#Article (Archive)

Socialising the Child

May 6, 2010, 1:16 PM | Article By: Isatou Dumbuya

Socialization is a two way process, one influences others on their beliefs and in turn is influenced by others.

In socialization, the individual tends to perceive him or herself according to the way others see him or her. We want to create impressions so that we would be accepted in society and that is done through interaction. For example: what we think others see in us, it may be one's new dress.

How we think they react to what they see - believing that they like it.

And three how we think they respond to the perceived reaction of others - again I think this suits me better.

People tend to use this called the looking glass self as a yard stick to measure our benevolence, malevolence, beauty and a lot more.

Individuals born into the world need to be socialized so as to interact and live comfortably in life. Socialization helps the individual to learn the norms, values, folkways, languages of the society, thus ensuring its continuity from generation to generation.

One of the outcomes of socialization is the development of the individual personality, the fairly stable patterns of thought, feeling and action that are typical of an individual. There are three stages of socialization children go through and they are the preparatory stage, the play stage and the game stage.

The Imitation or Preparatory stage - this stage falls within the first two years of life. Children become slowly sensitive to the social world and copy the behaviors of adults without understanding them. A child may pick up a book and hold it as though he or she is reading it. The child begins to mimic the behavior of the parents or others within the family. Psychologists refer to this stage as the preparatory stage.

The Play Stage - this stage occurs slightly above the second year of life. Children begin to understand behavior as actual roles. They also love to play act. This is partly because they want to discover and understand why there are roles people in the family assume, when they do not assume any.

They love to play-act mother, daddy, baby, teacher and a lot more. This in a way gives them a sense of responsibility and belonging.

The game stage- this is the third stage and it refers to the time when the child meets the outside world and must conform to their rule or else he is given a few spanks that would send him crying. The society which is the generalized other may not tolerate what the family which is the significant other tolerates for the child.

Isn't this rather interesting, when we read it and childhood memories come flooding, reminding us of our childhood behaviors. This was the time when we loved to join the larger society or our playmates who have a different view from our families, people who would not compromise what we do, but rather their own way. Children join together to play 'akara' that's of course for the girls, football for the boys who become aggressive by the minute. We are given certain rules to follow or we made some enemies along the way.

Our roles are defined through this process of socialization, boys are given toy guns and toy soldiers to play with and they begin to see themselves as macho boys and aggressive.

Girls on the other hand are given Barbie toys and teddy bears to look after and treat with care and love like they were their parents. This is what is called Role taking in George Herbert Mead's theory.

Socialization has influenced our nature to a great extent. The way we were brought up defined certain rigid roles society imposed on us. Girls' tender nature moulds them into loving and caring women and the same thing applies to boys who obviously later turn out to be aggressive and strong men.