As a parent, it is natural to want your child to succeed academically and socially. Middle school years become primetime for a child to grow in these ways. This is a time when teenagers start to categorize themselves and their classmates into a variety of cliques and social circles, marking the formation of their personal identities. During this time, teenagers face a number of different transitions: the transition from elementary school to middle school, transition into a more socially complex world, and the transition into puberty. Peer influence, the way in which peers play a role in the development of an individual, can be seen as both positive and negative. During early pubertal development, positive peer influence provides a support system for the teenager during a time of many changes. In contrast, negative peer influence, in combination with other developmental and environmental changes, can have a hindering effect in the academic achievement of middle school students across the nation.
Similar individuals have more social contact with one another. (Feb 10, 2014) Just as well adjusted teenagers seek out friend groups or individuals with similar interests, teenagers exhibiting disruptive behavior before the transition to middle school are more likely to associate with other maladjusted youth, thereby increasing the likelihood that these teens will experience further maladjustment. (Gifford Smith) Negative peer influence can lead to delinquent behavior. According to Gifford Smith, “deviant youth become even more deviant is through unrestricted interaction with deviant peers.” (Gifford Smith) Academically, students that have been expelled, held back, or classified into a lower tracking tier are likely to be exposed to students with similar characteristics instead of academically successful teens and this will limit a student’s academic success. (Gifford Smith) “Socially withdrawn, shy, and inhibited children are prime targets of