This chapter examines childhood socialization. By childhood, the authors mean the period from birth to adolescence. Childhood is a social concept, shaped by historical, cultural, and political influences. The chapter discusses the importance of "nature" in understanding children's development. It also discusses the life course and gender roles in American society. The chapter introduces several theories about how a person becomes an effective member of society: the developmental perspective, the social learning perspective, the interpretive perspective, and the life-course perspective. It summarizes the correlational and experimental evidence linking exposure to portrayals of violence in the mass media with aggressive and violent behavior. The chapter also discusses some specific outcomes of the socialization process, including gender role, linguistic and cognitive competence, moral development, and orientation toward work. It provides information on the acquisition of knowledge of social rules and on the process through which children become capable of making moral judgments.