Hitting and beating used to be common practice child-rearing. In Germany, the use of physical violence in child-rearing has been banned since the year 2000 and is punishable by law.
These days, most people in western Europe try to raise their children by teaching them values like tolerance, pacifism and willingness to participate. All children, both girls and boys, are supposed to be raised to become self-confident individuals. Those caring for children are supposed to show them how to behave.
Generally, we talk and explain more to children today, and they have more freedom than they used to. They are supposed to try more things and develop self-confidence in their own way. Girls and boys are supported and guided by their parents, who provide a friendly sense of authority.
That's the theory, anyway. But what's the reality? Lots of girls play soccer, and boys knit – yet clothing and toys for girls and for boys are still different, and even babies are given either a pink jumpsuit or a blue one.