Above we have described the process of socialization as it works in society. The earliest social stimuli to which a child is subjected come from his mother. But as the child’s contacts widen other persons like father, brothers and sisters, playmates, teachers, and policemen begin to mould his behaviour.
There are three elements which play their part in the socialization process of the individual. They are:
(i) The physical and psychological heritage of the individual.
(ii) The environment in which he is born, and
(iii) Culture in which he is because of the action and interaction between these elements
This process of action and interaction is a complicated one and determines materially the makeup of the individual and his status in society. Let us study this process in a concrete way.
A child is born with some inborn physical and mental capacities in the environment of his family According to his capacities he imbibes the culture of the family. If the mental and physical capacities are not good, he may not be able to make proper use of his environment.
Conversely, if the environment is not proper, he with even the best mental and physical equipment, may not be able be at his best Environmental stimuli often determine the growth of human personality.
A good school, social equal political freedom, in short, a proper environment may greatly determine whether the social or the centered forces will become supreme. Psychoanalysts have proved that a man behaves in social according to whatever he has become in the family.
Healy and Bronner have pointed out that delinquents mostly hail from families which at one time or another have suffered some restriction the fulfillment of social relations.
The problem of prostitution is said to be the problem of the parent child relationship. Just as a flower fails to show its sweetness in a desert, and is born to blush unseen similarly, many a man fails to display his genius because there is no proper environment for it.
But we said above proper environment alone will not develop personality unless the man is possessed proper mental and physical capacities.
The environment is conditioned by the group for there is a culture peculiar to each group. Man live in a group and while living so he has to conform to the traditions, beliefs and ideals of the group. Social nature is very much developed in and through group life.
W.I. Thomas introduced the term “definition c the situation” by which he meant that the situation in which the child finds himself has already being defined for him and the rules according to which he must behave are determined by the group into which he is born.
The child has little or no chance of following wishes which are opposed to those of this group. His wishes and activities begin to be inhibited, and gradually, by definition within the family, playmates in the school, in the Sunday school, through reading, by formal instruction, by information signs of approval and disapproval, the growing members learn the code of society.
Thus group influences also determine the growth of human personality. It is, therefore, through the interaction of the above three factors that a human being becomes a social being.
Some Sociologists have mentioned a fourth element- the experience of the individual – in describing the process of socialization. Sometimes it is seen that a person fails to make use of his proper environment in spite of his full mental and physical capacities, because his own peculiar experience has kept him away from that environment.
A child, when forced to study, may associate education with physical punishment, and may turn out truant. As a person matures he faces one harsh experience after another, he sometimes loses that which he values highly, and thereby becomes more interested in the welfare of others. Sometimes suffering socializes man.