Middle Childhood and Adolescence


MiddleChildhood and Adolescence

Childrenusually undergo through various changes during the adolescenthowever, adolescence stage of development cannot be reached withoutfirst passing through the development stage of middle childhood.Although the middle childhood and adolescence stages are usuallyconsidered as the time when children have exploration as well asexcitement of gaining freedom and maturity, these stages are alsoidentified with the struggle of teens trying to identify themselvesas they enter into adulthood (Berger, 2008). This report will discusschanges that occur during the middle childhood and adolescence withrelation to family and peer relationships. Besides, it will discusshow these relationships in the development might have an influence inthe future development.

Changesin Regard to Family Relationships

Duringthe middle childhood and adolescent developments, children usuallycontinue to search for their independence, especially from thefamily. Adolescents usually argue with their parents concerning dailydecisions as well as other important issues, beliefs, and ethics.Engagement in family activities tend to change gradually as theadolescents try to spend a lot of time with their peers compared tofamily (Berger, 2008). In most cases, the pressure of fulfillingfamily activities causes unruly behavior in case it is not handled inthe right manner by parents. Pressure from peers is usually achallenge faced by adolescents. Adolescents have a need of belongingand connecting to a group, which may lead to a change of behavior inorder to accommodate that of the group. There is much pressure, whenthe adolescents compromise religious beliefs or family values in anattempt to identify with the peers. In the case of middle childhood,the relationship with parents is usually very close since unlike theadolescents, those in middle childhood tend to learn more from theirparents as well as from peers. Middle childhood is usually marked bythe art of mastery.

Changesin Regard to Peer Relationships

Peerrelationships are critical in establishing social connections, whereindividuals try to search their place within a particular socialgroup. Middle childhood shows important change in the view offriendships relationships that are established during this stage ofdevelopment may last for years. During middle childhood, peerrelationships that mature usually depend on how well a child developsan understanding of friendship (Newman &amp Newman, 2012). Changesin peer relationships during the middle childhood differ from thepeer relationships during the adolescence. This is because peerrelationships during the adolescence stage are on the ground ofcommonality instead of convenience. However, they are also groundedon the basis of emotional connectivity. In this case, members of peergroups have commonality in dressing, music preferences, and similarinterests.

Inmost cases, adolescents experience betrayal the moment they becomerejected by peers. As peer relationships grow, adolescents usuallypay much attention to social rules this is not the case in the caseof middle childhood development (Contreras et al., 2000). Howadolescents become treated by their peers usually designate theirsocial status. During adolescence, cliques are usually formed wheresome adolescents may be excluded from the group. When ostracizationoccurs, it has an exceedingly strong effect on an adolescent becauseit may have an effect on the self-esteem of an adolescent (Berger,2008). Maintenance of a group’s exclusivity is a distinctivecharacteristic during adolescence and fuels the need for uniqueness.

Inorder to help kids foster excellent peer relationships, it iscritical for parents to create strong bonds with their kids, developtheir self-esteem, aid in their decision making process abilities,and consider taking an interest in their friendships as well as theiractivities. The way in which children during the middle andadolescence stages bond with their parents and peers will influencefuture developments. In case there is a strong bond existing betweena child and the parent, it is more likely that a child would developself-esteem that may help him/her in developing good behavior in thefuture. However, when the bond between the child and the parent ispoor but stronger in peers, a child is likely to have poordevelopment in the future since it is more likely that the child’sself-esteem may become affected. In case of poor family structures,child’s future development can be affected negatively since thechild may develop some characters from peers that may be deviant insociety.

Positiveand Negative Effects of Peers

Inthe adolescence stage, children develop strong relationships withtheir peers in order to have an understanding of their individualidentity. However, at this stage, adolescents are likely to developpositive or negative aspects from the peers as they strive todiscover their identity. One of the positive effects that adolescentscan attain from their peers entails development of healthy values(Contreras et al., 2000). During adolescence, a child may identifywith a group that encourages the development of positive values. Insuch a case, the child would develop healthy values as he/she grows.Another positive effect of peers is that it can help a child inunderstanding how to cope up with challenging environments. Besides,peer pressure can be perceived to have a positive effect where ithelps a child in remaining focused and working hard in order toachieve his/her goal.

Nevertheless,peers may also have negative effects on the development of a childespecially during the adolescent stage. One of the ways that peerscan have a negative effect on the development of a child entailsengaging a child in drug use and abuse. Adolescents will usuallyattempt to engage in drug use and abuse so as to maintain the statusof their peer groups. Because of curiosity and compulsion towardssensation and excitement, it is difficult for adolescents to refuse adrug from peers. This may affect the development of a child sincepeer pressure may enhance the continued use of drugs. Anothernegative effect of peers is that they may play a major role inproviding advice concerning relationship matters, which may lead toadolescents experience depression, rejection, and frustrations thatmay negatively influence the development of adolescents.


Familyand peer relationships have a critical role in influencing the mannerin which a child develops. Because of the diverse changes experiencedduring the middle childhood and adolescence stages, it is importantfor parents to have a strong bond with their children. Strong bondamid a child and parents would ensure that the forces during thestages become dealt with positively. Peer relationships can have bothpositive and negative effects on child development during the middleand adolescents stage. Some positive effects are that a child mayadopt positive values and develop the theme of working hard in orderto achieve a goal. On the other hand, negative effects may includemaking a child engage in drug abuse and offering wrong advice.


Berger,K. S. (2008). Thedeveloping person through the life span (7th ed.).New York: Worth Publishers.

Contreras,J. M., Kerns, K. A., &amp Neal-Barnett, A. M. (2000). Familyand peers: Linking two social worlds.Westport, Conn [u.a.: Praeger.

Newman,B. M., &amp Newman, P. R. (2012). Developmentthrough life: A psychosocial approach.Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.