Agents of Socialization

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Agents of Socialization
There are many important agents of socialization and important messages that convey over the course of life. Two specific agents of socialization that I chose to write about are family and social class.

Socialization at the micro level begins from the day we are born. From birth infants are interactive and ready to develop into members of the social world. As they cry, coo, or smile, they gradually learn that their behavior elicits response from other humans. In early childhood, the family acts as the primary agent of socialization, passing on messages about respect for property, authority and neatness. (Handel 2007). One way which families teach their children what is right and wrong is through reward and punishment, called sanctions. Children who lie to their parents may receive verbal reprimand or a slap on the hand, be sent to their room, have a time out, or receive a beating depending on differences on child rearing patterns these are examples of negative sanctions. Conversely, children may be rewarded for good behavior with a smile, praise, cookie or special event. These are examples of positive sanctions. The number and types of sanctions dispensed in the family shape the socialization process, including development of the self and the perceptions we have of who we are.

Keeping in mind that family influences vary from one culture to another, in the United States most parents’ value friendliness, cooperation, orientation toward achievement, social competence, responsibility and independence as qualities their children should learn. The extended dependency period for humans allows each person time to learn the complexities of culture as well as the simplicities involved in learning to sit, crawl, stand, walk, think, and participate in social interactions. Locally the long period of dependence allows children the opportunity to learn necessary skills, knowledge and social roles through affectionate and tolerant...
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