Influence of Parents on the Social Development of their Children

Influence of Parents on the Social Development of their Children
Socialization is the way through which individuals are taught to good members of a certain society. It is a way through which individuals are taught to understand the norms, values, and beliefs of a particular society. It is described as a sociological process that occurs through as one socializes with members of the community such as family members, friends, and coworkers among others. Without socialization, individuals cannot learn how certain material cultures are done in a society (Landry et al.). A good example is a child, who learns cultural arts such as how to hold a spoon, sit on a chair, or bounce a ball from members of the society within which the child grows. Modesty is developed through socialization, therefore creating harmony in the later life on an individual to the societal expectations.

Role of Parents in Child Development
According to the theory of socialization, parents play a major role in determining whom their children turn out to be in their adult life. Socialization as seen above is the process through which an individual learns the values, norms, and beliefs in a society. Such norms are learned through the people that are in constant contact with the individual. Parents are an integral part of a child’s life and in their development. They affect what the child views as socially acceptable and what they view as otherwise. Children grow emulating the beliefs behaviors and values held by their parents; therefore the latter becomes a crucial factor in influencing the outcome of the former. Sociological theories of self-development for instance explain such influence parents might have on their children. The theory was first coined by Charles Cooley (1902) and asserted that people’s self-understanding is made in part through the perception that they think others have of them (Little and McGivern).  The above phenomenon was referred to as ‘looking glass self’. Parents affect how children understand themselves. The perception that a parent has about their child is the same way that that child will view themselves.  George Herbert later cemented the theory agreeing that the view of ‘self’ is only developed through interactions within the society (Chalari). A child cannot see themselves as others would if social interaction is absent. Without others (in this case; parents) children therefore cannot conceive the ‘self.’
Kohlberg’s theory of moral development also shows how parents influence the adult outcome if their children through the process of socialization. Moral development is the way through which people learn what is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ in a given society (Little and McGivern). Parents affect the moral development of their children which affects their actions and their functionality within society. Children are not born with moral values pre-installed in them; they learn them as they develop. The parent is always with the child and the morals that the parents portray are the same ones that the child will pick up and instill in their minds. At a pre-conventional stage, children lack the higher cognitive ability to align their actions with the norms of society. They view and react to the world around them through their senses. It is not until their teenage that they develop the conventional ways of thinking, which is influenced by those they interact within a society. At this stage, parents can align the young child to the values and norms of society. Failure to do so influences the child’s adult life as they are unable to recognize the morality or legality of actions they take within the same society.
Learning about the norms and values of a society is only possible when individuals interact with various agents of socialization.  Parents fall under the social group agents of socialization and often provide the first experience of socialization to a new member of the society. Fathers and mothers teach children what they need to know about society. They show a child about the material culture of the society, how to interact with others, and generally how the world around them works (Chalari). Children could be compared to sponges in that they emulate everything they see from parents, incorporating the same into their lives. Social skills are learned from parents. Behaviors such as being antisocial are learned from the parents. A parent’s reaction s also affects how a child reacts to various situations in life. A good example is a child who lashes out at others when they are angry because that is what they see their parents do most of the time. Parents affect the discipline of a child and that discipline impacts the way a child’s adult life turns out to be (Little and McGivern). One is not born with discipline but learns the same from members of the society with whom they interact. Poor parenting as part of the social cycle can, therefore, have a very negative impact on the child’s outcome in their adulthood.
The acquisition of skills, moral, and social values within a child are greatly influenced by their parents. Children acquire language, problem-solving and social-emotional skills from parents. A child’s development is dependent on the consistency of the parenting style that they are exposed to from a young age. Factors that influence parents such as depression, stress, beliefs, and attitudes will influence how the child views the world around them and therefore also how they turn out to be in adult life. Socialization theories show that a child is not born knowing the norms, values, and morals of the society, but learns them as they grow. Parents and other family members are the first points of interaction in a child’s life. They are the first agents of socialization that a child learns from. The behaviors, beliefs, and values they instill in their child, therefore, play an integral part in how the child turns out to be.

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