Family and Middle Childhood

Middle childhood is the period of life that occurs between the ages 7 and 11. During these times of children lives they are in school and are making many different friends, and their cognitive and physical skills are enhancing. On the other hand, middle childhood period normally introduce individuals into new sets of challenges; not only for the child but for the parents as well. After middle childhood comes the adolescence stage, this period of life children face drastic changes. This stage can range from as early as 8 years old to 18.

This essay will describe changes that occur during middle childhood and adolescence concerning family and peer relationships, and how they might influence future development. Established and caring families are central components throughout middle childhood and adolescence developmental stage. The way a family works and cares for its member is called family function. The most vital family function is to provide a place of protection for each family member. Individuals of different age ranges have particular needs from their relatives.

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Berger’s (2010) study found the following: Children thrive if families function for them in five ways: 1. Provide basic necessities. Children aged 6 to 11 can eat, dress, wash, and sleep without help, but someone must provide food, clothing, and shelter. 2. Encourage learning. School-age children must master academic and social skills. Families can support and guide their education, via parent–teacher communication, homework help, and so on. 3. Instill self-respect. As they become cognitively mature, school-age children are self-critical and socially aware.

Families help them feel competent and capable. 4. Nurture peer relationships. School-age children need friends. Families can provide the time and opportunity to form friendships by arranging play dates and other social activities for them. 5. Ensure harmony and stability. School-age children need protective and predictable family routines; they are troubled by conflict and change. (p. 281-282) Although no family functions perfectly, if these functions are applied in households it will help the family members function in a proper manner.

Parents should limit how much their children watch television; instead they should interact, read, and communicate more with the children that could help with future development. When a family fails to use the different functions listed above that is when the chances of dysfunctions increase. Some dysfunctions are worse during certain periods of the life span than others. For example, divorce is a drastic experience for families, but it is harder on children, mainly for the children who are already facing changes, such as going to kindergarten or middle school.

Dysfunction includes many aspects of detrimental relating, which can consist of things like manipulation, abuse (verbal, sexual, and/or physical). Dysfunction is passed down from generations until it is enabled into the family. Low income families encounter many dysfunctions because the parents cannot provide for their children. Poverty makes it more difficult for parents to provide all five functions that were mentioned above. Family structure is the legal and genetic relationships among relatives living in the same home; that includes nuclear family, extended family, stepfamily, and so on.

Normally, it is better for children to have two parents as oppose to having one because both parents can support their children development. Single-parent families and blended families have higher rates of change in residence and family structure, which adds stress in middle childhood. However, structure matters less than function. Individuals living in the same setting experience shared environmental influences, which involves actions that are taken to make children similar, such as using similar parenting styles, playing with the same toys, being around the same peers, living in the same neighborhood, and attending the same school.

Shared environmental influences are Children’s common environmental experiences that are shared with their siblings, such as their parents’ personalities and intellectual orientation, and the neighborhood in which they live. Then there are nonshared environmental influences which is when children have distinctive experiences of their own, both within the family and outside the family, which are not shared by other siblings. Peer relations are important features of human development. In the middle childhood stage children are starting to hang around other children.

Peer crowds are supported by common interest and backgrounds. Children in the middle childhood and adolescence group are extremely persuaded by their close peers; therefore accumulating positive friendships is significant during this time. When children have positive friends it is a good thing because positivity keeps the children from misbehaving. On the other hand, during the adolescence stage teens may have friends who share comparable interests. During adolescence, looks and individuality seems to be the two most significant factors.

Sex is a huge epidemic in the adolescence stage as well; teens are exposed to dating and intimacy. The use of alcohol, different drugs and higher levels of negligence are a danger during adolescence, mainly if their groups of friends have been exposed to those things. Peer pressure is a negative impact among adolescents. Adolescents often worry about how others perceive them; they always want to be accepted. The young child’s sense of self and social awareness becomes the foundation for morality. This is evident in both prosocial and antisocial behavior.

Children develop increasingly complex moral values, judgments, and behaviors as they mature. Moral development is ongoing; social values are the result of both nature and nurture. The “nature” side suggests that morality is genetic, an outgrowth of natural bonding and attachment. The “nurture” side contends that culture is crucial, as children learn the values of their community. In conclusion, childhood and adolescence are both critical stages of life. Children face many changes and challenges, in order to deal with these different obstacles children must have supportive family members.

Overall, this essay covered some of the changes that occur during middle childhood and adolescence concerning family and peer relationships, and how they might influence future development.


EBOOK COLLECTION: Berger, K. S. (2010). Invitation to the Life Span. New York: Worth Publishers. Online Learning Center. (2002). Retrieved from http://highered. mcgraw-hill. com/sites/0072414340/student_view0/glossary. html? &lang=en_us&output=json&session-id=1b3cadf80db3b22a04251c8100e8c4c4

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Family and Middle Childhood. (2016, Dec 18). Retrieved from