The one question we have been asked more than any other is “what do you do about socialization?” For some reason, people have it in their minds that socialization means, first and foremost, that your children must spend the greater part of the day in the company of their peers. They seem to think that socialization is what happens in the classroom or wherever the kids influence each other’s behavior more than the parents or other non-peers do. It was not always that way. The so-called generation gap came about in the last century, and many people bought into the idea that there were “wide differences in cultural norms between members of a younger generation and their elders.” (That is the Wikipedia definition of the generation gap). Along with that, many people assumed that teens would be difficult and braced themselves for the worst.

 

This type of socialization presents peer pressure which some young people cannot resist—the pressure to dress in the current fad style, to date, do drugs, engage in pre-marital sex, watch questionable movies and television programs, listen to unsuitable music, etc. Even speech is affected by this type of socialization. Listen to a group of teens talking and aside from the 4-letter words, the next most used word is “like,” as in “my mom was like all over me cause like she didn’t think I got like home on time.”

I would argue, that a better form of socialization takes place when youngsters spend more time in the company of their parents, siblings and people of a variety of ages and life situations. We need to remember that we are raising adults, not children. We don’t want our children to become perpetual adolescents—the goal of socialization is to produce virtuous adults who can stand on their own, lead productive lives, get along with people of all ages and conditions, raise up the next generation and get to Heaven. They do not learn these things while struggling for acceptance in the pack.

 

Cultural norms are better when transmitted through the family which has a stake in the future of its members. While there may be generational differences in minor things, there should not be wide differences in the important things like Faith and the value of family. The generation gap is not inevitable if we socialize our own children.

 

But what about interaction with their peers? I certainly advocate for that, and I will write more on that soon.

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