Possessing a functional or dysfunctional family is of much importance to a healthy development, helping children through peer pressure, acceptance, and the anxiety of belonging. Yet how important is the environment that a child is raised on, this being shared or non-shared? How difficult or easy can peer pressure be? Will peer pressure help or deter a child from being functional.
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Children raised by a functional family have some standard to behavior. Parents are first role model. In a functional family, the words that come out from the young child mouth are very selective. The parents built them with such image of respect for both in and out of their environment. Other than behavioral factors, there are conditions that impair the development of the middle childhood. Children living in a non-shares environment maybe malnourished poorly guided, as a result of dysfunctional family. The attitude of such children will most likely be very raw, and disrespectful.
Regardless of the family structure, there are stress factors that affect the middle childhood and adolescence development such as separation from both parents if they are divorced, delayed puberty because of malnutrition, adaptation to new environment and peer pressure . Positive impacts of peers and peer groups could be moral development, close friendships, and stability. Negative impacts of peers and peer groups could range from rejection, to bullying, and to no sense of belonging. During the Middle Childhood stage, children tend to look for a sense of belonging.
As changes occur within and around them, they develop somewhat of their own culture. This culture allows the child to involve himself with others and create a bond that can compromise, share, and defend one another as an equal (Burger, 2010). As these bonds develop, moral growth is also developed. The morals that a child develops during these stages, sets a foundation for his or her morals to continue throughout adulthood. This childhood culture many times allows the children to develop close friendships. Close friendships become like an extended family to some of these children.
These friendships can also hold another positive effect on the child, by providing stability. Many children are affected by family disasters, such as divorce, and single parents. The stability of a close friend developing during this time continues to impact the child positively in to Adolescence and adulthood. It is always easier to discuss the positive impacts that peers can and may have on children in the Middle Childhood age, but negative impacts play a large role in a person’s life. One of the largest negative impacts that peers and peer groups can have on a child between the ages of 7-11, is rejection.
Rejection impacts the child from the time it begins and continues all throughout the development stages. Bullying is known to impact the child deeply through words and physical actions. Upon peers and peer groups, bullying and rejection can lead to of place. The negative impact of bullying and rejection can lead a child and adolescence into depression or even no sense of belonging. The effects that peers have on a young adolescent can determine how that child behaves and also how the child views the world around them. During adolescent years children often find themselves in scenarios that could harm their future wellbeing.
More than ever in this society as children find the need to belong or fit in to the popular crowd in school for acceptance they often tend to mimic their friends behaviors. This is often a result of the individual child trying to find him or herself. The results however, are not always negative. In fact, there are some positive results that may occur as a result of copying their peers. Simply stated, “When teens surround themselves with people who make good decisions and who are involved with positive activities and choices, it makes the adolescent child want to be better” (Stock, 2010 pg. 2).
Positive peers influence adolescents and can drive the child toward improved confidence, and improved grades in school. Inversely, the same can be said for the adolescent child who decides that he or she wants to be like his or her friends who have a negative influence. Children who fall into this category are those that are of the bandwagon philosophy. Those negatively impacted by peers often show signs of lower grades in school, increased distance from family. In fact, “peer pressure can lead to experimentation with drugs and alcohol, and various high risks behaviors” (Fact Sheets, 2009 pg. ). The changes in the adolescent child can have lasting effects depending on which type of peer influences that child may be surrounded by. The negative impact of peer pressure can be strong; however there are also positive influences. Healthy influences are important to have in our lives from birth until death. Additional pressures that adolescents face compared to middle childhood are mostly from the bodily maturation process. Puberty has an enormous impact on the attitude and character that an adolescent presents.
In addition, adolescents face a period of identity confusion. According to International Child and Youth Care Network (2001), “Identity formation arises from repudiation of childhood identifications and the assumption of new configuration with both internal and societal recognitions. ” Understanding the effects of puberty and its effects on the child’s identity, for boys, growing facial hair, voice changes, and the onslaught of acne can impede the need to find the identity of his ego. Girls will face breast growth, menstrual cycles, and acne as well during adolescence.
The pressures that arise out of coping with these changes are very different, important, and upsetting for an adolescent compared to a nine-year-old. Stages in a child’s life are diverse and will be expressed in the child’s behavior. When a child reaches middle childhood, he or she will be in what is called the latency stage. Latency stage is the time the child starts to make friends of the same sex, is subjective to specific sexual behaviors, and thinks in terms of morality, intellectual, and social skills start to develop.
As an adolescent, they would be in their final phase of the developmental stage which the child focuses more on a heterosexual relationship outside of the family. Given that adequate or appropriate adjustment to the environment or situations, a child can pass through preceding the preceding stages with the most favorable gratification. If not behaviors that inhibit a person's ability to adjust to particular situation can produce unfavorable results. Oswalt, (2008). Moral reasoning will portray the outcome of a child’s behavior in society .
There are three levels to moral reasoning and they develop in stages. First is pre-conventional reasoning which there is no integral part of values and external rewards and punishments force reasoning. Second is conventional reasoning that can be characterized by various integral parts of values, usually these values are put in place by parents. The third level is post conventional reasoning, this is when morals are altogether incorporated and is not contingent on non-essential sources. The media's impact and communal outlook with the development with adolescent has been far-reaching.
Today's children are pummeled with unachievable values on what is considered beautiful, exposed to violent images of sex and violence. Exposure to such expectations and combined with the physical and emotional changes, children are more likely to struggle with sexuality, be subjected to violence at school, and incur eating disorders. These early years in childhood development are times when children are most vulnerable and when psychological disorders like depression and other temperamental disorders start to appear during this stage of life.
Having a functional or dysfunctional family is of great importance to a healthy development. The environment and peer pressure are also of great importance, helping or deterring a child’s function in society
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