Inadequate role Preparation
The small child playing house or helping with the dishes, the teenager who baby sits high school a part-time join these are experience a continuity in socialization by learning skills and attitudes at one period of life which they can use at another. By continuity in socialization we simply mean that experiences at each He stage are .an effective preparation for the next stage. An example of how continuity in the socialization process provides a smooth transition into the adult role is seen in the child training practices of the Cheyenne Indians, as described by Benedict
The essential point of such training -is that the , child is from infancy continuously conditioned to responsible social participation while at the same time the tasks that are expected of it are adapted to its capacity At birth the little boy was presented with a toy bow and from the time he could run about serviceable bows suited to his stature were specially made for him by the man of the family. Animals and birds were taught him in a graded series beginning with those most easily taken, and as he brought in his first of each species his family duly made a feast of it, accepting his contribution as gravely as the buff Rio his father brought. When he finally killed a buffalo, it was only the final step of his childhood conditioning, not a new adult role with which his childhood experience had been at variance. (Ruth Benedict, "Continuities and Discontinuities in Cultural Conditioning Psychiatry 1:161-167, May, 1938.) Society the Such an easy transition from one status to the next is by no means universal. Our culture is characterized by built-in discontinuities, which make the socialization experience in one age period of little use in the next. In frontier America, boys and girls learned their adult roles by simply observing and taking part in whatever was going on around them-clearing land, planting crops, caring for babies and so on.
Today there is less opportunity for such continuity. 110st adult work is performed away from home, where children cannot watch
and share it. Many households offer only a poor opportunity for a child to learn the skills, attitudes, and emotional rewards of housekeeping and parenthood. Children and teenagers have few important tasks in most households, and much of the child's play activity is not .closely related to adult tasks and responsibilities.
Another imperfection in our socialization process is that moral training of boys and girls introduces them mainly to rules of social behavior rather than to informal modifications of these rules which operate in the adult world. In other words, they are taught the ideal, not the real culture. The result is that young people become cynical as they find that the textbook maxims do not work out. The politician does not appear as a public servant who negotiates a livable adjustment between bitter opponents but as one who compromise es on sacred principles the business executive 10 lks like a greedy manipulator rather than an individual struggling to find a place in the market; the minister is apparently not one who mediates the ways of God to humanity but a huckster who fails to live up to the ideals the church proclaims. Thus, many young people graduate from a naive idealism directly into a naive cynicism without ever reaching an appreciation of the services of those who work out livable compromises with the unsolved problems of society.
Some gap between the formal expressions .of mores and actual adjustments of social life is probably found in al societies. And in all societies "maturity" involves coming to terms with these inconsistencies in some sort of livable compromise.