Parents exert the most significant influence on children's views of gender roles

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Children's social development is influenced by what they are exposed to in the home. Until children venture out among diverse social environments, their chief models of behavior are their parents. Parental behaviors may set standards that determine the type of mental associations children make for the rest of their lives. At childhood, individuals are socialized into many of their core beliefs through their parents, namely, chidren typically assimilate their parents' religious beliefs, values, and culture. Similarly, the home is where children may first witness interactions between members of opposite genders. For instance, if a child sees a man and woman reconcile difference peaceably, she may have more faith in peaceful methods of resolving conflict. However, if a child is constantly exposed to violence between his parents, he may view physical means as the only way of resolving conflict. Another type of observation children can make is of the way they are treated in relation to the way their siblings of the opposite sex are treated.

For example, a female child may notice that her brother receives more freedom and authority she does. Alternatively, she may consider why her father stays home while her mother goes to work. These impressions are likely to remain in children's memories and to perhaps permanently affect their perspectives on gender issues.

The socialization of gender differentiation begins from birth, when gender-appropriate colors and gender-specific toys are usually first introduced. Even subtler are the ways in which parents, perhaps unconsciously, encourage their infants' preferences and behaviors to conform to cultural expectations. Female infants are often given dolls and toy ovens, apparently to prepare them for their role as mothers. Male infants are given trucks and tool sets, seemingly to groom them for the role of workers and providers. Parents are the first enforcers of cultural expectations,