Socialization is predominately an unconscious process by which a newborn child learns the values, beliefs, rules and regulations of society or internalizes the culture in which it is born. Socialization, in fact, includes learning of three important processes: (1) cognitive; (2) affective, and (3) evaluative. In other words, socialization includes the knowledge of how things are caused and the establishment of emotional links with the rest of the members of the society. Socialization, therefore, equips an individual in such a way that he can perform his duties in his society. Who are the agents of socialization? The agents of socialization vary from society to society. However, in most of the cases, it is the family which is a major socializing agent, that is, the nearest kinsmen are the first and the most important agents of socialization. The other groups which are socializing units in a society vary according to the complexity. Thus, in modern complex society, the important socializing agents are educational institutions, while in primitive societies, clans and lineages play a more important role. Socialization is a slow process.
There is no fixed time regarding the beginning and the end of this process. However, some sociologists formulated different stages of socialization. These are (1) oral stage, (2) anal stage (3) oedipal stage, and (4) adolescence. In all these stages, especially in the first three, the main socializing agent is the family. The first stage is that of a new-born child when he is not involved in the family as a whole but only with his mother. He does not recognize anyone except his mother. The time at which the second stage begins is generally after first year and ends when the infant is around three. At this stage, the child separates the role of his mother and his own. Also during this time force is used on the child, that is, he is made to learn a few basic things. The third stage extends from about fourth year to 12th to 13th year, that is, till puberty. During this time, the child becomes a member of the family as a whole and identifies himself with the social role ascribed to him. The fourth stage begins at puberty when a child wants freedom from parental control. He has to choose a job and a partner for himself. He also learns about incest taboo.