"Do they get to play with children their own age?"
"Do they know how to play?"
"Do they....do they?....do they?
As this seemed to be such a major issue surrounding people in my world it started to become a major issue for me. Anxiety began at every play ground, at family gatherings and wherever we went to, I was my own children's hawk! (Just so you know I am speaking of a couple of years ago). Being a hawk upon my children actually began to open my eyes to how children have a God given natural ability to play and be free and to be who they are.
Here is an example of what I believe true 'socialization' is -
One day Joshua and I drove up the street to get our mail. As always Joshua went to the box on his own to collect the mail which he loves to do. Waiting in the car a couple of minutes went by, then another few minutes then five minutes and then I began to wonder where he was. So another minute later I began to get out of the car to check on him, but there he was strolling back to the car. I asked him "What took you so long", "I was just talking to a lady, but I don't know her name" replied Joshua without being too elaborate, and that was that! The next day I bumped into a lovely friend of ours and we decided to go for a coffee together. As we were sipping our espresso's this lady began to tell me of how she over heard Joshua speaking with an elderly lady near the post office who was selling raffle tickets. You see this lady was behind the Post Boxes placing all the letters in and she over heard the conversation between Joshua and this elderly Lady. She said Joshua stopped and chatted to her about all the animals he has and went into detail in how his animals were all doing. This friend of mine (who once was a primary school teacher) spoke of Joshua's confidence (but she mentioned not a cheeky confidence) and observation to stop and take the time to talk to an elderly person. She thought it is rare to see children take the time and talk to older people.
What I feel is socialization is being able to mix and talk to all ages not just your own age. This is how I am training my children anyhow to respect the elderly and to cherish the babies. Being children they do make mistakes of course, (as I do all the time) but when I heard this story from my friend I realized what socialization really is.