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The Influence of Family and Peers

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Discuss and analyze the impact of peers and school in middle childhood. Provide specific illustrative examples of how peers and school positively and negatively influence the development of children in the pre-adolescent years. Discuss the role of the family in children’s adjustment (psychosocial and academic domains). Peers become progressively more significant in middle childhood. ” School-age children, in contrast, are painfully aware of their classmates’ opinions, judgments, and accomplishments” (Berger, 2012). Children concerns about acceptance within different peer groups come to terms in middle childhood. Friendships are important for social development because children learn more from children their own age than they learn from their parents. Parents demand order and respect and in retrospect are much older than the child. “Friendships become more intense and intimate as social cognition and effortful control advance” (Berger, 2012). The social apprehensions of middle aged children often focus on the common needs of acceptance by peers and avoidance of rejection, nevertheless, being rejected due to culture and popularity are seen throughout middle childhood.

“Whether in the form of teasing, bullying, exclusion, or isolation due to lack of friendships, virtually all children experience peer rejection from time to time” (Blacher & Eisenhower, 2004). In society, during middle childhood, children are accepted and popular if they are athletic, cool, outspoken, and dominant. Children dealing with rejection by peers experienced depression, society anxiety, and low self-esteem. Coping mechanisms include “behavioral strategies like ignoring those kids and acting like nothing is going on, and just trying to forget about it” (Blacher & Eisenhower, 2004). Bullying is defined as “repeated, systematic attacks intended to harm those who are unable or unlikely to defend themselves” (Berger, 2012). Bullying occurs everywhere such as schools and communities, and has a very negative influence on the development in children. There are many different forms of bullying. Bullying can be eliminated by children speaking out and teachers listening to the students.

The role of family is crucial to the development of children’s adjustment. Families provide love and support to children of all ages. Families can help the child psychosocial development by providing play dates and encouraging the child to participate in group activities (Berger, 2012). By providing a safe home for the child provides harmony, stability and a protective home (Berger, 2012). Over-all, nuclear families function best because “children in the nuclear structure tend to achieve better in school with fewer psychological problems” (Berger, 2012). Families influence child development by supplying needs, encouraging learning, teaching the child to have self-respect, and uplifting the self-esteem of a child.


Berger, K. S. (2012). The Developing Person: Through Childhood and Adolescence. New York: Worth Publishers. Blacher, J., & Eisenhower, A. (2004, Overcoming peer rejection and promoting friendship. The Exceptional Parent, 34, 73-76. Retrieved from http://serch.proquest.com.library.capella.edu/docview/223508075?accountid=27965

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