Primary Socialisation and its Impact – Fully Explained

Primary Socialisation and it's Impact

Primary socialisation plays a key role in shaping a child’s personality in many ways. A new born child does not have any idea of the social and cultural elements. But, the child becomes aware of the social and cultural elements after coming in contact with the society.

A child learns about the values, attitudes, norms and taboos of the society after connecting with the people. We will discuss the same in this article. So, read on to learn more about the same.

Definition of primary socialisation

Primary socialisation is the process that helps a child to become socialised through the family support. It is the process that occurs in the early childhood. The role of the family is crucial in making a kid aware of the different cultural and social elements.

It is evident as a child has an attachment with the family or the guardian. This way he or she finds it easy to learn the values, social norms and practice, etc.

As per the theory of Talcott Parsons, a family takes two processes to help a child become socialised. Those are:

  • Internationalization of the society’s culture
  • Structuring of the personality

Internationalization of the society’s culture

In the first process, Parsons says that learning about a culture is not enough. It is because it can lead to the ceasing of the society. Parsons further says that internationalisation of the culture is better. He purposes this as it may help you to continue your culture.

Structuring of the personality

The second process is the structuring of the personality as per the theory of the Talcott Parsons. Here, he says that You can easily shape the personality of a kid as per your culture and settings. It proves again that family is the first school for a kid when it comes to learning about the society.

Four agents of primary socialisation

You are aware that a child learns about the society while living and sharing with the different people. There are four agents of primary socialisation that help a kid connect with the people. So, let’s gain the idea of the same in this section of the write-up.

Primary Socialisation


As mentioned above, family is the first and chief agent of primary socialisation. The family is the source that introduces a child to the social world. The first five years of life is the time when a kid learns the correct patterns of behaviour. However, the family learning is informal. Here, family takes a simple way to teach the kid, that is to reward the right behaviour. Or to give punishment if the behaviour is unacceptable.

So, the role of the family in the socialisation of a child is crucial. The reason is that a child has a strong attachment with the family members. It motivates him or her to learn at a fast pace.


The school is the place that widens the social world of a kid. But, a child learns formally at school. The kid has to leave behind the bond he or she shares with the family. At school, teachers evaluate the talent of a kid by some standards. School uses hidden curriculum and functions to teach a child about the social order.

Furthermore, a kid can also develop technical, intellectual and cultural skills at school. All of it is essential for a human to have a stable adult life. However, at times, school learning affects the values a kid learns at home.

Friends or peer group

After the family, friends or peer group influence the social learning of a kid most. The activities kids do at play affects the way they think and behave later. A group is such where kids of same age gather. However, it is not possible that a kid will share a friendly bond with everyone. Instead, a kid makes friends on the basis of few factors:

  • Common interests
  • activities
  • similar income levels
  • and status

One thing you must notice about friends or peer groups is that adults cannot control it. This way friends and peer group can influence the lifestyle, fashion and social activities of a kid.


Children come in contact with the media at a young age nowadays. Sociologists say that media has a powerful effect on the kids. It affects the kids both in the positive and negative way. In the primary socialisation phase, kids gain useful information about the world. However, violence and immorality shown in the TV shows instil anti-social behaviour in the children.

You can say same for the internet as well. It is clear that it is a good platform the kids to learn and socialise. But, exposure to some sites may prove harmful for them.

Impact of primary socialisation

Primary Socialisation

Primary socialization makes a kid disciplined

Discipline plays a significant in shaping the life of a person. A child who gets to learn the discipline shows good behaviour and achieves success. There are also fewer chances of him or her indulging in unethical things. You can say the same for the kids who don’t learn the same. In the phase of primary socialisation, a child learns about discipline from family and teachers. It helps him or her whole life.

Primary socialisation helps a kid to control his or her behaviour

From childhood to old age, a person goes to different places and meets many people. An individual must behave well to adjust in the society. You have to keep a check on your language, anger and actions no matter what the situation is.

It is the key to lead a successful life. You learn to control behaviour in the childhood. Primary socialisation makes you aware of which actions may earn you appreciation. Moreover, in this phase, you also learn the things that are unacceptable in the society.

Primary socialisation helps if there is no conflict among the agents of socialisation

You may have seen some kids who are not socially aware as their peers. It happens if their sources (family, friends and school) of primary socialisation are not effective. Or things may turn out this way the ideas of the kid’s family, school or peers don’t match.

In other words, a kid may get confused if parents teach the kid that basketball is for taller people and the teacher doesn’t say the same. It will lead to the primary socialisation of the child going at a slow pace. Hence, it is a must for all the agents of socialisation to be on the same page. It may help a child to socialise at a rapid pace.

Informal and formal ways of primary socialisation are most important

Primary socialisation goes effectively if the informal and formals sources are efficient. A family helps a kid to socialise informally. A kid learns the language, rules and customs as well as social values with the family. All things happen informally. The impact of praise and punishment determines where a kid will head.

Same applies for the school. But, here children learn to socialise formally. The rules simple in the school, a kid gets praise for doing something good. The child also faces punishment for doing some unacceptable. Thus, both these ways are necessary for a child to become socialised.

What is secondary socialisation?

Secondary socialisation process is vast than primary socialisation. It begins in the early years of the childhood and continues throughout the life. The two primary agents of it are school and peer groups or friends. In the primary socialisation, the involvement of the family is huge. But, the case is not same in this phase as school and peer groups hold the prominent role here.

Let’s take the example of the school to get a clear idea of the secondary socialisation. A kid gets special attention at home. A child feels dejected if he or she does not get the same response. But, at school, a child learns that his or her actions may not get same attention everywhere.

A child also learns to tolerate others and work in groups. This way school is a window that gives a closer view of the society to the kid.

Difference between primary and secondary socialisation

Now you are aware of what is primary and secondary socialisation. So, in the section, let’s learn about the impact of primary and secondary socialisation.

Primary Socialisation

Primary socialisation

Family is the first social agent

When a child comes to this world, family members are the people he contacts first of all. That’s why they say that mother is the first school of the kid. With family, a child learns the language, culture, religion and other norms of the society. Learning from the family continues throughout the life. However, other agents of the society such as friends and school start affecting the kid’s views later.

A kid gets unconditional love

Your mom pats you quickly if you cry during the childhood. Your family members look after you if you don’t seem well. They do it even if you don’t do any favour to them. It is unconditional love. A kid gets this in the primary socialisation phase and especially from the family.

It gives limited view of the society to the children

As discussed above, primary socialisation mainly happens in the family. You have a connection with your family members only. You are aware of what your family members do. It is also easy for you to recognise how will they react if you do something good or bad. But, in this phase, you don’t learn how the other people of the society will respond to your actions. This way primary socialisation gives you a limited view to the society.

Learning is informal

In the early phase of the socialisation, learning is informal. Your mom or other family members don’t give you specific lessons to teach you different things. They simply talk to you and teach you how to respond. You may get punished for doing something wrong. Or your family may laugh it off often. Hence, this phase of learning is informal.

Secondary socialization

School and peer groups are the primary sources

This phase of learning starts from the age of 3-5 years. It continues throughout the life. The main agents of secondary socialisation are school and peer groups. Mass media is also a major part of it. School and peer groups give you a further idea of the language, behaviour, culture and other social norms.

Child does not get same treatment as in family

In the primary socialisation phase, you get unconditional love from the family. But, you don’t get the same treatment at school and in peer groups. They may treat you well if your behaviour and actions are good. They may reject you if you do something unfavourable to them.

A kid gets wider view of the society

School and peer groups help you to come in contact with many people. You gain awareness of the different culture, religion, people and social norms. This way your view becomes wider about the world. It helps you to think about others as well. In other words, you learn to respect others views and to keep a check on your behaviour.

Learning happens formally

Learning is formal at school. The rules are specific there, and you get the appreciation for doing something good. You may get punishment if your conduct is not right.

That concludes this write-up. Hope you find it useful. If you want to learn the effects of discrimination, then you can learn the same on our blog.