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12.7: Peer Relationships

  • Page ID
    25547
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    Most children want to be liked and accepted by their friends. Some popular children are nice and have good social skills. These popular-prosocial children tend to do well in school and are cooperative and friendly. Popular-antisocial children may gain popularity by acting tough or spreading rumors about others (Cillessen & Mayeux, 2004). Rejected children are sometimes excluded because they are shy and withdrawn. The withdrawn-rejected children are easy targets for bullies because they are unlikely to retaliate when belittled (Boulton, 1999). Other rejected children are ostracized because they are aggressive, loud, and confrontational. The aggressive-rejected children may be acting out of a feeling of insecurity. Unfortunately, their fear of rejection only leads to behavior that brings further rejection from other children. Children who are not accepted are more likely to experience conflict, lack confidence, and have trouble adjusting.

    clipboard_e576aa2596098e5505892d883b45ef599.png
    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Peer relationships are particularly important for children. They can be supportive but also challenging. Peer rejection may lead to behavioral problems later in life. (Image by tup wanders is licensed under CC BY 2.0)

    Peer Relationships are studied using sociometric assessment (which measures attraction between members of a group). Children are asked to mention the three children they like to play with the most, and those they do not like to play with. The number of times a child is nominated for each of the two categories (like and do not like) is tabulated. Based on those tabulations, children are categorized into the following:

    Table \(\PageIndex{1}\): Categories in Peer Relationships (Lifespan Development: A Psychological Perspective by Martha Lally and Suzanne Valentine-French is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)
    Category Description
    Popular Children Receive many votes in the “like” category, and very few in the “do not like” category.
    Rejected children Receive more unfavorable votes, and few favorable ones.
    Controversial children Mentioned frequently in each category, with several children liking them and several children placing them in the do not like category.
    Neglected children Rarely mentioned in either category.
    Average children Have a few positive votes with very few negative ones.

    Popular-prosocial children

    Are nice and have good social skills; tend to do well in school and are cooperative and friendly.

    Popular-antisocial children

    May gain popularity by acting tough or spreading rumors about others.

    Rejected-withdrawn children

    Are shy and withdrawn and are easy targets for bullies because they are unlikely to retaliate when belittled.

    Rejected-aggressive children

    Are ostracized because they are aggressive, loud, and confrontational. They may be acting out of a feeling of insecurity.

    Unfortunately for rejected children, their fear of rejection only leads to behavior that brings further rejection from other children. Children who are not accepted are more likely to experience conflict, lack confidence, and have trouble adjusting. (Klima & Repetti, 2008; Schwartz, Lansford, Dodge, Pettit, & Bates, 2014). 53

    Contributors and Attributions

    53. Lifespan Development: A Psychological Perspective by Martha Lally and Suzanne Valentine-French is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0


    This page titled 12.7: Peer Relationships is shared under a CC BY license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Paris, Ricardo, Raymond, & Johnson (College of the Canyons) .