The unsocialized toddler won't know how to act with friends.

Does Lack of Socialization in Children Lead to Bad Behavior?

by Erica Loop

Your child isn't alone in the world -- and most likely doesn't live in a private little bubble. Socialization with other children, as well as adults, impacts how your little one grows and develops. From understanding how to act around others to knowing what is unacceptable to do in public, socialization plays a primary role in how your child relates to the outside world.

1. Socialization

To an adult, socialization often means getting out there and going to parties, on dates or group meetings. To a child, this isn't quite the case. Socializing a child refers more to the process in which a child learns about other people through any type of interaction. This doesn't necessarily mean that if your child doesn't go to a large day-care or preschool facility, you have to start organizing daily playgroups or signing your little guy up for every activity available for kids his age in your area. You can socialize a child simply through interactions with yourself, your family, neighborhood kids or through almost any other person-to-person social contact. When it comes down to it, just because your 3-year-old doesn't have a calendar packed with parties and events doesn't equal a lack of socialization.

2. Lack of Socialization

An unsocialized child is one who is often neglected and isolated. Instead of taking trips to the playground or meeting up with neighbors, unsocialized children are frequently left alone. While this doesn't necessarily mean that a parent isn't present, a lack of socialization includes limited, the bare minimum or no interactions with other people or peers including her parents. For example, a child who doesn't go to day care but does partake in games with her parents, goes to the park every week and plays regularly with her like-aged cousin is engaging in socialization activities. On the other hand, a child who doesn't go to school and sits at home all day in front of the TV, or plays by herself most of time, will likely have a serious lack of social skills.

3. Socialization and Behavior

While you might see social activities as a way to get a minute for yourself while your little plays with friends, the process of socialization is really necessary to your child's development of certain positive behaviors, which can include having empathy for others, taking turns, sharing and even self-control. Without socialization, a toddler or preschooler, wouldn't understand how to enter into a group or even child-child situation. Kids aren't born understanding how to behave with other children, adults or in public. Instead, they develop behaviors through socialization that help them to respect others, understand emotions and keep their own feelings in check.

4. Bad Behaviors

On it's own, a lack of socialization won't necessarily lead to bad behavior. Just because a child isn't around other people doesn't mean that she will act out, get aggressive or engage in any other unwanted behavior. That said, an unsocialized child might not have the tools to navigate the outside world and can easily engage in behaviors that seem odd or "bad." For example, a 5-year-old entering kindergarten who has never been in a group situation won't know that she needs to wait her turn in a line or share. This can turn problematic when she has to wait her turn for the water fountain after recess. Instead of understanding that Jane, John and June get to drink before she does, the child with a lack of socialization might barge through the line. While this behavior is technically "bad," it comes from a lack of understanding.

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