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18-07-2020 | Uitgave 4/2020

Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review 4/2020

The Effects of Gendered Parenting on Child Development Outcomes: A Systematic Review

Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review > Uitgave 4/2020
Alina Morawska
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Gender role development occurs in the earliest months and years of a child’s life. Parental attitudes, behaviours and modelling are likely to play a significant role in this process; however, to date no review has been conducted to consolidate knowledge of the effects of differential parenting on child development. This systematic review aimed to investigate the evidence for differential parenting behaviours based on child gender that affect child development, across six areas (vocalisation, socialisation, play, toys, dress and décor). Searches were conducted for English article using four databases: psycINFO, CINAHL, Sociological Abstract, and SCOPUS. The inclusion criteria were biological or adoptive parents, of a typically developing child aged below five, using any parenting behaviour or strategies that differed by child gender. 45 studies were included in this systematic review (14 vocalisation, 21 socialisation, 7 play, 3 toys). A variety of gender-differentiated parenting behaviours and child outcomes were examined. The review found evidence that parents do respond differently to their children. Parents vocalised differently, used different socialising strategies, played differently and provided different toys to their sons and daughters. This differential parenting was associated with some differences in child development across child gender, including differences in child vocalisation, displays of affect, pain responses, compliance, toy play and aggression. However, the overall quality of the evidence, the lack of longitudinal studies and the heterogeneous nature of the outcomes examined suggest the need for a systematic approach to examining the nature and effects of differential parenting on children’s development.

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