As children grow older they spent considerably less time with the parents. According to a study parents spent much less time with their children aged five to 12 in caregiving, instruction, reading, talking, and playing as when they were younger. Parents remain a major influence in their lives, but their growth and development is also shaped by their teachers and friends.
As a child grows older an increasing amount of time is spent with peers or friends. Like in a study a 2 year old interacted with peers for about 10 percent of their day, a four year old for about 20 percent of the day and between the ages of seven and 11 children spent about 40 percent of their day with peers.
Peer interaction is important as it has been seen that children who are frequently liked by their peers and nominated as a best friend have higher positive behaviors and low rates of negative behaviors. Where as children who are disliked by their peers have higher rates of negative behaviors and low rates of positive behaviors.
For children peers provide an environment in which they practice cooperation, leadership and followership, and form loyalty to collective goals. Children who are accepted and like by peers gain in social and moral understanding.
According to experts friends have important developmental consequences. Children who have friends are more confident, socially competent and than those who do not have friends. Friends play an important role in the socio-emotional development of a child. They provide your child with someone to confide in, share with, to be afraid with, and to grow with. Friendships in childhood form the stage for intimacy with adults as well.
During middle childhood, friends not only play with each other but like each other's personal qualities and respond to one another's needs and desires. Friendships mostly stay steady in middle childhood.
Peer interaction is important for appropriate socio-emotional development of a child. But the peer pressure can really get in the way of a child’s behavior and remember that peers are more persuasive than other people. Peers can manipulate your child without his or her being aware of it. The more popular a person is, greater is their influence. Hence it is important that you guide your child to find peers who can influence favorably. Curtail your child’s interaction with children who have negative behaviors.
You can help your child to deal with peer pressure by making them become confident, by accepting them as they are, and guiding them regarding the right and wrong choices. Develop a healthy relation with your child so that he or she can talk with you and be open with his/her feelings. Encourage self-discipline, respect for authority, teachers, elders. It is important that you teach your child to deal with peer group pressure and learn to make rational compromise between family values and peer group values.
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