Family is the most important agent of socialization, and thus it is absolutely essential for parents to act responsibly.

Family is the most important agent of socialization, and thus it is absolutely essential for parents to act responsibly.

Last month I had 13 ten-year-old boys under my supervision at a YMCA summer camp. Through this experience I learned countless meaningful lessons about managing children, however the most intriguing lesson I learned concerns their parents.

When the camp ended and I finally met them, I was capable of accurately predicting whose child belonged to who, by comparing the parents’ traits with the personalities of the children. For instance, the most overprotective mother had the child that couldn’t handle situations on their own or take any initiatives. He had decreased confidence and was less mature than the other children. The most indifferent parents had the most problematic and mischievous children, while the ‘average’ good parents had normal children that didn’t create any problems and had fun through the camping period.

The 13 children were from similar socioeconomic backgrounds, many even from the same school, therefore any differences in attitude must have originated from their parents, whose interaction with the children is called primary socialization. At YMCA, I learned that family is an extremely important and decisive agent of socialization.

Research proves the value of good parenting

Research has proven that family is indeed the most influential agent of socialization. Good parenting is more important than good schooling, even when it comes in determining school results. It has been verified that children with supportive parents tend to outperform pupils whose parents are indifferent towards their education, irrespective of the quality of the school the children attend. Having supportive, yet not oppressing parents is paramount for the educational growth of the kid.

Thinking about my personal experience outside of the camp, I ascertained the value of good parenting. Some of my friends that were being constantly oppressed by their parents either didn’t succeed at school or had other issues. For instance, they started smoking from an early age. The theory is also verified by considering my own parents as impactful agents of socialization. I regard myself as a healthy individual, which I fully accredit to my parents and the way they raised me.

The importance of family in the socialization of children

All other agencies of socialization- such as school, peer groups and mass media-significantly contribute to the appropriate configuration of the personality of each individual. However, the YMCA camp made me realize that it is the family that plays the most crucial role in the formation of personality, mainly because by the time all other agencies begin to contribute to the process, family has already left a mark on the child’s mentality.

For instance, as a YMCA leader I tried to influence the children in many ways, which was part of their secondary socialization. However, it was unattainable to change their attitude completely, as it had already been shaped by their parents. Family remains the major agency of socialization even when the children grow, since it acts as a transmission belt between the individual and the society.

Being a good role model for your child is probably the most important task one can complete. It becomes obvious that it is every parent’s duty to devote himself or herself to the continuing process of shaping the personality of his or her child correctly. Only in that way will children have better personalities and become less problematic, which might gradually lead to a better society.

Manos is an alumni of Yale Young Global Scholars and is currently studying Economics at UCL.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *