Parents influence children’s development, especially children’s emotional talk, it

Parents are often viewed as
role models that teach children right from wrong and provide them with
day-to-day happiness and enjoyment (Patron, 2007). It is often thought that the
way children are brought up by parents can have great impact in their future
life (Patron, 2007). However, it can be argued that friends have a greater
influence on children’s behaviour than parents at home, whether this is in
school or in the community (Patron, 2007). This essay will look at this
argument of whether children learn most from peers and not parents as well as this
it will examine and discuss the positive and negative influences that it can
have on a child’s development. It will begin to explain how talking with family
can help children to understand emotions and through a secure attachment figure
children can learn the different ways of feelings. Though, it will also look at
this in detail from a different angle where care giving is a considerable
factor in understanding the risks posed to children, and use the example of
‘poverty’ to discuss this matter. Furthermore, the essay will also discuss how
peers could influence children’s development, for instance, socialising and
interacting with other children could offer opportunities for listening and responding
but also developing a close relationship through trust and reliability when
needing advice or help. In contrast, there are also negatives because if
children to not belong or identify with children in different racial group, it
could possibly lead to consequences such as bullying.

One way in which family may
influence children’s development, especially children’s emotional talk, it is suggested
that children can understand their feelings and emotions by talking with their
parents. Moreover, security of attachment is linked with emotional openness, as
it is highly possible that children with a secure attachment will be more probable
to use emotional language as well as be able to confer emotionally stimulating and
conflictual subjects (Shmueli-Goetz 2015). It is through a continuing,
emotional connection between a child and its attachment figure (the person who
cares for the child and offers safety and consolation) that an attachment
relationship can be formed (Seibert and Kerns, 2009). Children developing
social and emotional knowledge can in addition assist the progress of the perception
of self, psychological capabilities and ways of feelings. (Shmueli-Goetz 2015)
uses the work of Bowlby’s (1969), where he argued that attachment security has
a great impact on self worth and self-esteem. On the other hand some children
may not be able to communicate openly or comfortably with their care giver. As
a result early attachment insecurity improves the possibility of “psychopathology,
maladaptation and later problems” (Shmueli-Goetz 2015b). In spite of this it is
worth noting that sometimes parents are not always there for children to talk
to and discuss emotional feelings, for example they may go work and children
may go to school and if there are any issues or concerns that the child has
then they may talk to other people such as friends or teachers about this.

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Risks to children occur from
a variety of foundations. Risk factors are understood as influences that are probable
to harm children (Montgomery and Oates, 2015). For instance, insufficient care
giving is a significant feature in recognizing the risks put forward to
children. Some children living in the poorest countries may suffer from rigorous
poverty; this therefore means that they are at a higher risk of undernourishment,
hunger or death from sicknesses, which could have been simply avoided with the
correct communications or medical interference (Montgomery and Oates 2015b). In
comparison to the West, the child’s parents can have a great impact on their
developmental results. Babies that have been born to parents in the UK are expected
to have low birth weight and be born prematurely; these carry a larger possibility
of harmful development and particular chronic diseases later in the future too
(Montgomery and Oates 2015b). As well as this there is an advanced chance to
die in accidents and to have lower stages of good physical wellbeing.
Furthermore, living in poverty also has bad outcomes on children’s success and
well-being. Children ages 3 or 4 from wealthier families be inclined to achieve
higher on cognitive and language tests than children from poorer families.
Poorer children are also more probable to suffer from internalising difficulties,
such as “depression, anxiety, aggression and hyperactivity” (Montgomery and
Oates 2015b).Tess Ridge has closely examined the children’s own outlook of
poverty; she argues that children’s apprehension of poverty is of the feeling of
dissimilarity and separateness that being underprivileged and deprived carries with
it (Montgomery and Oates 2015b). Ridge claims that children dislike the embarrassment
of poverty and will enthusiastically keep away from particular assistance
presented to them, as it may stigmatise them or leave them out as dissimilar
(Montgomery and Oates 2015b). For example, free school meals are a sign of
poverty and therefore children feel they have to avoid this and subsequently
may skip meals. This illustrates how children are open to the elements of
emotional risks. So living in poverty does not just bring physical risks but mental
risks too (Montgomery and Oates 2015b).Conversely, it is important to note that
not all kinds of risks are damaging and detrimental to children. It is often
contended that being able to learn and cope with them is an element of the
developmental process. For instance, Donald Winnocott (1964) theory of
‘good-enough parenting’, explains that there is enough verification that when a
child deals and experiences easy-going stages of stress, it inoculates in
opposition to the results of stress in the future (Montgomery and Oates 2015c).
It can be claimed that children who have never experienced hardship or
difficulty are deprived in adulthood because they have not created and build managing
methods and would not know how to act in response suitably (Montgomery and
Oates 2015c).

Middle childhood is a time
where children develop strong bonds with other individuals, and peer
relationships are considered as important and significant (Shmueli-Goetz, 2015c).
Children begin to endeavour for independence and therefore their enthusiasm to discover
the world away from attachment figures expand (Shmueli-Goetz, 2015c). This is
facilitated by an awareness of safety and knowledge that a secure base can be
established with attachment figures. There are some studies that claim children
who are securely attached to their mothers are least expected to be discarded by
their friends (Shmueli-Goetz, 2015c).  In
a meta-analytic study, it was revealed that children that were viewed as secure
displayed advanced stages of social competence with peers, where they felt they
were accepted by them, but this was not the same case for children who were
viewed as insecure (Shmueli-Goetz, 2015c). However there are other factors that
influence the relationship between attachment and peer competence this incorporated
of, “socio-economic status, risk status and child gender” (Shmueli-Goetz, 2015c).
This has clearly shown that the features of attachment relationships have broad
implications for the quality of children relationships with friends (Shmueli-Goetz,
2015c). Moreover, linking this to relative significance of peers in influencing
child development in middle childhood, Dr Yvonne Skipper has claimed that
studies have revealed that approximately 10% of children struggle socially (The
Open University, 2015). This is considered as an important matter because
children who don’t socialise or interact with friends will have no chance to rehearse
skills like listening, reacting and are less probable to have friends later on
in life. This can also have an impact on their cognitive development as they
may find it difficult to listen to instructions or respond to the teachers (The
Open University, 2015). On the other hand it can be argued that children who
don’t interact and socialise with other children may be from another country
and therefore don’t speak English and so are confused and have different understandings
of the values and behaviours of interacting with peers. This can lead to low
levels of self esteem and self- confidence as well as feelings of loneliness
and isolation. In contrast, children who are fluent in English will understand
the different values and manners of interacting, they will be more successful
in making friends but more importantly will develop social skills, have
excellent communication skills and have a well-built awareness of their own

In childhood peer
relationships are considered as an important and significant aspect of
children’s lives. Children are often making choices about social exclusion and
inclusion. There are many consequences of social exclusion from peer groups in
later life, such as “depression, psychological maladjustment, poor academic
achievement, violence and school dropout”. Research shows that children’s group
identities: intra-group and inter-group relations and peer relationships are
impacted by children’s own understanding of group identity or social self. This
includes recognition of their sex, cultural, ethnic or national group (Rutland
et al., 2012). Moreover, the development of national identity is influenced by
many factors such as media, schooling, and the family and not just cognitive
developmental factors and social identity processes (Gallagher, 2015). A single framework created by Barrett and
Oppenheimer (2011) which incorporates the influences that impact children’s
intergroup attitudes (Gallagher,
2015). It is thought that through dialogue and behaviour of parents, can
impact the development of their children’s view directly and indirectly (Gallagher, 2015). For example, they
have power of where the family lives, contact with friends, schools and
interaction with individuals from various groups and mass media; this is all
considered as a basis of information for the child (Gallagher, 2015). Studies have illustrated that children tend to
prefer their own national group over all others (Gallagher, 2015b). Nevertheless in a report by Leman et al. (2013),
they asked 258 British children and British South Asian to pick potential
friends from their ethnic in-group or out-group (Gallagher, 2015b). White children tended to choose friends from
their ethnic in-group, whereas Asian children, aged 5 often selected an out-group
friend (Gallagher, 2015b). Additionally,
the social identity theory explains that in order for children to accomplish
and uphold a positive identity they need to obtain membership and recognize
with them (Duffy and Nesdale, 2008). It was claimed that children would categorise
themselves and other individuals based on race; this can direct them to stereotype
and hold negative feelings regarding the out-group (Duffy and Nesdale, 2008). It
was predicted that if children are in a diverse racial group instead of their
own racial group, then it was highly possible that they will get bullied (Duffy
and Nesdale, 2008). This shows that friends are not just a positive influence
in childhood development but could also be a negative influence because they
are more likely to experience feelings of low self- concepts and isolation if
they do get bullied or picked on, but to add to this they will feel they don’t
belong in a ‘particular’ group and feel excluded and unwelcome. This can lead
to damaging consequences for example, their academic achievement levels will be
low because they won’t concentrate in lessons or worry about what others are
thinking of them. They will also constantly be scared and worried so would want
to avoid their ‘bullies’, this may mean that they won’t socially interact with
other peers and stay indoors.

To summarise the claims that
are made in the (Patron, 2007) that children learn most from peers and not
parents are to some extent a reasonable interpretation of the evidence provided
above, but in some areas this is considered weak. A claim made by a leading
psychologist that parents play a vital role in teaching children from right to
wrong is to some degree correct; (Patron, 2007) however this depends on the
family’s life-style and socio-economic status. Each families situation is
different as compared above some are wealthier whereas some are in a poorer
state, this may mean that the child may suffer, for example, one important
aspect of what is ‘right’ is having an education, poorer children may not have
access to resources such as books, computers, internet and stationary in order
to study, but others from a more privileged family will be advantageous than
them, and will be likely to do well in school and achieve and be successful in
their career. As well as this some children could turn to peers as (The Open
University, 2015) comments that children see their friends as trustworthy,
reliable and consistent because they provide advice and are always there for
them. Accordingly children as Dr Yvonne Skipper suggests are able to offer
opportunities to practice listening and responding and develop their social
skills with each other (The Open University, 2015). Moving on to the notion
that what happens to children outside the home has a long term effect on the
way they turn out. For instance, if children are unable to achieve and maintain
a positive social identify because they get bullied due of their race; this
could lead to violence and anger because of the way they were treated in
school; it could also have detrimental effects on their self-confidence and
self-esteem. This could still be the same case if children came from a loving
and affectionate family, but the effects of bullying could still impact and
affect them badly. Nonetheless, there are some studies that show the connection
between the importance of how both family and friends influence children’s
development, (Shmueli-Goetz, 2015c) has used other studies to demonstrate that
children who had a secure attachment with their attachment figures had higher
levels of social competence with peers. This has clearly shown that the kind of
attachment relationships that children have with their care giver has
insinuation for the quality of children’s relationships with peers (Shmueli-Goetz,

To conclude, both peers and
family significantly influence child development in middle childhood.  As the essay has illustrated that parents as
an attachment figure can allow children to talk openly with them about
emotional feelings and help them to grow and progress on their social and
emotional understanding (Shmueli-Goetz, 2015). It can also establish the
progression of self, psychological capabilities and ways of feelings. However,
there are some negative influences from this such as, how care giving is a
considerable aspect in understanding the risks put forward to children. For
instance, poverty is considered as something children want to avoid being part
of as it involves stigmatisation and being different to other people. It can
also have more internalising issues like depression and aggression. Comparing
this to how friends influence child development in middle childhood, as Dr
Yvonne Skippers suggest that children feel that they could identify with
friends and have sense of belonging in their group. This as result creates
feelings of trust and reliability in addition to a person who they always turn
to when they need help. In contrast there are also some negative influences on
child development because some people from different outer racial groups may
struggle to be accepted and identify with other people from different racial
groups because of stereotyping and negative attitudes towards the out-group.
This could accordingly lead to bullying because they do not fit in or have no
sense of belonging. What is more as (Rutland et al., 2012) has shown that being
excluded from peer groups can have effects such as depression and violence.








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