Review of B.I. Fagot's examination of infant/toddler gender and parental response to gender-based play.

Essay by jn1009University, Bachelor'sA, October 2007

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Fagot’s examination of parental reactions to the actions of their toddlers based upon sex has all the traits of a valid psychological study with the exception of results of any kind. She readily admits this within the article when she states “it is not possible to determine whether parents behaved differently to the two sexes because the children behaved differently or whether the parent’s reaction to the specific behavior was influenced by the sex of the child” (p. 460). She further undermines her own study when citing the example of the seemingly sex-based parental reactions to their toddlers asking for help. While the argument is well laid out, she proceeds to offer numerous alternate explanations for the behavior of the parents.

In an attempt to understand the shortcomings of this study, the method in which it was conducted must be examined. While the method initially appears valid and that it should lead to convincing results, several shortcomings made themselves apparent.

The small sample size precludes this study from having far reaching or conclusive results, a fact acknowledged by Fagot. Additionally, criteria for choosing the parents required they only have one child of toddler age. While this may make observation an easier task it precludes observing the same set of parents interacting with children of different sexes. Thus, the result attained from observing this small sample size with only one child per couple reflect the individual differences in parenting styles or temperament in the child as much as they do the parental reaction to the child’s actions based upon their gender. Since the method was flawed the results, or lack there of, consist of a collection of data which may be as much statistical anomalies as they are actual conclusions.

Although the study was fundamentally flawed, I personally agree with the...