People are socialized in many ways. This process begins almost with birth as parents and other family members are a powerful source of socialization. As a child grows older, it is socialized by schools, by friends, and by the media in addition to the family. Let us look at two major ways in which children are socialized.
- Family. The first source of socialization is the family. One thing that a child learns from its family is the sorts of sex roles that are deemed appropriate by its society. The child is taught things like “boys don’t cry.” It is also taught in less explicit ways as it watches its parents interact with one another. It is taught how men and women behave towards one another. In this way, a child learns things about what its society expects from men and women.
- School. Children spend a great deal of time at school. There, they are socialized both by teachers and by peers. They come to learn, for example, how they are expected to act towards people of their same age. They are taught what makes them “cool” and what does not. They are also taught things about what their society believes to be true when (for example) they take classes in the social studies.
In these ways and others, people are socialized by those with whom they have a lot of interactions.