Gender is the main factor in social reasoning during school years, but these relations are moderated and influenced by friendship. The two sexes have different agendas in relationships. Girls seem to be to enjoy an intimate, one-to-one relationship. Young girls, on average, are reported to show more pleasure in one-to-one interaction. They are more likely to want reciprocal friendships, and to express intimacy. For example, girls are more likely to say sweet things to one another (things you hardly ever hear between boys), or caress or arrange each other's hair, or sit close to or touch the other person.
Another difference is the concern that girls show about the current status of their friendships, and about what would happen if their friendship broke up. Girls, on average, are more concerned about the potential loss of an intimate friendship. Girls in later childhood spend a lot of time talking about who is whose best friend, and get very emotional if they are excluded from relationships in the playground. Sulking is not uncommon. For girls, just as it is for many women, the important thing is to spend time communicating and nurturing their close relationships, without any necessary focus on an activity. “McGuire and Weisz found that 10 to 12-year-old children with chums exhibited higher levels of altruism and affective perspective-taking skills (i. e. , “social sensitivity") than those without friends".
Girls also tend to spend more time cementing the closeness of their relationships by disclosing secrets, and by confessing their fears and weaknesses. Boys, in contrast, reveal their weaknesses less often, and in some cases never. Although increased self-disclosure between girls leads to closer relationships, it also leaves them more open to gossip—there is more fuel for gossip, as it were. Girls seem to be more willing to take this gamble, however, since the pay-off of self-disclosure is intimacy. The upshot of all this is that relationships between girls, and their break ups, are more emotional.
Most boys in late childhood have relationships based on the game that they want to play. So if the game is soccer, they select one group to play with; if the game is skateboarding, they may select another group of friends. This is not so different for many men, who may play poker with one set of friends, and golf with another set.
Another difference is that the boys’ dominance hierarchies tended to last the whole summer, whereas the girls’ groups typically split up much sooner. The result of this was that fairly soon the girls would spend more time in groups of two or three, chatting together and getting intimate with their “best friend. " The boys instead remained largely involved in group-competitive activities against other groups, with the leader directing them. The other conclusion to emerge from this is that boys are far less reticent about making someone feel less equal than them. They will not lose sleep over the feelings of the poor boy at the bottom of the pile. They even enjoy their higher status. They are also more ready to physically hurt someone, or explicitly hurt their feelings, to increase their status.
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