Self-socialization to play with dolls and participate

Self-socialization is defined as the process whereby we actively influence our own social development and outcomes.

Learn more about self-socialization from examples and test your knowledge with a quiz.

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Definition of Self-Socialization

Mickey is a 13-year-old male who wants to become a professional football player. Mickey spends time working out and following his older brother around, who’s a quarterback for his high school football team. Mickey attentively watches all of his brother’s football games. However, Mickey complains when his mother makes him attend his sister’s ballet recitals and usually falls asleep halfway into each recital.Mickey loves to tag along to his brother’s practices and watch him from the bleachers so that Mickey can learn the football plays.

Mickey practices football whenever he can and tries to imitate his brother’s football maneuvers. Mickey refuses to participate in any sports unless they can help improve his football game. Mickey goes to football camp every summer and is the quarterback for his junior high school. All of Mickey’s close friends are football players.Mickey continues to practice and play for his school’s football all through high school and college.

During his senior year in undergrad, Mickey is recruited to play football for the Pittsburgh Steelers.Mickey’s football career has been cultivated through the process of self-socialization. Self-socialization can be defined as the process by which we influence our own social development outcomes. We self-socialize through:

  • Selective attention, which is when we consciously choose to focus on certain things or messages in our environment while ignoring others.
  • We also self-socialize through imitation, which is when we choose to copy the actions of others.

  • Participation in particular activities is another self-socialization technique. We choose to participate in certain activities that will likely result in outcomes that we view as favorable.

In our example, Mickey chose to participate in activities that would make him a better football player.

He paid attention to his brother’s behaviors and football practices while falling asleep during his sister’s recitals, exhibiting selective attention. Mickey copied his brother’s football maneuvers and the football plays that he learned by watching his brother’s practices, exhibiting imitation. Mickey also participated in football camp and joined his junior high football team, participating in particular activities.

Self-Socialization in Early Childhood

So, when does self-socialization begin? We usually start to self-socialize in early childhood.

For example, a female child might choose to follow and imitate the actions of her mother rather than her father. A female child might also choose to play with dolls and participate in other activities associated with the female gender role. However, self-socialization is more important in later childhood and adolescence.

There are many factors that influence self-socialization. These include:

  • Family
  • Peers
  • School
  • Community
  • Legal system
  • The media (for example: television and music)

Influence on Developmental

Self-socialization allows us to reflect on our current self, come up with a vision of what we would like our future self to be, set goals, and take necessary steps in order to achieve our future vision. In other words, we are actively able to create or modify our developmental trajectory so that we can reach our vision.In the example, Mickey used the process of self-socialization in order to reach his goal of becoming a professional football player.

Mickey made many deliberate choices that influenced his development as a football player, including practicing, joining his school’s football team, and attending his brother’s practices. Had Mickey not done these things, he may not have become a professional football player.

Lesson Summary

Self-socialization allows us to actively influence not only the direction of our development, but also our outcomes. Self-socialization involves selective attention, choosing to participate in certain activities, and copying desirable behaviors of others.

Although self-socialization begins in early childhood, it is more important in later childhood and adolescence. There are several factors that influence self-socialization, including our family, peers, and the media.


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