The following points highlight the four main stages involved in socialization. The stages are: 1. The Oral Stage 2. The Anal Stage 3. The Puberty Stage 4. The Adolescence Stage.
Socialisation # 1. The Oral Stage:
In the womb the foetus is warm and comfortable. At birth, the baby faces his first crisis: he must breathe, he must exert himself to be fed, he is susceptible to cold, wet and other discomforts. He cries a good deal in order to attract attention.
During the first stage of socialisation, he seeks to establish what is called oral dependency. By his cries he is able to build up fairly definite expectations about feeding time and also about his pressing needs for care.
At this stage, the baby is not involved in the family as a whole. He is rather involved only in the sub-system consisting of him and his mother. If the father or anyone else in the family performs the role of the mother in caring for the baby no role differentiation is made.
That person will also be performing the role of ‘mother’. At this stage, the baby does not seem to internalise any role at all. He is so passive as compared to his mother that it is doubtful as to whether he internalizes two roles at all. By the time oral dependency has been established, his own role and that of his mother are probably ‘merged’ together. This is the stage, according to Freud, of “primary identification.”
Socialisation # 2. The Anal Stage:
This stage probably begins soon after the first year and extends up to the third year. This period is called anal stage because toilet training is the main focus of attention of the socializing agent, particularly mother. During this stage, the child internalizes two roles his own and that of his mother .These two roles are now clearly separated. The child not only receives care, he also receives love and gives love in return.
During this stage, the child is taught as to how to discriminate between ‘correct’ and Incorrect’ behaviour, first by advice and/or hints given by the mother and, secondly, by being rewarded or appreciated for correct performance and not rewarded or appreciated for incorrect behaviour.
Socialisation # 3. The Puberty Stage:
This stage extends from the fourth year to puberty, (i.e., age of 12 or 13). In the course of the third stage, the child becomes a member of the family as a whole. He identifies himself with the social role ascribed to him on the basis of his biological sex.
Identification means either of two closely related things:
(i) One identifies with a social role. That is, one not only internalizes the role but adopts it as one’s own.
(ii) One identifies with a social group. That is, one internalizes the role system of the group and considers oneself a member of it.
Identification in the first sense links a boy with his father and brothers, but net with his mother. A girl, on the other hand, identifies with her mother and sisters, but not with her father. Identification in the second sense links a boy or a girl with the family, including both parents and all siblings.
There are, thus, three kinds of identification:
(i) With the father or mother, as the case may be
(ii) With the siblings.
(iii) With the family as a member.
Socialisation # 4. The Adolescence Stage:
Adolescence, which begins roughly at puberty, is the age during which the young boy or girl has a tendency to get away from parental control. The “crisis” of this age arises from the fact that adolescents hanker after greater freedom while there is parental control over many activities in which he loves to have his own way.
The strain involved in transition during the adolescent period depends upon the cultural definition of adult roles. In some societies vital decisions concerning adolescents are taken by the parents or guardians. That makes transition easier. In India it is so. Thus, the choice of a marriage partner is made by elders within conventional rules.
In some others, particularly in Western societies, adolescents are required to take important decisions more or less on their own. Obviously, in such cases transition is somewhat different and puts strain on them.