Changes in Peer Relationships
Positive Changes in Peer Relationships
During the periods of middle childhood (7-11 years) and adolescence (12-18 years), children become more focused on peer relationships because communication with peers provides children with the necessary support. Communicating with peers, children receive social support and feedback related to their actions and behaviors (Steinberg, Vandell, & Bornstein, 2010, p. 359).
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Positive peer relationships also provide children with the opportunity to compare themselves with peers, and they guarantee adequate stimulation for further social and intellectual development (Weiner & Freedheim, 2003, p. 255 ).
Children and adolescents need to be accepted by the peers, and the positive relations in groups contribute to increasing the children’s self-esteem and self-confidence (Steinberg, Vandell, & Bornstein, 2010, p. 361).
Positive Changes in Peer Relationships (cont.)
Social acceptance leads to decreasing the negative effects of stress on children and adolescents. Those children who develop positive relations with peers can cope with stress and difficulties more effectively.
Friendship is an important aspect of peer relationships, and friendship plays the important role in developing the children’s and adolescents’ emotions and moods (Weiner & Freedheim, 2003, p. 255).
Friendship is more important for adolescents who are inclined to rely on affection and building more intimate and close relations with peers. These positive relations are necessary for adolescents’ normal development (Steinberg, Vandell, & Bornstein, 2010, p. 362).
Negative Changes in Peer Relationships
Negative consequences of changes in peer relations are important because children and adolescents can suffer significantly from abuse as a result of their negative relations with peers.
Children and adolescents can suffer from peer pressure which often leads to peer conformity when individuals share the attitudes of peers and reflect their behaviors.
Peer pressure and conformity can result in increased stress and the development of depression and antisocial behaviors (Steinberg, Vandell, & Bornstein, 2010, p. 363).
Peer pressure and conformity are often associated with drug and alcohol usage, violent behaviors, and delinquency. For instance, adolescents often join street gangs while attempting to conform to the group (Weiner & Freedheim, 2003, p. 256).
Negative Changes in Peer Relationships (cont.)
Children and adolescents who have problems with peer status are often abused in groups, and they become ‘victims’ because of their non-conformity, poor performance, low peer status, and low self-esteem. As a result, these individuals suffer from depression.
Rejected children and adolescents suffer from the feeling of loneliness, and they can demonstrate aggression and antisocial behaviors as well as rejection to attend schools and other institutions to avoid communication with peers.
The most negative results of peer pressure and problems in peer relationships are suicidal behaviors as the consequences of depression and abuse (Steinberg, Vandell, & Bornstein, 2010, p. 362).
Steinberg, L., Vandell, D., & Bornstein, M. (2010). Development: Infancy through adolescence. USA: Cengage Learning.
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Weiner, I., & Freedheim, D. (2003). Handbook of psychology: Developmental psychology. USA: John Wiley & Sons.