As children develop emotionally and
socially in middle childhood, they also mature physically, cognitively, and
their social relationships with family and peers also mature and change as well.
During this turbulent time of middle childhood, peer friendships take on a more
prominent role than ever before, and can include friends at school, in the
neighborhood, teammates, and siblings close in age. Communication and cognitive
skills continue to improve, white middle childhood children developing increased
interpersonal awareness skills, as a result, becoming improved at reading and
responding to others, understanding others’ intentions and needs, and why they
behave the way the do. These social skills lay the foundation for the formation
of closer friendships.
During this adjustment period, is when middle
childhood adolescents begin to take on some key components of adult
relationships and the dynamics of friendships begin to take on new dynamics.
These include mutual regard for another’s individual personality, abilities, and
behavior. They grow closer together because they learn to respect on another, in
the form of the other child’s kindness, humor, loyalty, fearlessness, and
intellect. Mutual trust and willingness to support each other are the
cornerstones of these friendships.
This is where modeling comes into
play, Modeling is when the children learn from someone else, such as their
parent, adult, older sibling or role model. If these “models” have positive
relationships with their peers, the children will more than likely develop the
same type of positive relationships as well. It is human nature for people to
form relationships in some fashion, so it is imperative that adults and others
set up a positive environment for children to follow. Bandura illustrates how
modeling is extremely important in childrens’ lives by stating that a positive
environment for a child to follow is healthy and one of the important steps in
A prime example would be a young male person who had many
friends in early childhood age group, but as he matured, his group of peers
narrowed down to two or three close friends who have much in common. They have
learned to respect each other and understand the boundaries of limitations each
young middle age child presents.