According to James narration and his current condition, it is agreeable that he learned the behavior from his late father. The role of a family as a socializing agent is seen in the way James was brought up. The family failed in its responsibility to provide the right way to its member. He grew up in a hostile and alcoholic family which nurtured his personality when he was young. James grew up in a family environment where his father was drinking to ‘’kill the pain” after quarrelling in the household. Other contributors to James problem are his coworkers as the mother admits.
James was encouraged by the pressure of his coworkers. It is a common practice that an individual consume less alcohol in their own capacity or when they are alone compared to when one is in a group. It could have been hard for James to go for drinking alone and the presence of his coworkers encourages him to drink more. Besides this, genetics might have played a role in modifying James problem. According to Goldberg, genetics is a predisposing factor to alcoholism. He showed that children’s born from alcoholic parents but either adopted by non alcoholic parents are at greater risk for alcoholism as in the case of James. According to many research on alcoholism, vulnerability of alcoholism was genetically caused. The genes from the father may have played a role in for James alcoholism status.
James mother found herself in a situation which was beyond her control. There are many agents of socialization in the society that are responsible for nurturing the society; it can be argued that some of the agents failed to socialize him leading to James problem. James mother might have done her part as a mother only that there were predisposing factors which were beyond her control for instance, male children’s born from alcoholic parents are fifty percent likely to be alcoholic compared to zero percent for female. This is a predisposing factor that was beyond James mother to control.
Besides this, other agents of socialization like peer pressure played a crucial role in luring James into alcoholism which his mother did not have control over. James drinking habit has worsened in his adulthood at the age of twenty four which has surpassed the adulthood age bracket. He has the full authority to control his life and modify it the way he likes since he is an adult. James drinking habit could be controlled; his mother had no role to play in this. Goldberg argues that siblings with alcoholic genes tend to abuse alcohol at earlier stages compared to other siblings of the same peer. This can be used to link the cause of James which is not the mothers fault.
James would still have a problem even if he were separated from his parents at a young age. This is because some of his problem is genetically caused which makes it hard to be healed through being separated from the family. According to Clinard and Meier, separation of a sibling from an environment of alcoholism does not prevent him from being an alcoholic if the parents were alcoholic. The alcoholic parental genes make the sibling vulnerable to alcoholism even if the sibling is separated from the alcoholic family. The inherited tendency of alcoholism could be the problem with James.
However, the problem of James is precipitated by the learned behavior from his peers and the family in which he was brought up. As Goldberg (2005) said, separation of the child from alcoholic family is not a cure if he has the alcoholic genes but will only prevent and minimize the learned behaviors. As in the case with James, separation from the family at juvenile is not the cure to his problem. James is right in arguing that he copied it from the father. This is possible in the way he was brought up; his family failed to teach him on the way to live and was majorly influenced by the environment in which he lived in. In addition, James seems to have interacted with his environment of drunkards including his father without getting a word of caution from his mother on the correct way to behave and what the society expects of him.
Reaction formation is a situation where an individual justifies his or her unpleasant behavior which something which is accepted in the society or through shifting the pole. For instance, James behavior is not morally accepted in the society, this makes him look for reasons to hide his behavior by blaming the mother. He seeks for societal sympathy through blaming them for the environment in which he was brought up as having influenced his behaviors. Strain theory looks at the structures in the society which makes individuals commit crime. Lack of basic necessities in life makes people commit a crime as a result of trying to make ends meet (Gaines & Moller, 2010).
James desire to live his own decent life is difficult for him and ends up taking the risk of getting the DUI tickets to make ends meet. The structures in the society make him commit a crime since he did not get the family teachings on how to behave on the society, he is not aware of the society norms due to the weak structures existing in the society. Lack of social control has enabled James to get into irresponsible behaviors that is beyond his control and starts giving justifications. In James case, he equally desire the happy life just like others but do not have equal means of getting the financial freedom to that, this motivates him to resolve to deviant behaviors to achieve his ambitions, and when he is cornered attributes it to the family.
As Gaines and Miller (2010) asserts, members of subgroup adapts to values of a subculture in which they are in. James was a member of a subgroup which belongs to certain individuals; they shared certain values which he had to conform to. Members of their group easily conform to values which promote their well being in the society for instance through drinking and violence among others. The standard of behavior that James put himself was predetermined by the sub group in which he was in as a result of isolation from the society. This permitted them to form a sub group of shared norms of values to enable them to conform to each other.