Is socialisation something that parents do to their children?

Essay by greekqueenUniversity, Bachelor'sC, October 2007

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Is socialisation something that parents do to their children?Socialisation is an interactive and dynamic process by which children make sense of their lives. It is the process through which a child becomes an active competent participant in one or more communities.

How much of this process is carried out fundamentally by parents, and how much by other "sets" of people a child comes into contact with, will be the subject of this essay. The extent to which socialisation is a reciprocal process with the child actively involved in their socialisation will also be explored.

Rudolph Schaffer, a British psychologist, (discussed in chapter 1 "What is Socialisation" section 3.2) studied child rearing beliefs and practices. He identified four models of socialising as done by parents in their child rearing practices i.e. "Laissez-faire", "Clay moulding", "Conflict" and "Mutuality", and linked these models to recognised discourses on children and childhood, namely the Romantic, Tabla Rasa or Blank Slate, and the Puritan discourses.

Scaffer (p 11) suggests that each child-rearing model can be linked to ideas of how children should be treated (discourses).


4. Laissez faire - sees the child as pre-formed and allows/expects the child to develop at their own rate, to move on when they are ready (within widely defined parameters), e.g in the Mundurucu (Ch 1 Reading A p34.) Boys from the age of 8 progressively spend more time in the men's hut and less with their mothers. So the socialising could be said to pass from the mother to the father at this point. In our schools the laissez-faire belief means much more freedom for the child to follow their own interests and develop in areas that interest them. It could be said that the laissez faire parenting style is actually a cop out of parental responsibilities; this...