Socialisation is a process by which individuals acquire knowledge, skills and dispositions, which enable them to participate as effective members of groups and society. It is a process that continues over the entire life-span, and through which one learns and develops ways of effective functioning at any stage of development. Socialisation forms the basis of social and cultural transmission from one generation to the next. Its failure in any society may endanger the very existence of that society.
    The concept of  Socialisation suggests that all human beings are capable of a far greater repertoire of behaviors than they ever exhibit. We begin life in a particular social context, and there we learn to make certain responses and not others. The most clear example is our linguistic behaviour. Although we can speak any language that exists in this world, we learn to speak only that language which people around us speak. Within this social context we also learn many other things (e.g., when to express emotions and when to suppress them).
     The probability of our behaving in a particular way is greatly affected by people who relate to us. Any one who possesses power relative to us can socialise us. Such people are called "Socialisation agents". These agents include parents, teachers and other elders, who are more knowledgeable in the ways of their society. Under certain conditions, however, even our age peers can affect  Socialisation.
      The process of  Socialisation is not always a smooth transition between the individual and the  Socialisation agent. It sometimes involves conflicts. In such situation not only are some responses punished, but some are also blocked by the behaviours of others in effective ways. At the same time, several responses need to be rewarded so that they acquire greater strength. Thus, reward and punishment serve as basic means for achieving the goals of  Socialisation. In this sense, all  Socialisation seems to involve efforts by others to control behaviour.
        Socialisation although primarily consists of deliberate teaching for producing "acceptable" behaviour, the process is not unidirectional. Individuals are not influenced by their social environment, but they also influence it. In societies that comprise many social groups, individuals may choose those to which they wish to belong. With increased migration, individuals are not only socialised once, but often are re-socialised differently in their life-span. This process is known as acculturation.
     Due to the processes of enculturation and Socialisation we find behavioural similarities within societies behavioural differences across societies. Both processes involve learning from other people. In the case of  Socialisation, the learning involves deliberate teaching. In the case of enculturation, teaching is not necessary for learning to take place. Enculturation means engagement of people in their culture. Since most of the learning takes place with our engagement in our culture,  Socialisation can be easily subsumed under the process of enculturation.
       A number of people who relate to us possess power  to socialise us. Such people are called "Socialisation Agents". Parents and family members are the most significant  Socialisation agents. Legal responsibility of child care, too, lies with parents. Their task is to nurture children in such a manner that their natural potentials are maximized and negative behaviour tendencies are minimised or controlled. Since each child is also part of a larger community or society, several other influences (e.g., teachers, peer groups) also operate on her/his life. We will briefly discuss some of these influences.
        Parents have most direct and significant impact on children's development. Children respond in different ways to parents in different situations. Parents encourage certain behaviours by rewarding them verbally(e.g., praising) or in other tangible ways(e.g., buying chocolates or objects of child's desire). They also discourage certain behaviours through non-approving behaviours. They also arrange to put children in a variety of situations that provide them with a variety of positive experiences, learning opportunities, and challenges. While interacting with children parents adopt different strategies, which are generally known as parenting styles. A distinction is made between authoritative, authoritarian and democratic or permissive parenting styles. Studies indicate that parents very enormously in the treatment of children in terms of their degree of acceptance and parents live (poverty,illness,job stress,nature of family) also influence the styles they adopt in socialising children. Grand parental proximity and network of social  relationships play considerable role in child  Socialisation directly or through parental influences.
       School is another important socialising agent. Since children spend a long time in schools, which provide them with a fairly organised set up for interaction with teachers and peers, school is today being viewed as a more important agent of child  Socialisation than parents and family. Children learn not only cognitive skills(e.g., reading, writing, doing mathematics) but also many social skills(e.g., ways of behaving with elders and age mates, accepting roles, fulfilling responsibilities). They also learn and internalise the norms and rules of society. Several other positive qualities, such as self-initiative, self-control, responsibility, and creativity are encouraged in schools. These qualities make children more self reliant. If the transaction has been successful, the skills and knowledge children acquire in schools either through curriculum or interaction with teachers and peers also get transferred to other domains of their life. Many researchers believe that a good school can altogether transform a child's personality. That is why we find even poor parents want to send their children to good schools.
       One of the chief characteristics of the middle childhood stage is the extension of social network beyond home. Friendship acquire great significance in this respect. It provides children not only with a good opportunity to be in company of others, but also for organising various activities(e.g., play) collectively with the members of their own age. Qualities like sharing, trust, mutual understanding, role acceptance and fulfillment develop in interaction with peers. Children also learn to assert their own point of view and accept and adapt to those of others. Development of self-identity is greatly facilitated by the peer group. Since communication of children with peer group is direct.Process of  Socialisation is generally smooth.
       In recent years media has also acquired the property of a  Socialisation agent. Through television, newspapers, books and cinema the external world has made/is making its way into our home and our lives.While children learn about many things from these sources, adolescents and young adults often derive their models from them, particularly from television and cinema. The exposure to violence on television is a major issue of discussion, since studies indicate that observing violence on television enhances aggressive behaviour among children. There is a need to use this agent of  Socialisation in a better way in order to prevent children from developing undesirable behaviours.