why is family the most important agent of socialization


Should parents get the credit when their children turn out to be good kids and even go on to accomplish great things in life? Should they get the blame if their children turn out to be bad? No parent deserves all the credit or blame for their childrenБs successes and failures in life, but the evidence indicates that our parents do affect us profoundly. In many ways, we even end up resembling our parents in more than just appearance. The reason we turn out much like our parents, for better or worse, is that our families are such an important part of our socialization process. When we are born, our primary caregivers are almost always one or both of our parents. For several years we have more contact with them than with any other adults. Because this contact occurs in our most formative years, our parentsБ interaction with us and the messages they teach us can have a profound impact throughout our lives, as indicated by the stories of Sarah Patton Boyle and Lillian Smith presented earlier. The ways in which our parents socialize us depend on many factors, two of the most important of which are our parentsБ social class and our own biological sex. Melvin Kohn (1965, 1977) found that working-class and middle-class parents tend to socialize their children very differently. Kohn reasoned that working-class parents tend to hold factory and other jobs in which they have little autonomy and instead are told what to do and how to do it. In such jobs, obedience is an important value, lest the workers be punished for not doing their jobs correctly. Working-class parents, Kohn thought, should thus emphasize obedience and respect for authority as they raise their children, and they should favor spanking as a primary way of disciplining their kids when they disobey. In contrast, middle-class parents tend to hold white-collar jobs where autonomy and independent judgment are valued and workers get ahead by being creative.


These parents should emphasize independence as they raise their children and should be less likely than working-class parents to spank their kids when they disobey. If parentsБ social class influences how they raise their children, it is also true that the sex of their children affects how they are socialized by their parents. Many studies find that parents raise their daughters and sons quite differently as they interact with them from birth. We will explore this further in, but suffice it to say here that parents help their girls learn how to act and think Бlike girls,Б and they help their boys learn how to act and think Бlike boys. Б That is, they help their daughters and sons learn their gender (Wood, 2009). For example, they are gentler with their daughters and rougher with their sons. They give their girls dolls to play with, and their boys guns. Girls may be made of Бsugar and spice and everything niceБ and boys something quite different, but their parents help them greatly, for better or worse, turn out that way. To the extent this is true, our gender stems much more from socialization than from biological differences between the sexes, or so most sociologists probably assume. To return to a question posed earlier, if Gilligan is right that boys and girls reach moral judgments differently, socialization matters more than biology for how they reach these judgments. As the БLearning From Other SocietiesБ box illustrates, various cultures socialize their children differently. We can also examine cross-cultural variation in socialization with data from the World Values Survey, which was administered to almost six dozen nations. shows the percentage of people in several countries who think it is Бespecially important for children to learn obedience at home.


Б Here we see some striking differences in the value placed on obedience, with the United States falling somewhat in between the nations in the figure.
1. Using your reading about Agents of Socialization, please list some important points about each agent of socialization: Family School Peers Media 2. Then state whether or not you think its true in your life. Why/why not? Agent S Agents of socialization are groups that we are a part of that shape us significantly throughout our life. Often, the influence these groups have are taken-for-granted so we don\’t realize the significant impact they have on us; in this way I think of them as \”secret agents\” nudging us here or there. – the first agent that has often the greatest impact on a person. Families intentionally teach skills, values and beliefs (manifest lessons), but they also can teach unintentional (latent) lessons. When I was growing up, besides teaching, I considered being a cop or working for the FBI. Both of these were jobs my parents did. It is funny that with so much opportunity in America, how often students pursue careers related to what their parents do. Is this true for you? shows how families influence kids to accept aspects of their culture. – also teaches both manifest lessons like reading and writing and latent lessons like patriotism, consumption and obedience. Consumption in schools is – Starts esp. because of school and cohort groups, becomes significant by adolescence, possibly more intense and more influential than family. Adolescents spend more time with each other than with parents or anyone else. This leads to adolescent subculture. shows how kids activities shape them. – important even if you are not religiously involved yourself. – significant findings that there is less of a bond with mothers if child attends daycare, but daycare kids develop more language skills.

Teaches things like hard work, achievement, teamwork and competitiveness. Work affects adults so much that it becomes a part of their identity. For example, \”What do you do? \” Is a popular greeting when you meet someone new. When adults retire, they often have trouble adjusting to a new life without work because there is a loss in identity. – the average American household has at least one set turned on for 7 hours per day. -the average American child watches 20,000 commercials per year. – TV watching is a routine that children learn before learning to read. – many children spend as much time watching TV as they do interacting with parents. – Sex, violence and wealth are more prevalent in mass media than in real life. – Minorities watch 40% more TV than those in the majority, but they are not involved in the shows. 42% of children under 8 years old have a television in their bedroom. Half (52%) of all 0- to 8-year-olds have access to a new mobile device, such as a smartphone, video iPod, or iPad/tablet. More than a third (38%) of children this age have used one of these devices, including 10% of 0-to 1-year-olds, 39% of 2- to 4-year-olds, and more than half (52%) of 5- to 8-year-olds. In a typical day, one in 10 (11%) 0- to 8-year-olds uses a smartphone, video iPod, iPad, or similar device to play games, watch videos, or use other apps. Those who do such activities spend an average of 43 minutes a day doing so. Checkout how much the big media companies own;. This allows them to cross-market and create a sense that their shows/products are important. Another resource on media ownership is from the Columbia Journalism Review. , but then you can see what other media conglomerates own. , though a little older, highlights the media\’s impact on teens. To highlight how much the media influences us we are watching

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