Family is the first and most essential socialising agent. Kids learn what they need to know through their parents, siblings, grandparents, and other family members. They teach the child, for example, how to use objects (such as clothes, computers, eating utensils, books, and bikes); how to relate to others (some as “family,” others as “friends,” still others as “strangers,” “teachers,” or “neighbours”); and how the world works (what is “real” and what is “imagined”). As you are aware, either from your own experience as a kid or through your involvement in raising one, socialisation entails teaching and learning about an infinite number of items and ideas. Because our families are such a significant part of our socialisation process, we end up looking a lot like our parents, for better or worse. When we are born, one or both of our parents are nearly always our primary caretakers. We have had more interaction with them than with any other adult for several years. Because this contact happens during our most formative years, our parents’ interactions with us and the things they teach us can have a life-long influence.
However, keep in mind that families do not socialise their Kids in a vacuum. Many societal influences influence how a family raises their Kids. We can, for example, use our imagination to notice that individual behaviours are influenced by the historical time in which they occur. It would not have been regarded particularly harsh for a father to smack his kid with a wooden spoon or a belt if he misbehaved sixty years ago, but in certain locations now, that same behaviour may be called child abuse.
Sociologists recognise the importance of race, socioeconomic class, religion, and other cultural influences in family socialisation. Depending on the values they believe, families may socialise for obedience and compliance, judgement, creativity, and problem-solving. Kids may also be trained to conform to gender standards, racial beliefs, and class-related behaviours.
Most Kids spend nearly seven hours each day, 180 days annually, in school, making it difficult to dispute the role of education in their socialisation. Students are not at school just to study arithmetic, reading, science, and other subjects—the system’s obvious role. Schools also provide a societal function by socialising Kids into behaviours such as exercising collaboration, attending to a timetable, and utilising textbooks. School and classroom rituals, guided by teachers who serve as role models and leaders, reinforce what society expects of students on a daily basis. Sociologists refer to this component of schools as the hidden curriculum, or the informal instruction that schools provide.
Schools, for example, have created a feeling of competitiveness into the way grades are assigned and teachers evaluate pupils. When youngsters compete in a relay race or a math contest, they learn that in society, there are winners and losers. When Kids are compelled to work on a project with others, they develop collaboration in cooperative conditions. The unspoken curriculum prepares youngsters for adulthood. Kids learn how to cope with bureaucracy, regulations, and expectations, as well as how to wait their turn and remain still for hours at a time. Schools socialise Kids differently in different cultures in order to prepare them to operate properly in those cultures. Kids are also socialised in schools by learning about citizenship and national pride.
How many times as a 16-year-old did you protest to your parent(s), “All of my friends are [doing so and so]?” Why can’t I do it? It’s not fair!” As this all-too-common case shows, our friends are extremely crucial in our lives. This is especially true throughout adolescence, when peers affect our interests in music, clothing, and so many other parts of our lives, as the now-famous image of the kid always on the phone reminds us. However, friends are also crucial in other aspects of life. We rely on them for entertainment, emotional comfort and support, and friendship. That is the benefit of friendship.
Social comparison is a disadvantage of friendships that you are definitely aware of. Assume it’s Friday night, and you’re cramming for a huge exam on Monday. Your buddies approach you and invite you to join them for pizza and a drink. You’d probably agree to go with them, partially because you despise studying on a Friday night, but also because you’re under some subliminal pressure to do so. As this example shows, our friends may impact us in a variety of ways. Their interests in cinema, music, and other parts of popular culture might influence our own during adolescence. Adolescent peer influences have also been linked to underage drinking, drug usage, delinquency, and hate crimes. When we reach our twenties and thirties, our peers become less significant in our life, especially if we marry.
Employees, like Kids, spend a large portion of their day at school. Although they have been socialised into their culture from birth, workers require new socialisation into a workplace, in terms of both material and nonmaterial culture.