Biology and Social Construction Involved in Training Children
It has been quite a continuing debate over the years upon whether biology and genetics play a more important role in the upbringing of children and adaptation of roles or whether social construction and nurture overrides the innate nature. As soon as the child is born and opens his or her eyes into the world, there is a need to determine the kind of person they are going to be, the way they will deal with things and the relationships they will have with people. Human beings are the most social of all animals and are on a constant need to indulge with people around them. It is however recognized that each and every individual out there is different by nature, beliefs, values, morals and much more.
Sociologists and scientists have had a long obsession with trying to determine the extent to which the societal and innate factors affect the upbringing of the child and how the early socialization processes impact the later life of a human being. Some argue that genetics and the true nature of a person is what matters the most and no matter how hard one tries, they cannot influence a person through the upbringing and the nurture process. However, some believe otherwise. It is important to accept and acknowledge that biology as well as the social construction, both have an equal role to play and at some point in life, they cross paths and reflect a mixture of the two.
While we can suggest that the sexes are biologically made and are innate in the humans, the gender roles and the way the two behave is something that the person acquires through socializing and mingling with their own kind. The patterns of behavior and the expectations from both genders vary and are remarkably different based on the society, religion, and place as well as the culture and traditions followed in that region.
Let us first take into account the importance of biological factors and the influence that they have on an individual. The genetics and the innate qualities help shape us into what we are. Some of the habits that we as individuals take up are passed on from the family hereditary chain which cannot be disregarded and are often difficult to ignore or change. There are also certain characteristics in one's nature that they are born with, for instance, a child may naturally be shy or might possess an introvert nature. Others might be more outgoing, bold and outspoken. These kinds of things are generally not taught to a person and are instilled in one's personality. Despite attempts of overcoming these habits and qualities, there are traces of them that are left behind in one's life.
But as mentioned earlier, the two dimensions of a child's personality over lap each other. It is impossible to completely isolate the sociological implications and the influence of the human interactions from the biological and genetic aspect. There is quite a thin line where we can differentiate whether the influence is purely biological or societal.
Many sociologists have developed their own theories about the way society and the social interactions influences the upbringing of children. Sigmund Freud is one of the famous Functionalist sociologists who stated that the most integral part of any individual's life is the first five years of development because they are most crucial. Whatever the child sees, hears, learns and encounters will leave a mark on him or her for their whole life. An incident that may have scared them in their early life will haunt them forever; the habits that they adapt during these years are likely to be stronger than those adapted later on in life. Hence, according to Freud's theory social interactions and nurture does have a heavy influence on the way a child is brought up.
Apart from Freud's theory, some sociologists associate themselves with the labeling theory and the interactionist perspective which believes that individuals and children will often adapt and start acting in the way that people label them. For instance, if a child is labeled as a bully and is constantly called by that name, he or she will eventually accept that label and react in the same way. This is also part of the interaction process and the way children take up roles and behavior from what they see around themselves.