Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lisa Johnson on middle childhood

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 development.

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.


  1. Lisa, I agree that modeling is one of the best ways to help children learn social skills and what is accepted and what is not. It use to be called "teaching your kids manners", however, I am not sure what they call it now. Modeling can be done in possitive ways but unfortuniatly it can also be done in negatives. I found it is always helpful if a parent reads a book or two with their children concerning good manners. Maybe before middle-childhood, but none the less, the parent should try to learn from the book what they are trying to relay to the child. - Sam

  2. Nkechi Anyanwu
    Lisa, your blog is exactly what social learning theory suggests. It provides the foundation for behavior modeling which suggests that most behaviors are learned through observation and modeling. This modeling blog reminds me of the poem they used to read to us when i was younger called 'children learn what they live'. The poem helped me understand the power of observation and influence. sometimes, young children observe what people around them are doing, they may not display that same behavior at the moment but later on when they're confronted with the same situation they're going to display the same behavior that they observed previously. so it is important for parent or care givers to modeling the appropriate behaviors at all times because what they see you do is what they're going to do.
    Nkechi Anyanwu

  3. This is very true about modeling. Unfortunately, kids are looking at celebrities as role models. Most of what we see of these celebrities isn't real and gives kids an unrealistic view of life.
    -Jennifer Hancock