Socialization is a lifelong process where an individual learns their self-identity, norms, values, behaviors and skills appropriate to their social position. The process of socialization allows us to function properly within a community. Socialization begins in our childhood stages and continues through our teen years, adult life and through old age. As humans reach new milestones, we must learn the appropriate norms and behaviors to deal with them. Some of these milestones include the beginning of college, marriage, parenthood and living as a senior citizen. In this paper I will discuss how socialization occurs throughout our lives and the key agents that play a major role in socialization. .
"Agents of socialization are groups or social contexts within which processes of socialization takes place" (Giddens, et al and others, P.69). Primary socialization takes place during infancy and childhood. During this time the main agent of socialization is the family. The family is the first reference group that a child will observe. The child will learn the habits and behavior characteristics displayed by its parents. Family values are also learned at this time, though as a child ages, the influence of other agents may lead to the individual opposing its family's values. .
"Secondary socialization occurs during late childhood and in maturity" (Giddens, et al and others, P.69). One of the important agents at this time would be school. Children must listen to their teachers, arrive on time and provide the work that is asked of them. Through this process children learn discipline how to abide by rules and learn to accept authority. The school system prepares children throughout the years for the real world, building up work ethic and potential. School is also the place where peer groups are formed.
Peer groups are children of similar ages, which are also part of secondary socialization.