The Family as an Agent of Socialization

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Family is a fundamental social institution in society, the family, is considered the primary and most important agent of socialization. Family typically consists of a man and woman and their children or two or more people who usually reside in the same home and share same goals and values. Traditionally, in all societies, the family has always been seen as a social institution; that has the biggest impact on society. Everyone is born into some form of family, with the family taking the responsibility of nurturing, teaching the norms or accepted behaviors within the family structure and within society. There are many types of families, which can be described as a set of relationships including parents and children and can include anyone related by blood or adoption. Family is the most important, “for it is within the family that the child is first socialized to serve the needs of the society and not only its own needs” (Goode, 1982). To thoroughly elaborate on the institution of family we most look at the family as it was before and how much it has changed over time. Throughout the years we are recognizing that the family is slowly being replaced by other agents of socialization. Families in the past consisted of a mother and a father and most times children. We are, as many societies a patriarchal society; men are usually the head of the households. This has always been considered the norm. Then there was the woman’s movement and women felt they deserved equal rights and should be considered man’s equal and not inferior. The man going out to work, and the wife staying home to care for the home and the children would soon become less the norm. This movement would go on to shape the changes within the nuclear family. Women deci... ... middle of paper ... ...of the family in socialization is vastly becoming obsolete. There is still the need for the family unit, more importantly in the early development stages. But thereafter; many issues that face most families today and the vast number of other agents available to persons to learn the social norms of society, such mass media, is slowly replacing the need for the family to teach these social norms. References Goode, W. J. (1964) The Family (2nd ed.) New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc. Macionis, J. J., & Plummer, K. (2005) Sociology: A Global Introduction (3rd ed.) Schaefer, R.T. (2009) Sociology: A brief introduction (8th ed.) New York, NY: McGraw Hill Hutter, M. (1985) "Symbolic Interaction and the Study of the Family" In Foundations of Interpretive Sociology: Studies in Symbolic Interaction, ed. H. A. Farberman and R. S. Perinbanayagam. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press

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