ESL 91
SPRING, 2003

Bleta 1
Nihorka 1
Bleta 2
Nihorka 2

Bleta Gola
ESL 91
Spring, 2003

Essay Topic: Which of the four agents of socialization do you believe is most important in the development of the child? Explain your answer through examples from your experience, your observation of others and/or your reading.

According to the reading "Socialization and Culture" by Loretta Kasper, we know that there are four agents of socialization, family, school, peers and mass media. All four of them play a major role in a child's development, but the most important agent is the family because from the family we take the first steps to become socialized.   Family teaches a child about society, culture and language. As we know human beings are born without knowing anything, so we learn from one another as we grow.

The family is a primary agent of child development. The parents play an important role in guiding the child into a gender role established to be appropriate in society. The parents are also responsible for showing a child how to cope with problems in his/her life and in society. The family has to show a child how to think for him/herself and establish a sense of self. From an early age the family teaches a child to identify their gender. If it is a girl, she will have a pink room, play with dolls and wear pretty dresses. For a boy parents will buy trucks, cars, balls and encourage masculine behavior.  

We learn most of our knowledge from our parents. Children look at their parents and suck up all the information they say and the things they do. For example if  parents use  inappropriate  language  around their children, the child will pick up the same bad language and  use it any time in any place. This is  because he /she doesn’t know the meaning of the word yet.

In the book "The Color of Water" by James McBride the author talks about his mother Ruth's past and her relationship with her parents. Ruth  was raised in a Jewish family, and she had to follow very strict Jewish rules. Her family were immigrants from Poland, so they followed the old ways. Ruth's father was very stern. He didn’t have any love for his wife and his children. When Ruth was very young, her father started  to molest her. It made Ruth feel dirty and embarrassed to be around her family. She was so ashamed of what her father did to her . Ruth ended up converting  to Christianity because she found that being Jewish was not very spiritual. Ruth's father was  a rabbi who prayed on the Sabbath and committed sins the rest of the  week. By molesting her Ruth's father created an uncomfortable  environment for this  child. Although he did not molest his other children.  Ruth and her siblings were never close to their father because of the way he treated them by not letting them socialize   with their classmates or neighbours. They always had to work for him as  slaves .

This family was an example of how parenting was done wrong. Ruth's family did not provide the protection and care that she needed. Her family  didn’t provide her with  basic needs  and emotional support.   As a child she never had any friends, and she didn’t have any close relationship with her brothers and sisters. But when Ruth became a mother and had her own family, she always took good care of her children. She had twelve children of her own and she treated them all the same. They all became  good citizens and graduated college. This shows that even though she had a very difficult life herself, Ruth was a brilliant mother for her children.

Parents always worry about their children, no matter what age the children are. However, parents can turn everyday experiences into stimulating activities that facilitate children's development of social, emotional, physical, and cognitive skills. As a parent you are your child's first teacher. Your home is your child's most consistent  learning environment . When I was a child my parents taught me about everything that is related with a social world. For example they taught me how to respect others, especially older people. They taught me the basic things that we need in life, as a new born how to talk, walk, use the bathroom, and wash my hands. 

As a child I was very close to my father, so everywhere he went I had to go with him. I used to go  with him to his office spend the whole day with him . My father taught me how to count the money and how to do some thing’s in the office he also thought me about religion and how important is to know that the family values.

My Response

By doing this  research I learned many  things. I learned how to raise a child with good family values and how the family is very important in the child’s socialization. We get the basic knowledge from our family. Even though I don’t have a child of my own, I have learned how to raise the child in the future. In the mean while my cousin has a two year old baby. Since she was born I have to baby sit her during the weekend. I enjoy teaching my little baby cousin the basics of life. For example, I teach her not to take things from people with out asking her mommy first, to listen when people talk to her to. Hold mommy’s hand when she goes shopping and not to go with strangers. I taught her the alphabet and how to pronounce words correctly. I also taught her how to tell the differences between the colors, to write her name and to count.

In the end I learned that the family is truly the most important aspect of this agent of socialization. The family teaches, confront, cares and gives the love you need. Family is always by your side when you need help or when you feel lonely. The special thing about having a family ids that they will always be there for you no matter the situation.

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Alain Louis
ESL 91
Spring, 2003

Essay Topic: Which of the four agents of socialization do you believe is most important in the development of the child? Explain your answer through examples from your experience, your observation of others and/or your reading

Family as an Agent of Socialization

According to the reading passage named, The Absence of a Family and its Unconditional Love, there are several factors that contribute to the formation of a child.  There are family, peers, school, and mass media.  I believe the family is the most important agent of socialization.  Socialization may be briefly defined as the way in which a culture’s values are transmitted from one generation to the next.  Everybody worries about their child’s social development; the fact that your child is extremely social means that he/she has acquired these skills mainly from you and others within your family.

The family is a child’s primary agent of socialization, especially in the early years before the child enters school.  However, the values, behaviors, and expectations of the family have to compete with other agents of socialization, as the child natures.  Upon entering school a child’s immersed in his/her peer culture.  As the child grows older the peer cultures become more important and are more influential in his/her life, but the family continues to be the primary agent of socialization.

Throughout childhood parents will have to positively reinforce values and behaviors that are in line with what they have instilled.  The values and behaviors parents have taught their children will be in competition with those of other agents if the other agents do not share the same values and behaviors as the family.  A child’s nature exhibits those values and behaviors learned during childhood from parents. 

As I observed with a family friend of mine, her father died during her childhood, so she never experience that fatherly love and acceptance, so now since her pre-teen years she has looked for acceptance from other men.  One person would say he loved her and because she yearned for that love she believed him, slept with him and soon after the love disappeared and she started the same process with another person.  There was a possibility of an unstable adulthood, where life experiences became a teacher.  She either learned proper values and behavior from trial and error, 0r she became and all out failure as a way of life and made no attempt to acquire values. 

Unconditional love between parents and children is a vital part of the development of these values.  The child must feel, in a functional family that he can share his experiences without feeling defensive and receive responses that are open and unbiased.  These practices are necessary because the family is the first and the most important source of identity and of emotional support.  When a child feels loved, accepted and secure, which are the prerequisites for the development of personal resources.  When the child feels that way there is what I would call the foundation to build on positive personal qualities like self-esteem, recognition, and companionship.

A part of the family that has been neglected is the role of the father, whose role is I believe to be very important.  He is a source of authority and discipline, and to me he is a boundary setter, enforcing and encouraging positive behaviors and eliminating negative ones.  He is the prime source of masculine orientation and identification for the male child.  He also gives warmth and love as a male to his daughter, which many girls lack today.  For example my cousin, because she is without that father figure in her life, usually gravitates towards older men who are very dominating in her life but she doesn’t seem to see it in a negative way.

The daily interaction between the members of the family mold the children, influence their patterns of behavior and their reactive patterns of behavior, which would determine how successful their adaptation to life would be.  In general, poor family management increases the risk for lack of socialization skills.

I especially didn’t have a chance to grow up with my real parents, but with my great grandmother on my mother’s side.  My great grandma was the strongest female role model that I had imitated through my whole life.  She represented the mother that I didn’t have she started taking care of me ever since the time she took me away from my mother.  She gave me everything I wanted, and never obligated me to do anything.  She took more care of me than was necessary and never let me go anywhere by myself to prevent trouble.  She made me proud of her for who she was.  She intended to teach me to use the paths of life that she and her generation had found to be safe.  In one word, I could say that she was everything to me.  She showed me how to live my life with strength and dignity and supported the rest of the family by her religious beliefs.

My great grandma inadvertently transmitted to me some of her fears that came from the experiences she had in her life.  She explained to me a little story about how one of her son’s had been killed and cut into many pieces by a friend after a fight.  The fears came to me because I was scared to have friends and had fights to prevent that happened to me.  Because l thought if I had friends, we could have problems and I could get killed.  Until now I have followed her wishes on what to do.  Therefore, I need to develop confidence and trust my judgment of people’s motivations and characters so I can see whether the persons I would like to make friends with are sincere, trust-worthy and not dangerous or evil people who could get me into trouble.  Therefore, my great grandma’s warning is always a “safety light” that comes to mind when I meet someone and try to know more about that person before going from an acquaintance to a friend. 

I guess the bottom line here is that socialization is a complex, life long process and the family, in my own opinion, is the most important place where children should acquire social skills and develop their social identity.  You must instill in your child the values and behaviors you know the child will need in the future.  Then you can rest assured that although your child is influenced by other agents, and may depart from what you have taught the child at some point, ultimately the child will return to that which was first instilled in him or her.  

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Nihorka Hernandez
ESL 91
Spring, 2003

Essay Topic: Which of the four agents of socialization do you believe is most important in the development of the child? Explain you answer through examples from your experiences, your observation of others and /or your reading.

The Media as an Agent in Socialization

According to the reading, “Socialization and Culture” from the book “Interdisciplinary English” by Loretta F. Kasper, socialization is the process in which a child learns how to behave in life and participate in a group in society.  Socialization has four basic agents: family, school, peers and the mass media. Each one of these agents plays a role in our lives. However, in my opinion, the most important agent of socialization for the development of the child is the mass media.

The Mass Media are the different processes that facilitate communication between the sender of a message and the receiver of that message. It plays an important role in the socialization of children. In fact, there are many types of media; these include newspapers, magazines, radio, films, CDs, Internet, and television. These kinds of media, especially television, affect children’s and adult’s behavior in different ways. According to the article, “Socialization: From Infancy to Old Age”, “The average family in the United States has at least one television turned on for at least seven hours a day.” Television is the biggest mass media in this country and has positive and negative aspects.               

There are some programs which are very helpful with lots of information for the children. For example; on channel thirty-three, there is a good program called “Dora the explorer”. Children can learn to speak Spanish and also do things such as singing, standing up and pronouncing words in English. On the same channel, there is also a program called “Blue’s Clues”. In this program, children learn how to think, sing and discover clues. When children watch these programs, they are not the same people anymore because they can become more knowledgeable. These programs are very good because they change children’s minds and make the children different from what they were before.

However, there are also television programs that affect children negatively. For instance; on channel eleven, there is a very bad program that is bad for the children; it is called “Jerry Springer”. This program should not be shown on TV because it has a lot of fights and vulgar language. “W.W.F” is another negative program, which has too much violence, and unfortunately children love it. Children should not see these kinds of programs because children tend to imitate the fighters.

In addition, there are some movies that have a lot of violence and bad words and children love these kinds of movies. Children like and learn how to use knives, guns and explosives because they see it on TV. Sometimes children take the role of their superheroes in real life because they see their favorite actors using these weapons. For example; when children watch the actor stealing a car on TV, they learn from it and they also want to steal because they want to be like their superheroes.              

In my response, I would like to say that television has an enormous effect on children. However these effects can be bad or good. For example; I have two children who are eleven years old and they like to watch television a lot. Their favorite show is “W.W.F” but I forbid my children to watch it because it has too much violence. Sometimes, my children like to play the role of a wrestler, but I don’t allow them because I am afraid that they might be hurt. My children don’t like to watch educational programs such as “Barney”, “Blue’s Clues”, “Dora the explorer”, or “Bob, The Builder” because they say that these programs are for babies. They prefer action programs such as W.W.F, violent movies such as “Last Action Hero”, James Bond “007”, and “Kiss of the Dragon” and youth funny shows such as “Kenan & Kel”, “Amanda Show”, and “U-Pick Nick”. They also love to play Playstation 2 games, but they like violent games such as “Vice City”, “the Gateway”, and “Wrestling, Shut your mouth” a lot. My sons worry me very much because in the future I don’t want my sons becoming fighters or killers. But I am trying to prevent it by not allowing them to watch these unacceptable programs. I also constantly sit with my sons, and we talk about everything. We talk a little bit about girls, a little bit about drugs and smoking, a little bit about criminals and so on. 

As I mentioned before, television has positive and negative impacts on society. People get both because the television industry and the government don’t control negative programs very well. Sometimes television presents some good programs, but they also show garbage like “Jerry Springer” and “ W.W.F”. I hope in the future, the government and the TV industry abolish these kinds of programs.

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Bleta Gola
ESL 91
Spring, 2003

Essay Topic: Think of a time when you changed your behaviour to conform to the group. Describe the situation in detail. How old were you? What type of group was it? How did you feel at the time? Looking back, how do you feel about your action? Would you behave in the same way today? Why/Why not?

Changing your Behavior

Both the article “Interaction and Group Behavior” by Loretta Kasper, and our everyday experiences show us how people change their behavior to be part of the group. People change their behavior to either be part of the primary group or the secondary group; depending upon which group they fit into. The primary group consists of “a small group in which relationships are both personal and enduring.” The secondary group is “typically large and impersonal and is based on some shared interest or activity.” We behave differently when we are with our families, friends and work.

In the article“ Interaction and Group Behavior”, we know that people change their behavior to incorporate themselves into a group. People want to be part of the group and society. A person changes his/her behavior to fit more easily into the group they are trying to be part of. A person may become more aggressive or more timid depending on the group they are trying to be part of. When a person is part of the primary group, meaning their family, they are more comfortable with these people around them. They don’t try to change they behavior for them nor do they have to because the primary group usually accepts them for who they are. Your family accepts you for who you are. In the secondary group, a person acts more uptight around their co-workers . They are more selfish. They don’t like to open up and share their opinions and they are not as comfortable as they are with people in the primary group. With your group of co-workers you have to act more professionally and more mature because these are the people who you are always trying to impress. You want these people to like you and think well of you.

Friends would also be considered part of the secondary group. In this group people may choose to be leaders or followers. Stanley Milgram, a famous psychologist, experimented with how people behave in certain circumstances. His experiment consisted of having people inflict electronic shock on students. Researchers told the people that represented the teachers that the shocks were very painful. Even though they knew the shocks were painful they still administered very powerful shocks. This experiment showed that people would follow an authority no matter if other people were being hurt. In secondary groups you sometimes hurt some of your closest friends to impress others.

In my own experience I had to change my behavior when I started my job. I went from being an outspoken person to a very shy and professional person. When I go to work I have to be very professional. I have to act in a different manner because my co-workers expect me to be professional and courteous. At work I am expected to be pleasant and get along with all my co- workers. I am expected to respect everyone, but when I am outside of work I behave totally differently. Outside of work I’m loud, more fun, always joking around with my friends. I don’t have to worry that anyone is going to say anything to me because of my behavior. My group of friends have learned to accept me the way I am.

In school you are taught to behave in a certain way. From the moment you’re enroll in school you are taught that there are certain rules and regulations that need to be followed. At home there are rules you have to follow but they are quite different than school regulations. At home people are more relaxed because in the home you can say anything you like and you don’t have to worry because you are sharing your opinions with your family members. If you are wrong they will correct you and you will be more comfortable taking your family member’s comments than those from the outside world.

My Response

By reading the text and by doing research I have learned many things, For example I never thought that I changed my behavior everyday. But writing this essay really made me think of all the changes that have happened and made me realize how I change my behavior at work. Now I pay more attention when I am in groups and I try to observe the situation and see how other people react.

In general we have learned that people are either part of the primary group or the secondary group. Both groups influence the way a person behaves. The primary group represents more freedom to how you are going to behave. In the secondary group you are more restricted with your behavior. You are always conscious of what they are going to say. In reality both groups make you the person you are.

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Nihorka Hernández
ESL 91
Spring, 2003

Essay Topic: Think of a time when you changed your behavior to conform to the group. Describe the situation in detail. How old were you? what type of group was it? How did you feel at the time? Looking back, how do you feel about your actions? Would you behave in the same way today? Why/Why not?

Changing My Behavior to Conform to a Group

According to the reading, “Interaction and Group Behavior” by Loretta F. Kasper and “The Practical Skeptic/Core Concept in Sociology” by Lisa J. McIntyre, social interaction refers to how individuals commonly influence others. Social interaction  has a very powerful effect on our behavior. When people communicate with other human beings, they often do so as part of a social group. A social group is when two or more people have an identity and get together with one another regularly.                                                               

Conformity identifies the adaptation of behavior that happens in response to wordless group pressure. Peer pressure in a group has a lot to do with conformity because some individuals change their behavior either for the worse or the better.  Most of the time, human beings conform to the anticipation of several groups. Without this type of social interaction, life could not exist. This indicates that without conformity, culture would not prevail.                           

In New York, I experienced conforming to a group. When I was twenty years old, I became pregnant. I was living with my husband and our relationship was going sour because our marriage was a lie. I am a Catholic woman and I go to church. When  I was in my fifth month of pregnancy, I met a friend who was a member of  the evangelical church. He was my neighbor and lived with his family across from my building.  Suddenly, he asked me “Would you like to visit my church?” “Of course, why not” I replied. I gave him that answer because before, he had asked me about visiting his church and I always answered him that I couldn’t, but maybe one day. He told me that I always looked very sad, depressed and unhappy in my marriage. He also said that I needed a lot from God in order for my life and marriage to change and have a little happiness. 

At that time I believed him and one Sunday I decided to visit the church with him and his family because I was desperate and very frustrated. When I got to the church, I felt strange and shy because it was not my religion.  I didn’t know any of those people except my friend, but after a short conversation with those members of the church, I no longer felt as shy. Those people no longer were strangers to me because they were very friendly with me.

There was a multitude of people praying, crying, preaching and praising God. On this day, I found out a lot of things from the evangelist religion. For example; People of this religion do not believe in Jesus Christ or the Virgin Mary (the mother of  Jesus) nor in the saints because they think that  Jesus, Mary and all the saints were deceitful people. But the members of this church didn’t realize that for God, Jesus and some saints            were very important because God chose them. These people only believe in God . Also, the divorce doesn’t exist for them because the marriage is very sacred and they have to obey their religion . When these people get married, they have to stick with their spouse even if  they don’t like it. In addition, they don’t go to or celebrate parties, they just get together like a big family. When they get together, they don’t dance or drink alcohol. Furthermore, they can not listen to regular music such as soft rock and rap, they are only permitted to listen to religious music. Also, women don’t wear pants; they wear only blouses, shirts and dresses and they also don’t use make up. And, they don’t wear jewelry of any kind. Every Sunday, they remain in church the whole day, and they sell food for the members of the church.  

At the end of the day, my friend asked me if I liked his church. I answered him that I felt comfortable in his church. Afterwards, he convinced me to continue coming to  church to be close to God. As a result, I chose to change my religion because I wanted to feel closer to God. I thought that I had to change my religion to conform to this group because I was very different from them. In addition, I had to change my behavior to conform to the religion and in the group. For instance; I stopped believing in Jesus Christ and in all the saints. For that time, I thought that the divorce didn’t exist, so that I had to continue living with my husband and bearing his stupidities. I discontinued going to and celebrating parties, and  I didn’t wear pants, jewelry, or  make up. I also could not listen to my Latin music; it had to be religious music. Then, for three years I began to go to church every night and on Sundays. During that time, I felt very satisfied because I had a great peace in my soul and life and I also felt God with me all the time. Inside this religion, I gave birth to my twin boys. 

Unfortunately afterwards, there were several impediments in my life. First, I moved far away from the church and I didn’t have the facilities to get to the church with my two babies. Before, I had lived near the church and the minister of the church had a mini van in which he always picked us up for church. But when I moved far away, it was very difficult for him to pick me up. Second, my whole family is Catholic and they love their religion. They were constantly talking to me about our religion until they convinced me that our original religion is my real and first religion and no one can change that. Finally, I didn’t get used to the Evangelist  religion customs because I like to go to or celebrate parties a lot and I also like to dance, too. In addition, I love to listen to soft romantic music. Furthermore, I love to wear pants a lot and sometimes I like to wear make up and  jewelry in the summer. For that reason, I stopped going to that church as often and went only three times a week.

Finally, I stopped going to that church completely because I realized that this religion was not for me. Inside of this religion, I felt the peace that I was looking for but I had to sacrifice a lot. I thought  that I was not ready and it was not the appropriate time for me to go in to this religion. I returned to my original religion because indeed I can never forget that I grew up with the Catholic religion. I was also missing my beliefs and habits such as believing in Jesus. The Evangelist and Catholic religion are alike only in one thing that we all believe in one God. Now, I recognize that I never forgot my religion because I love my religion and my church very much.

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Spring, 2003

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