Most sociologists do not agree that socialisation necessarily brings misery. “It is true as Freud suggested that we must renounce the gratification of many impulses, but we learn to channel others into directions that can be gratified within our own society”. As Metta Spencer and Alex Inkeles have noted, “without experience in society a human being would become, not a “noble savage” but an unlovely brute, insensitive to the minds and feelings of others”.
Society can grant people some amount of freedom of impulses, but never total freedom. Freud was right then. “Civilisation itself requires some self-denial for the sake of beauty, cleanliness, and social order”. We do not face a choice between whether to socialise our children or not, but only how to do it.
Social research can shed light on many factors relevant to that issue. No research can, of course, provide a foolproof formula for child-rearing. No form of upbringing will fix a person’s character so firmly that he can never change.
The importance of socialisation in our life can hardly be exaggerated. The following description makes it very clear.
1. Socialisation Converts Man, the Biological Being into Man, the Social Being:
Man is not born social. He becomes social by virtue of the process of socialisation. Various instances like that of Kaspar Hauser, Anna, the ‘wolf children’ of India and others have made it very clear that only through constant training the new born child becomes social in nature.
2. Socialisation Contributes to the Development of Personality:
Personality is a product of society. In the absence of groups or society no man can develop a personality of his own. But socialisation is a process through which the personality of the new born child is shaped and moulded. The process of socialisation prepares the child to lead an approved way of social life. At the same time, it also provides enough scope for the individual to develop his individuality.
3. Helps to Become Disciplined:
Socialisation is social learning. Social learning is essentially the learning of rules of social behaviour. It is through socialisation that the child learns not only rules of social behaviour but also the values, ideals, aims and objectives of life and the means of attaining them. Socialisation disciplines an individual and helps him to live according to the social expectations.
4. Helps to Enact Different Roles:
Every individual has to enact different roles in his life. Every role is woven around norms and is associated with different attitudes. The process of socialisation assists an/individual not only to learn the norms associated with roles but also to develop appropriate attitudes to enact those roles.
5. Provides the-Knowledge of Skills:
Socialisation is a way of training the new born individual in certain skills which are required to lead a normal social life. These skills help the individual to play economic, professional, educational, religious and political roles in his later life. In primitive societies for example, imparting skills to the younger generation in specific occupations was an important aspect of socialisation.
6. Helps to Develop Right Aspiration in Life:
Every individual may have his own aspirations, ambitions and desires in life. All these aspirations may not always be in consonance with the social interests. Some of them may even be opposed to the communal interests.
But through the process of socialisation an individual learns to develop those aspirations which are complementary to the interests of society. Socialisation helps him to direct or channelise his whole energy for the realisation of those aspirations.
7. Contributes to the Stability of the Social Order:
It is through the process of socialisation that every new generation is trained according to the cultural goals, ideals, and expectations of a society. It assures the cultural continuity of the society.
At the same time it provides enough scope for variety and new achievements. Every new generation need not start its social life afresh. It can conveniently rely on the earlier generation and follow its cultural traditions. In this regard, socialisation contributes to the stability of the social order.
8. Helps to Reduce Social Distance:
Socialisation reduces social distance and brings people together if proper attention is given to it. By giving proper training and guidance to the children during their early years, it is possible to reduce the social distance between people of different castes, aces, regions, religions and professions.
9. Provides Scope for Building the Bright Future:
Socialisation is one of the powerful instruments of changing the destiny of mankind. It is through the process of socialisation that a society can produce a generation of its expectations. By giving appropriate training to the new born children the coming generation can be altered significantly. “The improvement of socialisation offers one of the greatest possibilities for the future alteration of human nature and human society”. —Kings Davis