Learning how to become human and to behave in ways that accord with the general expectations of others (in short, to be socialised) is a process that begins at birth and continues throughout our life.
We never stop learning how to behave, mainly because society - and our relationship to others - is always changing and we are continually faced with learning how to behave in new and different situations. When starting to look at the socialisation process, therefore, we can begin by identifying two basic types of socialisation:
Primary socialisation occurs between the individual and those people in their life with whom they have primary relationships.
A primary relationship is one in which the individual has a close, personal, face-to-face relationship with the people responsible for the socialisation process.
Secondary socialisation occurs between the individual and those people in their life with whom they have secondary relationships.
A secondary relationship is one in which the individual does not have a close, personal, relationship with the people responsible for the socialisation process.
Although, for the sake of theoretical clarity, I've separated these two concepts, in reality they invariably coexist in our lives (except, perhaps, for the very early years in our society when young babies have few, if any, secondary relationships). This idea is important to note because it is evident that when primary and secondary relationships exist at the same time, it is possible that:
a. Conflict may occur between the demands of primary and secondary socalisation.
b. The nature of our primary relationships will influence, in some way, the nature of our secondary relationships (and vice versa).