feel comfortable talking about sex or answering certain questions, be honest about it. Seek the advice of a relative, family friend or paediatrician to help you talk to your child.

What questions to expect

The questions the child asks and the right answers depend on his age and ability to understand.

The following are topics that the child can ask about, as well as information about what they should know depending on their age:

Preschool children

“How did I get into your belly?”, “Where was I before I got into your belly?”, “How did I get out of your belly ?,” Where do the babies come from? “,” How come the girls didn’t have a penis? “

18 months – 3 years

The child will begin to learn about his own body. It is important to teach him the correct names of body parts. Renaming body parts can shape the idea that there is something wrong with real names. Also, teach your child which parts of the body are intimate (the parts covered by the swimsuit).

4-5 years

The child may begin to show interest in basic sexuality, both his and the opposite sex. He can ask where the children come from. They may want to know why girls and boys have different bodies. It can affect the genitals and may even show interest in the genitals of other children. 

These are not adult sexual activities, but signs of normal interest. In any case, the child needs to invest what is good to do and what is not. Setting boundaries in exploration is truly a family issue. You can decide to teach your child the following:

  • The interest in the genitals is healthy and natural.
  • Nudity and sexual exposure in public are not okay.
  • No other person, not even close friends or relatives, can touch his “private parts”. Exceptions are doctors and nurses during the physical consultation, as well as their parents when trying to discover the cause of pain in the genital area.

School children

“How old must girls be to have children?”, “Why do boys have erections?”, “What is the menstrual period?”, “How do men have sexual intercourse?”, “Why do men like women? “.

5-7 years

 The child learns much more about the relationships between people. He may become interested in sexual intercourse between adults. His questions will be more complex as he tries to understand the connection between sexuality and the conception of children. 

It may even come with its explanations of how the body works or how children come into the world. He can also ask for answers from friends. It is important to help the child understand sexuality in a healthy way. The lessons and values ​​he learns at this age will accompany him into adulthood and will support his meaningful relationships from adulthood.

8-9 years

 Your child has most likely already developed a sense of what is right and what is wrong. He is now able to understand that sex is something that happens between two people who love each other. The child may become interested in how the mother and father met and fell in love. 

As questions about love and marriage arise, the child may also ask about homosexual relationships. Use this opportunity to explain the family’s opinion on the subject. Explain that liking or loving someone does not depend on the person’s gender and that this differs from pleasing someone in sexual terms.

At this age, the baby will go through many changes that will prepare him for puberty. As he becomes more aware of his sexuality, it is important to talk to him about postponing sexual intercourse for later, when he grows up. 

You could also talk to him about contraceptives and sexually transmitted diseases, especially AIDS. Make sure he understands how these diseases spread and how he can protect himself from them and a pregnancy. Teaching your child to be responsible for sex is one of the most important lessons in life.

Do not forget

The conversation about sex and sexuality allows you to share your values ​​and opinions with your child. Sometimes the subject or questions may seem embarrassing, but the child must know that there is always a credible and sincere source to ask the questions – you.

FAQ on gender typing

What is an example of gender typing?

An example of gender typing is a girl who grows up to be a woman and who considers herself belonging to the feminine gender. 

What does gender typing mean?

Gender typing is a term to describe the moment when a child becomes aware of his/her sexual identity, and thus adopts a gender identity. 

What is the difference between Genderfluid and non-binary?

Gender fluidity is a gender identity that can change over time and you have the feeling that you do not have a defined gender. Non- binary tends to be used as more of a catchall for people who do not identify with the binary categories of male and female. 

What is the difference between binary and Nonbinary?

Binary means having two-parts/identities/genders (male and female). Non- binary tends to be used as more of a catchall for people who do not identify with the binary categories of male and female. 

What is social dysphoria?

Social dysphoria is a type of dysphoria linked to particular social situations. Thus, a person may have social dysphoria when having to explain their gender identity, when they are judged based on their appearance, when they meet someone new, at a job interview, and so on. 

Conclusions

In this article, we explained what gender typing is, when do children become aware of their gender identity. We also gave you advice on how to talk to a child about sex and gender identity. 

Gender typing is a term to describe the moment when a child becomes aware of his/her sexual identity, and thus adopts a gender identity. 

Society has recognized that stereotypes of female and male behaviours and their characteristics are not exact. For example, in the past girls could only do feminine things like playing with dolls and cooking; while boys played with cars, keep in mind that the toys they choose are not a sign of an option. 

That is if a girl takes a car or a boy takes a doll, she is not talking about her sexual identity. The ideal position is to listen to the children and for them to choose according to specialists.

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!

Further reading

Gender Typing of Children’s Toys: How Early Play Experiences Impact Development, by Erica Weisgram 

Gender and Development (Current Issues in Developmental Psychology), by Patrick Leman 

 The Development of Sex Typing in Middle Childhood (Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development), by Serbin

Current Conceptions of Sex Roles and Sex Typing: Theory and Research, by Bruce Carter 

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What we recommend for Relationship & LGBTQ issues

Relationship counselling

  • If you are having relationship issues or maybe you are in an abusive relationship then relationship counselling could be your first point of call. Relationship counselling could be undertaken by just you, it does not require more than one person.

LGBTQ issues

If you are dealing with LGBTQ issues then LGBTQ counselling may be a great option for you. Maybe you are confused as to your role and identity or simply need someone to speak to. LGBTQ counsellors are specially trained to assist you in this regard.

References

“Gender Typing: Biological Views of Genetics & Hormones.” Study.com, 31 January 2018

wikipedia.org – Gender typing

Dictionary.apa.org

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