The most influential agent of socialization for children?

Essay by robmal123High School, 12th grade January 2008

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Socialisation is the scientific study of human behaviour and activities. It is concerned with how human beings think and act as social creatures. Socialisation is the process through which we become human. It is through our interaction with society that we learn what is necessary to live in each society.

There are four main agents of socialisation: family, school, peers, and mass media. Among these agents some sociologists believe that family is the most important to the child's development. Why? Some sociologists believe family is the most important to the child's development, because within the family we learn self-concept, we also learn the basics of who we are. Family is the best arrangement for bringing up children to be mature.

Family is the oldest institution on earth, and it plays a vital role in human society. Most families consist of a father, a mother, and children. Grandparents may live in their own households as long as they can.

While contact is kept up with more distant relatives, responsibilities toward these are limited. Parents are considered role models within the family and therefore have a great bearing on our gender role. Some sociologists believe that children are socialised into their gender roles and hence in their gender identities by the family in a lot of ways. The first of these ways is Manipulation. This consists of parents (or other family members) encouraging behaviour that is seen as the norm for the child's gender and discouraging behaviour that is not considered the norm e.g. congratulating a boy for completing an obstacle course but discouraging a girl from attempting the obstacle course. Another method described by some sociologists is Canalisation. This comprises of parents channelling the child's interests into activities that are considered the norm for their gender e.g. encouraging girls to do...