Saturday, January 28, 2017

Family-The Most Important Agent of Socialization

Agents (or people who go between two people when a situation is difficult) of socialization include individuals and institutions that help children learn attitudes, beliefs, values, skills and behaviors that society considers desirable. For example, it isn't desirable for a person to yell or bite someone when they don't get their way. The people who teach children about what kinds of behavior is appropriate or inappropriate teaches children appropriate ways to react to not getting their own way. Such as explaining to a child they need to ask to use a toy or other material when the child who is using it is done instead of biting them or grabbing it from them in order to get it or yell at them to give them the toy.

There are five agents of socialization but today we're going to talk about only one of them which is the family. The family is the most important agent of socialization. The family has been viewed as the major vehicle for socialization. Parents provide physical and social conditions in which children learn social skills. For example, if a parent asks a child if they want to unload the dishwasher or sweep the floors the children learn an important social skill is to ask people what task they want to do instead of just demanding a person do what someone else wants or has decided for them they do. Parents are critical agents of intentional socialization by teaching children specific beliefs and values that are part of the family's culture and religious beliefs. For example, parents teach children in their family everyone clears their own plate at the end of dinner and puts it in the sink. Parents teach children at what age they begin to participate in boy scouts or volunteering somewhere. Research has found that parents who have a positive relationship with their children, who are authoritative but not strict and use legitimate reasons and explain reasons for why or why not something can happen rather than power and control, are more likely to have positive outcomes such as internalization of the rules of society.

Roles parents play in socializing children are: providing a secure base in infancy that is a foundation for trust later in childhood, teaching basic self-help skills, teaching social skills, how to get along with siblings and other children and promoting core beliefs and values including religion. Siblings also play a role in socialization. They live with the other children in the home and learn beliefs and  values from siblings. They learn to share, handle disagreements, how to negotiate, teach other siblings the rules of the home, how to respect their parents and they learn from the consequences and rewards of older siblings behavior.

As a child grows and develops, the parents expectations for the child's behavior changes. Parents expectations shape the development of the child and their socialization. The parents expectations form a support for an equal pattern of socialization. For example, if a parent expects a child to respect adults, they're going to support and form that equal pattern of socialization by respecting the child and showing respect to people/friends whom they come in contact with. Understanding a parent's motivation for parenthood is important because it sets the change for understanding the beliefs and value system of the family that guides the parents as they socialize their children. Guided by a parents beliefs and values, parents have specific motivations for parenthood and parents try to promote specific developmental goals for their children.

Other social agents are extended family, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. All of these family members provide three types of support. They provide financial support, emotional support, and practical support. These agents play an important role in providing positive outcomes for children in single parent homes. Single parents have a big load they're carrying and are trying to do what is done by two. Extended family provides financial support as they give the single parent money to pay bills or offer to take care of bills for them. They provide emotional support as they provide the single parent with a place to discuss their adult problems. They also provide emotional support to the children as they provide a place for the children to discuss things with someone other than the parent and help the children of single parents work through their emotional challenges. Extended family provides practical support as they provide back up for the parent when a child doesn't want to listen or the parent needs help getting a child to or from school, piano lessons etc. To ask for this kind of help can be difficult for a single parent so be respectful to them an ask them how they need help and ask them if it's all right that you do something for them. Single parenthood  faces challenges such as housing affordability, unemployment, low income and lack of health insurance. Research confirms resiliency in single parent homes being related to social support received from family and friends.  Lack of support such as living in isolation with few resources, is associated with a higher risk of maltreatment. Parents who have limited resources for help or resources that may be insufficient are overwhelmed and need a support system to help them.

A family regardless of it being two family, a single parent home or it's the grandparents raising the grandchildren need support, kindness and love. They're are lots of people who help children and teach them how to socialize and behave. The family is the most important and the one most children spend the most time in and being affected by.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Social Learning- A Process of Socialization

Last week I mentioned there are two learning perspectives that apply to the process of socialization. I mentioned they are behaviorism and social learning and discussed behaviorism. Today lets talk about the second process of socialization-social learning.

Social learning addresses the concerns of a child's culture, values and social influences that behaviorism doesn't. Albert Bandura a psychologist at Stanford University places a big emphasis on the role of cognition in the socialization process. He believes it's so important he changed his theory to a social-cognitive approach instead of a social learning approach. Bandura believes the cognitive processes are at work as people observe models, learn pieces of behavior and mentally put those pieces together to form behavior patterns. He believes children become particular in behaviors that they choose to initiate which develops an internal guideline for behavior as well as becoming one of the main factors of the social learning theory which is self-efficacy.

Children's socialization can be defined as the processes where individuals are taught skills, behavior patterns, values and motivations needed for sufficient roles in the culture they grow up in. Socialization occurs over time and through interactions with others. It's attained by communication in effective, convincing situations. During socialization a child learns how to communicate and interact with others. The relationship between socialization and a child's development is progressive. It's a continual process and changes throughout a person's life. During the early childhood years is when children begin to acquire language and learn how to interact with other people. As they grow they learn how to socialize at a party and how to socialize at school. Children learn how you socialize in these situations is different and what's acceptable in each situation.

Social conflicts require negotiation in a give and take manner. Success negotiation involves children being able to guess what will appeal to others and being able to work out an agreement where all children's needs are met. Children can benefit from help in negotiation and comprise. For example, if one child wants to do a project one way and another child has a different idea of how to do the project it can help them to talk it out with an adult. The adult can help one child listen while the other explains why the project should be done with their ideas and then reverse it. The adult can then give suggestions they hadn't thought about or because the adult gave them the time to listen to one another they came to a comprise on their own that may include ideas from the way both children wanted to do the project.

It's important in teaching social skills and using the behaviorism theory or the social learning theory not to accept a child's negative cycles. Accepting negative cycles and not teaching a child to defend themselves can lead to Stockholm syndrome which is when victims begin to identify with and defend their abuser. I've discussed negative cycles in earlier posts if anyone wants to read or reread those posts. Those posts are dated September 3 and 10, 2016.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Behaviorism- A Learning Perspective to the Process of Socialization

Two learning perspectives that apply to socialization are behaviorism and social learning. This post we'll just discuss behaviorism.

Diane Papalia who has a bachelors in psychology, Ruth Feldman who has a bachelors in gifted children and Sally Olds who has a bachelors in psychology defined behaviorism as a learning theory that emphasizes  the predictable role of the environment in causing observable behavior.

There are four approaches to behaviorism. The first one is classical conditioning which is when learning takes place on an association of a stimulus but doesn't ordinarily elicit a response with another stimulus that does elicit the response. For example, a bell in school will cause children to either move to their next class or settle down and be quiet for the one that's starting. However, a bell at a church after a wedding won't cause this response but instead will cause people to stand and express joy for the couple who got married.

The second approach to  behaviorism is operant conditioning.  Operant conditioning was made popular by B.F. Skinner who was an American psychologist. Operant conditioning is defined as a process in which a response is gradually learned via reinforcement or punishment. For example, if a parent tells a child not to touch a hot stove but the child touches the hot stove and burns themselves anyway, the behavior of not touching a hot stove has been reinforced by the child getting burnt.

The third approach to behaviorism is reinforcement. There are two kinds of reinforcement-positive and negative. A positive reinforcement  is when something pleasant is added and with a negative reinforcement it is when something unpleasant is taken away.

The fourth approach is punishment. Punishment decreases  the likelihood that a behavior will be repeated. Positive punishment is when something unpleasant is added and negative punishment occurs when something pleasant is taken away. For example, a child can't borrow the car for a specific amount of time because the last time they had it, they didn't fill it with gas or got a parking ticket.

A drawback to behaviorism is that it doesn't take into account a child's culture, values, and social influences, such as a special relationship with a parent or friend.

Sunday, January 1, 2017