The Most Important Factor of Socialisation

Socialisation is the process of internalising the norms and values of society that every person develops based on their surrounding environment. As a result, each person tends to lean toward certain preferences, habits, etc. and develops their own behavioural patterns and individual character related to the society that surrounds them.

The way environmental norms and values are internalised influences a person not only on a behavioural level but also on a cognitive and emotional level. This ultimately lays the basis for certain personality traits that characterise an individual.

The most influential groups, contexts and communities that form part of the socialisation process are called Factors of Socialisation. These four are considered, by sociologists, to be some of the most important:

Factors of Socialisation:

  • Family.
  • School.
  • Peer relationships.
  • Mass media.

Family is considered to be a leading influential factor of socialisation in childhood as it is where an individual first develops relationships with others and makes their first impressions of themselves and their surroundings.

The importance of family lies in the fact that it is not only the first context for interaction, but is also the most influential during the longest amount of time and most crucial moments in a child’s cognitive as well as social and emotional development. This refers to their childhood and adolescence when what is learned forms part of the individual’s behaviour and emotions that will impact all other areas of their life.

Therefore, families should provide the necessary support for their children to develop their cognitive, emotional and social skills in a safe and emotionally stable environment.

Family helps to nurture:

1- Self-esteem and self-identify, which influence a child’s confidence level in themself and in others. Self-esteem depends mainly on the quality of relationships and what is learned from them.

One clear example of educational interaction that can influence self-esteem is when a child cannot carry out an activity on their own and needs the help of an adult. The quality of this interaction, for example making the child believe they are not capable on their own or on the contrary helping them to believe they are capable under your supervision, can have an extraordinary impact on a child’s self-esteem.

2- Responsibility and commitment to the norms and limits that are set in the family. This refers to educational guidelines that also pertain to the family’s social context.

It is not uncommon to find different educational guidelines between different parents, which makes it difficult to develop standard norms and limitations.

How is a family influential?

Take a look at the following two points.

  • It can encourage positive behaviour while at the same time discouraging bad or misbehaviour by trying to reduce it or eliminate it completely.
  • Behaviour is imitated from what is observed. This is known in psychology as modelling and it is important to highlight that parents are an example for their children and will almost always be the model they imitate. Demanding certain behaviour that is much more than what is seen within the family environment may lead to imbalances in the development of a child’s behavioural patterns and/or emotions.

Having such a large influence on behavioural development, it is important to keep the following in mind:

  • Parents should follow their own guidelines set for their children. If they do not want their children to hit, insult or yell, it is important that they follow their own rules. It is inconsistent to tell your children not to yell while at the same time yelling at them.
  • Be aware of all of the things you say and do as they see this and learn from you by observing.
  • Above all, try to be a good model for your children and when they make a mistake keep a positive and constructive attitude.

In summary, family experiences influence the cognitive behaviour that ultimately make up a child’s identity, behavioural and emotional characteristics and values.

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