The family’s influence on socialization has been decreasing on the recent past. The family plays a vital part in socialization. It is within the family that the basic personality, attitudes, values and moral ideas are laid down. It is upon this foundation that adult socialization is built. The socialization of a child is not only the function of the parents but also those of the extended family at large living with the child’s parents also participate as the socializing agent.
The parent in conjunction with other socializing agents has the task of directing the behavioral development of the child towards the desired normative socially valued goals. While the parent is doing this he acts as a feedback mechanism of environmental information to his child, thus communicating messages to the child about what the parent sees as discrepancies in the child’s current behavior as he attempts to eliminate these discrepancies through training.
But more immediately however, the parents’ training program is determined by his phenomenal field, a field in which environmental information is only one of several forces and may be muted in its effect on parental behavior. From general observation most parents use reward, punishment and instructions to shape the child’s behavior in the direction of social norms within the home and the environment. The child’s behavioral development goes on regardless of whether anyone is attempting to manipulate it to produce desirable habits.
Maturational processes make new forms of behavior possible and the child is continuously interacting with his family members, experiencing gratification and frustration, suffering trauma and separation acquiring attachments and avoidances, observing the behavior of immediate family members, spontaneously imitating what he sees and developing pleasant and frightening fantasies and increasing differentiated patterns of thought and action. Parents usually begin to train their children the general domestic duties at about the age of six or seven years.
As soon as the child is old enough and sensible enough to comprehend instructions, he starts to perform tasks by copying the activities of the family members. Various roles that used to be carried out by the family have been taken over by some agents such as counselors, media, peer groups, schools and many others. This roles includes but not limited to ; Training of children which is currently done in school while parents are busy working to raise some income. The other agents of socialization for a child include nursery or kindergarten schools, day care centers as well as primary and secondary schools and universities.
Peer groups perform specific functions that include; Courtship – Role rehearsals such as courting behavior, sex-role adoption, and expression of aggression which among the role families used to play. Roles such as courting were mainly covered within the family circles but these days peers have had more influence. Peer group controls the affection, the approval and prestige accorded to the children. Because of this significant role, it performs important functions in the personality development of the child. They also play the role of inculcating new skills to children.
Teachers also assume the role of parents and try to inculcate their values into the child. A child learns all kinds of skills from the teachers like technical skills and other skills that will shape and influence their future life. Role of shaping children behavior has been left to schools. Children are trained on how to become tolerant to each other and how to cope with difficult situations in life by becoming tolerant schools. Such changes will affect social relationships in our society because some of these agents might influence bad behaviors to the young children.
Due to peer group influence a child can develop unacceptable behavior. The social relations in the society will be affected because as children mix up with others in schools they develop some unacceptable behaviors. The roles that have been taken by other socialization agents from the family have resulted to the coming of a culture that is not generally acceptable. The young generation which spends most of their time in schools away from their parents will develop behaviors that the elders do not prefer within the community.
For example through peer group influence the young generation get exposed and influenced by the hip hop music, learning new characters that the old generation is against. Due to great exposure, influence of technology, peer group influence and the education gained by the young generation will not regard the views of their family members. Hence it will be difficult for the family to guide and shape the behavior of their young generation.
REFERENCES Sullivan T. J. (2003) ; Sociology: concepts and applications in a diverse world; Addison-Wesley