What is Socialization?

 Socialization is an interactive, learning process in which an individual learns the habits, attitudes, values and beliefs of the social group he is born into to become a fully functioning member of society. It is a process that continues for life. It is a development of one’s sense of self.

What is Personality Development?

Personality is a pattern of thoughts, feeling and behavior that distinguishes one individual from another. It persists over time and occurs because of the ongoing interaction of temperament, character and environment.

There are two types of socialization:

1) Primary Socialization: It occurs in early childhood. It’s essential for a child’s holistic development. The child learns the rules of behavior, language, and basic skills. It is best achieved within the family by the parents.

2) Secondary Socialization: it is the socialization that takes place outside the family. It starts right after primary socialization and continues for life. Contact with people other than his family, such as peers and other adults help him to realize that there is another social universe outside the family.

Socialization and Personality Development

Socialization and Personality development are linked to each other because socialization in different agencies of socialization has an impact on personality development. Socialization has different socialization agents that develop an individual’s personality. There are many agents of socialization including family, education, mass media, peer groups, religion. All of these agents contribute towards one’s characteristics, thought processes and feelings and behaviors.



Family is the first place where socialization occurs and family is the most important part of our socialization process. Through family, we learn basic values, beliefs, social norms, speech, and language, how to behave in a particular situation and other traits such as affection, tolerance, love, co-operation, and respect. However, families do not socialize children in a vacuum. There are many factors that influence family socialization, mainly social class, the gender of the child, race, religion and many others. Parents of middle and working-class socialize their kids differently than those in the higher class. Melvin Kohn (1965, 1977)Kohn, M. (1965). Social class and parent-child relationships: An interpretation. American Journal of Sociology, 68, 471–480; Kohn, M. (1977). Class and conformity. Homewood, IL: Dorsey. found that working-class and middle-class parents tend to socialize their children very differently. Kohn reasoned that because working-class parents tend to have jobs in which they have little autonomy and are told what to do and how to. In such jobs, obedience is appreciated. So parents tend to emphasize a lot on obedience and respect for authority and favor spanking as ways of disciplining their child. Whereas, middle-class parents have white-collar jobs where creativity is appreciated and autonomy is valued. So these parents focus on independence and are less likely to spank their children as a way of disciplining them. The gender of the child also plays an important role in socialization because parents tend to treat daughters and sons differently. Parents appoint gender roles. The women ar housekeepers and rear children. The men are earners. Children also tend to form gender roles by copying their parents. For example, children’s games of acting grown-up typically involve boys going off to work while the girls stay at home and manage the house and look after babies. A child copying their parents is also one way of socializing. Up until the age of six, the family plays a major role in determining a child’s identity and personality.


Education is another agent of socialization in the form of formal schooling. Socialization takes many forms for example, the formal curriculum. In the formal curriculum, the students undergo a learning process in which they learn basic things such as reading, writing and arithmetic that will help them become productive members of society. The second is the hidden curriculum, an informal teaching done by teachers in which students learn different things from attending school, such as how to treat authority and respecting the system, and many other social skills that would help them integrate into society. The education system is also found to stereotype gender roles in many ways.


Peer groups are people of similar age, for example, teenagers. Peer groups have a very large influence on our behavior, interests, how we talk, eat and dress and so on. They have a large influence on the process of socialization. A child learns that social life is based on rules and the accepted ways of a group. Peer group becomes significant others in the terminology of G.H. Mead for the young child.


The media plays a large role in personality development because it is an implicit learning process. The child copies behaviors through observation and it can have a negative impact on the personality. It has an impact short term, if not long term as there is little evidence for that. These effects include violence, observing violence causes children to be violent. We are also desensitized to a many thing such as violence, or poverty which reduces our capacity for empathy. However, it can also serve as a positive platform because it’s a new avenue for learning and cultivation of ideas.

Religion: Religion can influence personality development because of different moral teachings, traditions, and legal system alone can greatly change socialization on all levels.

Conclusion: Socialization and Personality development are closely linked to one another through different agents of socialization such as family, religion, peers, education, and media. When we socialize, a part of socialization, with other people in different settings and capacities and how much time we spend with them has a role in shaping our personality. However, family socialization is the most vital in terms of development as it lays the foundation for all other socialization. Socialization in a family is primary socialization and all other socialization is secondary and they continue for the rest of one’s life. Education provides a formal and hidden curriculum, both necessary for a child’s integration into society. Peers influence socialization because we learn social rules and appropriate behavior in groups and age-appropriate behavior. Media also shapes our personality because of observed learning and desensitization to many things. Religion, because of its own way of life, customs, traditions, dress code, what is expected of the person of a particular faith, all of these factors shape personality.

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