The adults our children grow into is predicated on many factors. These factors are labeled the “Agents of Socialization.” They include family, school, peers, and media. With family children learn their first lessons. They develop basic life skills: how to feed, bathe and clothe themselves. They also learn emotional intelligence: how to empathize with others and show kindness and compassion. A lot of parents feel the weight of this huge responsibility while not realizing it is a shared one. At some point our children will look to others for answers. I expected to relinquish my title of “all knowing mom” around my daughters teenage years. She disabused me of that notion recently while learning about trugs. No, I did not misspeak—trugs.

Red Ribbon week is dedicated to the education and prevention of drug use at my daughter’s school. We discussed the initiative while walking the school hallways: “Mommy, trugs will fry your brain.”

“Do you mean drugs?” I inquired.

“No, trugs.” She replied.

Without dismissing her assertion, I encouraged her to explain to me what trugs, are.

Our conversation about trugs covered the harm and risk of illegal drugs, and the difference between medication prescribed by a doctor (like the ones she takes at home) and drugs a person might buy off the street. I also clarified that the correct word is “drugs.”

My five year-old wasn’t having it. According to her, I was dead wrong. She was adamant: “The word is actually trugs, Mommy.”

We went back and forth while sitting in the school’s hallway waiting for the activities coordinator to arrive. I explained to her my familiarity with the word drugs and assured her it was correct. She refuted with the toddler version of “I SAID WHAT I SAID!” Other parents and administrators, who were within an earshot of our discussion, were thoroughly amused. Initially, I was too. However, I wanted her to have the correct information and was annoyed that she would not receive it from me.

I ran out of ways to convince her of the proper pronunciation. I wanted to say “Hey! I’m your mom and I know these things.” I flagged down a passing teacher and asked if Red Ribbon Week was dedicated to DRUG prevention and she agreed it was. I questioned her again, “Are you sure the week is about DRUGS? Because I was told it was about trugs.” Once again, she verified the word drugs.

Just like that, the tug-of-war was over. Trugs no longer existed in my kindergartners lexicon. It was replaced by drugs in less than 60 seconds. Yet, I was still annoyed. Each time she rejected  my correction, my emotions were stirred. Was I such a bad parent that my child refused to believe I had knowledge she did not possess? In her eyes, was I ignorant of worldly information? Why were my words dismissed so easily?

My feelings fluctuated between concern, sadness and frustration, and finally pride.

Child development is influenced by the agents of socialization. The family unit instills values, morals and some early education. The basic foundation is set. Professor Justin Saldana, claims in a study for The International Journal of Humanities and Social Science that schools have “remained the most stable traditional agent of socialization.” That includes the authority figures in a child’s school and expands to include outside factors such as, friends and media. Saldana claims that schools are tasked with responding and complying with society’s needs and demands, for trained workers, intellectual citizens, and well-educated citizens. Even though the family unit remains the foundation. Was the foundation I laid just that unstable?

It wasn’t.

In acquiring new knowledge my kindergartner decided to question my expertise on the topic. As she should. Children should question whether a course of action makes sense. They should question an idea that seems farfetched. They should also question the source of their information. Because the topic of drugs was introduced at school, my daughter’s teacher became the de facto expert on the topic. An analysis on states “schools are the primary transmitter of information and knowledge.” That being the case, I see our interaction as a milestone in my child’s growth.

schools remain the most stable traditional agent of socialization. Click To Tweet

Question, analyze and investigate, then come to a conclusion. The same steps we use for the scientific method are the same ones we use to navigate life.

I am not an authority or expert on all things. I suspect at some point, I will have to hire someone to help her with math homework. I sometimes burn dinner and forget to put a spoon in her lunch bag. My child is very aware that even I fall short. She has taken it upon herself to make sure the information she receives is accurate—even from me. I can’t be mad at that—only proud. One day someone will attempt to pull the wool over her eyes and fail miserably—because trugs.

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One Comment

  1. hi, my name is Jamila Thompson, your so right education starts at home. I hope to dedicate at least an hour or so of just personal teaching after school for my son.

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