What is socialization
Socialization is assimilation ideology and rules of conduct established in a particular community of people. Through this process, a person understands how he should act in a given situation in order to remain a member of the group and benefit it.
Primary socialization begins in infancy, when the child interacts with his parents. In the future, this process continues among peers, teachers, coaches and other people who are in contact with the child and have influence on him.
Secondary socialization occurs after adolescence and occurs every time a person enters a new group. For example, he enters a university, gets a job, moves to another city or country.
We can say that socialization never ends – this process continues throughout life. Below we will analyze several of its main stages and explain why they are so important.
Why is primary socialization in the family important?
Even such seemingly basic skills as the ability to walk normally, recognize gestures and respond to pain require training.
In a book on sociology is given the story of a girl found in the apartment of outcast parents. Deprived of basic care and communication, seven-year-old Daniella was unable to speak, moved strangely and was unable to interact even with simple gestures.
She did not make eye contact, did not know how to chew and swallow solid food, did not know how to cry, and did not respond to stimuli that usually cause pain.
However, even in a not so neglected form, a lack of socialization at an early age can break the rest of a person’s life. In the book “Biology of good and evil» Robert Sapolsky clearly proves this, recalling the events in Romania during the time of dictator Nicola Ceausescu.
After the ban on abortion and contraception in the 1980s, special institutions were filled with abandoned children. Due to a shortage of workers, they were kept in appalling conditions, malnourished, and deprived of basic companionship and care.
In later life, the orphanage’s inmates experienced cognitive decline, attachment problems, depression, and anxiety.
Moreover, even their brains were different: there was less gray and white matter, there was a slow metabolism of the frontal cortex, disruption of connections between different parts of the brain, and an increase in the amygdala.
Thus, the primary socialization in the family has a huge impact on the entire subsequent life of a person. Childhood psychological trauma, violence and other adverse conditions can result in mental disorders and problems in all areas of life much later.
In addition, it also affects the next stage of socialization – communication with peers.
Why is primary socialization in a peer group important?
Kindergarten and school are important agents of socialization that help to learn the rules established in society.
In addition to subjects, educational institutions transmit children a hidden program: they are taught to wait their turn and maintain discipline, work in a team, put up with losing and get used to bureaucracy.
But perhaps the most important It has communication with peers. Thanks to him, children who were in the center of parental attention begin to understand that not everything will happen according to their rules, and therefore it is necessary to listen to others and take into account their needs. In communicating with others, the child learns to share the desires of the group and work in a team, sometimes sacrificing his impulses.
And on how successfully this stage will pass, his whole future life depends.
Lack of social skills maybe prevent the child from expressing himself and understanding others. Most often, this problem occurs in children whose parents prefer a strict parenting style based on harsh discipline and punishment.
Frequent conflicts, neglect of emotions, rejecting behavior – all this prevents the child from developing empathy and mastering the skills of normal communication.
Children from such families find it difficult to find contact with their peers, risk falling into social isolation or become the object of ridicule. Both that and another strongly beats on mental, and sometimes and physical health.
Unsuccessful socialization during school years may result depression, anxiety and behavioral disorders in adolescence.
Moreover, loners and victims of bullying in adulthood are more likely to have excess weight and problems with the cardiovascular system than those who successfully adapted to the children’s team.
Why secondary socialization is also important
Each new place, be it a university or a job, forces a person to adapt to new conditions and accept the rules of behavior. And if he has successfully overcome the primary socialization, the secondary will be easier. However, in some situations, people still risk being socially isolated.
Of course, in adulthood, this will not turn a person into an aggressive psychopath, but it can negatively affect his health and well-being.
Loneliness increases the risk of high blood pressure and other disorders in the cardiovascular system, raises the level of cortisol – the stress hormone, disrupts sleep and reduces immunity.
Moreover, the lack of communication increases the risk of developing depression, the level of perceived stress and fear of negative evaluation, anxiety and anger, reduces self-confidence and optimism.
But successful socialization can have a good effect not only on health, but also on success in work.
In one experiment figured outthat communication with colleagues “face to face” significantly improves mood and helps to perform work tasks more efficiently.
Secondary socialization is especially important in old age. At this time, many people retire and stop communicating with colleagues, move away from adult children and lose friendly contacts.
If a person does not adapt to new conditions and does not find sources of communication, he risks accelerating age-related cognitive decline. Research showthat loneliness negatively affects mental abilities, increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and has a bad effect on executive control – memory, attention, cognitive flexibility.
Here is the communication helps elderly people to support cognitive functions, increase well-being, serve as a prevention of neurodegenerative diseases and in general prolongs life span.
So secondary socialization in old age, without exaggeration, can be called vital.