Middle Childhood and Adolescents

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Social Work ・APA ・2 Sources


Developmental changes are a crucial part of child growth especially from middle childhood to adolescent and finally into adulthood. The different development stages of a child are described based on the expected behavioral changes and the types of relationships that are witnessed between the child and their peers or the family. Several factors based on the functioning of the family can affect the developmental stages of a child mainly from middle childhood to adolescence such as the shared and nonshared environments and family structure.

Effects of Functional and Dysfunctional Family Dynamics on Development

The type of family structure has a significant impact on the behavior changes of a child which can be seen as they transition from middle childhood to teenhood(Corsaro, 2017). A functional family is not described as a perfect family, but it is understood as a healthy family that is focused on the aspect of ensuring the proper growth and development of each member through actions that foster individuality, accountability and the application of basic family rules is flexible(DelGiudice, 2018). A dysfunctional is identified by the deviation from the parenting norms where there are constant quarrels which facilitate a toxic, unhealthy environment for individual growth and it can be associated with the different psychological disorders.

At the middle childhood stage of a child, they are very impressionable, and it is at this stage that the child begins to identify what is deemed healthy and acceptable in the society based on the family set up. Functional families foster positive attributes in a child which can assist them in becoming independent and reliable in the future(Corsaro, 2017). Functional families insist on observing the equal distribution of domestic chores and other family-based activities. Through such engagements, a child is in a position to understand the element of hard work and the element of teamwork based on the manner in which it applies in their daily life. For such a child, as they grow from middle childhood to adolescence, they will exhibit the same characteristics since it is at this stage that a child begins to shape their personality(Corsaro, 2017). Alternatively, dysfunctional families have no room for engaging in positive development due to the constant fights and absence of communication. The toxicity of the environment in dysfunctional acts as a shadow that prevents the child from acquiring any positive attributes which will enable them to grow into a responsible individual(Uzefovsky, Döring, & Knafo-Noam, 2016). As a child from a dysfunctional family gets to adolescent, they tend to dissociate from relationships especially with their peers due to low of self-esteem, and they are usually associated with psychological disorders in their adulthood.

Positive and Negative Impact of Peers and Changes in Peer Relations

During middle childhood, a third of a child's interaction involves their peers. From this presentation, it is evident that friendships are a fundamental part of the social development of a child. The interactions at the middle childhood among peers are characterized by the emphasis on the communal needs of acceptance especially by their peers and the fear of rejection(Lam, McHale, & Crouter, 2014). The positive aspects of peers in middle childhood is associated with the creation of the understanding where friendship is based on the element of sharing a current activity and the knowledge that such a relationship can last for a long time. Interaction with peers during the ages of 8-10 can be seen to focus more on appreciation for each other based on the adherence to "normative friendships"(DelGiudice, 2018) at the middle childhood stage. However, there is the fact that middle childhood interactions among peers tend to work parallel to the stages of social understanding. We can describe this by focusing on a case involving children who are unilateral negotiators and are social, informational perspective takers. Such a group tends to believe friendships are one-way(Uzefovsky et al., 2016). Such a situation presents the adverse effect of peers in the middle childhood stage where the child will have the perception that relationships are based on reward-cost which is associated with self-doubt among teens.

Pressure Among Adolescents Compared to Middle Childhood Stage

As a child moves from middle childhood to adolescent, they feel the need to establish their independence, especially from their family(Corsaro, 2017). In the course of this search for independence, teens usually engage in arguments with family members particularly parents regarding their decisions, beliefs, and ethics which applies pressure on them compared to the middle childhood stage(DelGiudice, 2018). Additionally, as the teens move from the middle childhood stage to adolescence, they are faced with exposure to sexuality, dating, drug use and alcohol. Due to the biological changes involved with adolescence, teens tend to have strong sexual impulses which affect the manner in which they view their bodies and their relationships with their peers especially those of the opposite sex which applies enormous pressure on their behavior(Lam et al., 2014). Also, as a child enters teenhood, they become exposed to experimentation with drugs and alcohol due to peer influences. Adolescents are highly impressionable and seek to belong in peer social groupings which is a stressful encounter at the adolescent stage.

Developmental of Moral Values from Middle Childhood into Adolescence

The ability of a child to exhibit moral values during adolescence is hinged upon their upbringing particularly at the middle childhood stage(Uzefovsky et al., 2016). Children whose parents are very supportive by providing them with time, love, establishing, boundaries, rewarding and encouraging tend to have high moral values as they come into adolescence. The supportive nature of parenting tends to facilitate a healthy environment where the child can justify right from wrong behavior as they face the peer pressure associated with adolescence(Lam et al., 2014). As a child gets to adolescence, supportive friendships can mediate the effects of low levels of family, and they tend to develop their self-worth and social competence(Uzefovsky et al., 2016) which makes them responsible, respectful, supportive, and diligent teenagers.


The environment of a child is very influential in their development. The type of family structure functionality is prudent in the manner in which a child with manage relationships from adolescence to adulthood. Functional families foster individuality and moral values while dysfunctional families are associated with psychological disorders and withdrawal from relationships. Interaction with peers from middle childhood to adolescence has both positive and negative effects on the manner in which a child will view relationships. Also, there is added pressure among teens as develop from middle childhood where they encounter challenges of sexuality, drug and alcohol use, and the need for independence from family.

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  1. Corsaro, W. A. (2017). The sociology of childhood. Sage Publications.
  2. DelGiudice, M. (2018). Middle childhood: An evolutionary-developmental synthesis. In Handbook of Life Course Health Development (pp. 95–107). Springer.
  3. Lam, C. B., McHale, S. M., & Crouter, A. C. (2014). Time with peers from middle childhood to late adolescence: Developmental course and adjustment correlates. Child Development, 85(4), 1677–1693.
  4. Uzefovsky, F., Döring, A. K., & Knafo-Noam, A. (2016). Values in middle childhood: Social and genetic contributions. Social Development, 25(3), 482–502.
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