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1.1 Background to the Study 

Socialization is a unique process to childhood. According to the socialization theory known as symbolic interactionism, socialization is required for each role an individual acquires over the life-course.

According to Peterson and Haan (1999), socialization is considered to be more general either enculturation or acculturation. Enculturation and transmitting a particular culture from one generation to another (e.g. minority members of the society teaching their children about minority issues, such as discrimination). Acculturation on the other hand, refers to the process of acquiring a new or different culture (e.g. as an immigrant to another country). Ross and Buriel (1998) described socialization as the process whereby an individual’s standards, skills, motives, attitudes and behaviours change to conform to those regarded as desirable and appropriate for his/her present and leaves open the possibility that adults, an addition to children, can be socialized into new roles and responsibilities. Thus, the late twentieth century conceptions of socialization, suggest that parents as well as children are socialized by others referred to as socialization agents (Pillemer and Mccartney, 1991). There are many theories that address both the transition to parenthood and parental involvement, as well as the socialization of children (e.g. social learning symbolic interactionism). There are however, relative theoretical models that focus on socialization of parents (Warpmer, 1993), despite the fact that parenthood has a powerful influence on the development of the adult, to say nothing on the child. Existing developmental models of parents’ socialization typically use conceptions or the birth of the child as the starting point in parental development. Furthermore, most approaches focus on parents-child relations in infancy, childhood or adolescence ignoring on-going parent-child relations across the life-course.

A popular adage says “Charity begins at home”. A child is first of all the product of his immediate environment, which is his/her home. The effect of home factor on the development of the child and most importantly, his/her social adjustment cannot be overemphasized (Mundi, 2000). This is because right from conception, when life begins the embryo develops in the mother’s womb until birth.

A child is affected positively or negatively by the hereditary qualities which are passed on to him from his parents at conception, as well as the environmental factor to which he is exposed before and after delivery. While such physical characteristics such as height, facial appearance, nose, skin colour etc are conspicuous traits in a child, other factors like intelligence and temperament qualities are regarded as being influenced by both heredity and environmental factors (Anyakoga, 1994).

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