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Newborns do not have any language, culture, as well as personality. It is the collective responsibility of the parents, instructors, the church, and the society at large to instill the socially acceptable values in the children. Consequently, socialization is the process of cultivating customs and moral values to the child (Grusec & Hastings, 2015). A child ought to acquire the desired characteristics of a particular society and live within the ethical standards of the community. My family background influenced how I interacted with my siblings, friends, and the other students at the school. I learned how to become self-reliant, endure stressful situations, and to work with the other people. In fact, I can withstand negative pressure and persevere awkward situations because I adopted that value from my parents and religious leaders. This paper, then, will highlight the entire process of socialization, the concepts of defining an individual, and at least four agents of socialization which affect the development and the growth of a person.
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Fundamentally, socialization is crucial in defining a person regarding his roles. Since childhood, a child has acquired various functions through observation, demonstration, imitation, and practice. At that stage, the parents should play a vital role in shaping the general behavior of a young person. Notably, since infancy, a teen should recognize her characters in the community (Grusec & Hastings, 2015). Such tasks include assisting in the household chores, doing school assignments, participating in the sports events, and respecting the other people. Additionally, a young person should acquire the value of collaboration and its importance in the society. So, socialization enables a child to work with the other peers, which promotes a good rapport, tolerance, endurance, and accepting the opinions of other people. Since socialization is the continuous process, as the children age, they acquire new statuses which come with attitudes and expectations. For example, a ten-year-old child will have new experiences, roles, and expectations at the age of twenty.
There are crucial agents of socialization which influence the transformation of a person from childhood to adulthood. Foremost, the family is the primary factor which shapes the overall conduct of an infant. The parents, the siblings, and the members of the extended family play a significant role in teaching the customs and the traditions of the society (Ballantine & Spade, 2012). In the family, a baby learns necessary things like how to use simple objects like forks, spoons, toy mobile phones, toy cars, as well as bicycles. Besides, the family members help a child on how to relate to the other people such as aunts, uncles, grandparents, elder and younger siblings, and visitors. The kid has to know how to behave in certain situations so that she does not contradict the norms of the family. At home, a child obtains the appropriate language, virtues such as obedience, respect, humility, and responsibility. In fact, it is the collective duty of the family members to teach the children the appropriate behavior and expectations. The parents should set a good example so that the young ones can emulate.
Necessarily, there are social factors that influence the way in which a family brings up the children. First, the way in which guardians raise their children varies with time (Ballantine & Spade, 2012). For instance, in the 19th century, a mother would use various means of punishing a child such as using a belt to hit. However, in this century, a parent is likely to face the full force of the law for using such a method of punishment since it is a form of physical abuse against the juvenile. In the past, it was disrespectful for a child to engage in an adult conversation, however, in the modern day society, parents engage their teenagers in discussions to handle problems that they are facing. Additionally, it was unheard of to see young people participating in substance and drug abuse because only the adults took alcoholic drinks. However, recently, many boys and girls have indulged in the consumption of beer, because they have seen their family members gratify in practice.
According to scholars, factors such as religion, social class, and race form a significant role in socialization. Research has shown that parents from low socioeconomic background cultivate the values of obedience and respect to authority. Since most of the poor people have little education and unstable jobs, they emphasize on adherence to the rules and regulations of the company, and the violation of such laws leads to dire consequences. Similarly, the high socioeconomic parents stress on innovation and judgment to their kids (Wanberg, 2012). Since the wealthy parents have the quality education, they emphasize professions that involve creative problem-solving approach. Hence, the wealthy guardians will ask their kids to consider such beneficial careers to become successful in the future. Besides, the gender of the child determines the process of socialization. A boy child might not get the attention that many parents give to the girl child. Hence, a boy is likely to grow up solving his challenges, unlike a girl who mostly depends on the relatives to solutions. When I was growing up, my father always reminded me to become a doctor and own a hospital.
The school is another primary agent that influences socialization. Apart from curriculum development, the students learn how to relate to one another, embrace the spirit of collaboration, and adherence to rules and regulations (Wanberg, 2012). The educators at school influence the process of socialization because they spend many hours with the learners. When I was thirteen years, my Science teacher motivated me to embrace a practical approach when solving problems, a value that I have practiced since then. Religion is another agent that determines the process of socialization. Every religion has its norms and doctrines which the followers must obey. Since my family has a Christian background, the religion taught me the need to submit to my elders, helping the less fortunate in the society, and treating everybody with equality and justice.
In the 21st century, the most influential agent of secondary socialization is the media. The forms of media include the televisions, the newspapers, and the social media. The media have both positive and negative impact on the process of socialization (Wanberg, 2012). The watching of TV during my childhood years enabled me to boost my communication skills and self-esteem. Additionally, peers influence one another as far as socialization is concerned. One’s choice of friends will determine their behavior, priorities, and preferences. When I was ten years, most of my friends played football, whereas, I preferred basketball. However, the friends compelled me to ditch basket for soccer because I wanted to identify with that specific group. Similarly, the parents should find out the kind of friends that hang out with their children, as well as know the family background. Such a step will enable one to find out the type of allies that associate with our children. Therefore, peers play an essential role in the process of socialization.
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Ultimately, since the development of socialization begins immediately after birth, the agents of the process should ensure that they instill the relevant values to the children. There are two primary ways of enhancing an effective socialization, that is, the formal and the informal approaches. The official system entails the learning that takes place in a classroom. The characteristics of formal education include a syllabus, well-trained teachers, and formative and summative assessment. On the other hand, informal learning takes place anywhere and anytime through observation and imitation. Even though genes influence the personality of an individual, socialization plays a significant role in the way a person behaves. For instance, socialization enables a boy to acquire the responsibilities of a husband and a father. Similarly, a girl learns how to become a wife, a mother, and a role model to the children. Socialization, thus, plays a vital role in molding the character traits of an individual.
- Ballantine, J. H., & Spade, J. Z. (2012). Schools and society: A sociological approach to education. Los Angeles: Sage/Pine Forge Press.
- Grusec, J. E., & Hastings, P. D. (2015). Handbook of socialization: Theory and research. New York City: Guilford Publications.
- Wanberg, C. R. (2012). The Oxford handbook of organizational socialization. New York: Oxford University Press.