Changes in Peer Relationships
Middle childhood and adolescence are from ages 5-12 years old and from 13-19 years old respectively and each have their own psychosocial crisis according to Erikson; middle childhood has industry vs. inferiority and adolescence has identity vs. role confusion. In middle childhood self-concept no longer mirrors the parent’s perspective and the child is much more concerned with the opinions of their peers (Berger, 2011). Peer relationships are beginning to become more and more important and shape the child’s self-esteem. Close friendships are important during this time. The friendships become more intense and intimate as social cognition advances. Children that are in the later stages of middle childhood demand more of their friends, change friends less often, become more upset when a friendship breaks up, and find it harder to make new friends (Berger, 2011). Now in adolescence peer relationships become even more complicated. There is also peer pressure in this stage; which is encouragement to conform to one’s friends or contemporaries in behavior, dress, and attitude (Berger, 2011). Selecting friends becomes very important in this stage because of the amount of impact they have- it can be beneficial or harmful. During the adolescent years, teen peer groups become increasingly important as teens experience more closeness in friendships and more gratifying relationships with their peers and teens now turn to one another, instead of their families, as their first line of support during times of worry or upset (Oswalt & Zupanick, n.d.). The number of close friendships decline from middle childhood to adolescence but the number of casual acquaintances rises. Sex is also an issue in adolescence and many of the information adolescents learn is from their peers. Teens discuss their relationships with other peers and seek advice and approval.
Berger, K. S. (2011). The developing person through the life span (8th ed.)....
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