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"Poor the student who cannot surpass his teacher." - Zerosampson

Agents of Socialization

  • Date Submitted: 10/08/2012 12:42 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 46.5 
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Agents of Socialization
The Family
The family affects socialization in many ways. For most people, in fact, the family may be the most important socialization agent of all. Infants are totally dependent on others for care. The responsibility for providing a safe and caring environment typically falls on parents and other family members. For several years—at least until children begin school—the family also has the job of teaching children skills, values, and beliefs. Children also learn from the type of environment adults create for them. Whether children learn to see themselves as strong or weak, smart or stupid, loved or simply tolerated—and as Erik Erikson suggests, whether they see the world as trustworthy or dangerous— depends largely on the quality of the surroundings provided by parents and other caregivers.
Through the family, parents give a social identity to children. In part, social identity involves race. Social class, like race, plays a large part in shaping a child’s personality. Whether born into families of high or low social position, children gradually come to realize that their family’s social standing affects how others see them and, in time, how they come to see themselves.In addition, research shows that class position affects not just how much money parents have to spend on their children but also what parents expect of them.
Melvin Kohn explains that people of lower social standing usually have limited education and perform routine jobs under close supervision. Expecting that their children will hold similar positions, they encourage obedience and may even use physical punishment like spanking to get it. Because well-off parents have had more schooling, they usually have jobs that demand independence, imagination, and creativity, so they try to inspire the same qualities in their children. Wealthier parents are more likely to push their children to achieve, and they also typically provide their daughters and sons with an...


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