What Is Primary and Secondary Socialization?

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Primary socialization, also called initial socialization, is when a child learns to interact, behave and talk in society through family members. Secondary socialization occurs during the school years and adolescent years and happens through non-family influence.

During primary socialization, children learn a number of basic things that they will need to function as they grow. These lessons are learned not only by direct teaching, like how to read and write, but also indirectly by watching friends and family. Children can pick up behaviors, traditions and know what is expected from them through directed and indirect interaction. Secondary socialization can be more difficult to accept or go through. When children are in primary stages, they are accepted unconditionally whether they get things right or not. Once they reach the secondary stage, that is not the case. Teachers and peers are not required to accept someone unconditionally. During this secondary stage, children have tolearn to make decisions on which social group they want to fit with and make choices accordingly. This stage of conformity can occur more than once through a child’s growth phase. As they change schools, change environments, the requirements to fit into the social circles they desire will change as well. This means that social skill need to be reached at an early age so that a child can be socialized enough to adapt as situations present themselves.