Middle Childhood and Adolescence

Effects of Functional and Dysfunctional Family on Childhood Development

A functional family is a well-organized family that has a healthy relationship among the family members. Children in functional families have high self-esteem and are able to approach life situations without fear. During adolescence, such children are not afraid to give and receive love and they are able to mingle and maintain cordial relationships with peers

A dysfunctional family is one that is undergoing stressful circumstances. The problem in such families turn chronic and impair the family’s association. Basic needs and needs of children are not met promptly and there are dominant patterns of negative parenting behavior (Paciello, et al., 2008). The negativity prevalent in such families induces stress during children development and if not checked, it may translate into self-hatred and irrational self-blame with high chances of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Children who grow up in families where one or both of the parents are drug addicts, become distrustful. Addicted parents make their families go under deep financial hardships and sometimes the parents are always away from the children weakening parent-child bond. Children in such families become distrustful because they find everybody unreliable and they do everything by themselves for fear of frustration. Such children are afraid to date and even get married for fear of experiencing another dysfunctional family ordeal (Pedersen, Vitaro, Barker, & Borge, 2007).

A family rocked by violence may make the children grow into being volatile and anxious about every situation in life. Such vulnerability exposes children to bullying in school and among their peers. These children may turn recluse and seclude themselves from human interaction since they are afraid that such interactions would spark violence. According to Steinberg, & Monahan (2007), other children in violent homes end up being aggressive and violent. This makes them anti-social and unfit for any peer interactions and people afraid to associate with them since they are easily sparked into anger. When such children get to adolescence, they may become self-destructive and emotionally broken leading to low self-esteem and insecurity. Such situation may cause borderline disorder and suicidal ideation among adolescents.

Impact of peers and changes in peer relations during child development

Through peer relations children acquire various skills by interacting with each other. Children learn assertiveness, how to respect each other, how to control aggression, and ways of conflict management. Children and adolescents learn social roles and how to express their feelings with each other during play, which helps them expand their thought process (Bongers, Koot, Van der Ende, & Verhulst, 2003).

Peer relation helps adolescents to enhance their collaboration kills through working cooperatively and interacting with each other. Such peer relations aid in social development by fostering communication skills among children and adolescents (Steinberg, & Monahan, 2007). The interaction teaches children of the appropriate manner to handle and address people and the unacceptable social behaviors. Peer relations help foster cognitive development among children and adolescents. When children join together in a club or a game, they exchange interests, express their views on social perspectives, and share ideas (Pedersen, Vitaro, Barker, & Borge, 2007). Such recreational and learning interactions among children exposes them to diversity of experiences which helps foster creativity, conflict resolution skills, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving skills.

Social relations and interactions among peers helps foster emotional growth and development. The bonding experienced during recreation, learning and leisure exposes children to different emotion such as joy, quarrel, and acceptance. Such companionship and peer camaraderie promote self-esteem which instills confidence in children and adolescents. Disputes encountered during peer conflict helps children to learn ways of anger-management and dispute resolution (Paciello, et al., 2008). The experience teaches children of how to express anger and frustration without breaking their peer relationships.

Additional Pressure in Adolescence

Most of the pressure that adolescents face is peer pressure. Most people in adolescent stage want to be seen as adults and want to fit-in among their peers. Peer pressure may coerce adolescents to engage in sex, substance abuse, or dating. Adolescents may want to indulge in nightlife and partying among themselves. Such parties are characterized by drug abuse and advances from opposite sexes. Adolescents in such places as peer parties, often indulge in sex since they feel old enough for it. This may lead to an increase in teenage pregnancy and Sexual Transmitted Diseases (STD) (Steinberg, & Monahan, 2007). Additional pressure that is rampant among adolescents is the pressure to fit in among the cool cliques. Adolescent girls may bleach their skin to gain the perfect complexion, boost their hips and boobs to get a perfect body shape, or stave themselves to gain perfect weight in order to fit among the cool girls and be likeable to boys (Pedersen, Vitaro, Barker, & Borge, 2007). Similarly, adolescent boys may face the pressure to indulge in uncouth activities in order to fit in gangs and cliques so as to appear cool. While in such gangs, boys may engage in drug and substance abuse and other societal vices.

Sexuality also poses untold pressure on adolescents. During puberty, children develop sexual attraction and emotional connection. Homosexual adolescents always find it hard to express their feelings for fear of being victimized for their sexuality. Such adolescents stay discrete and have to behave straight (Steinberg, & Monahan, 2007). They are sometimes forced to date girls and fake a relationship in order to remain discrete.

Development of Moral Values

Morality is the way by which people decide to lead their lives in relation to sets of principles and guidelines through which they discern right from wrong and good from evil. During childhood, people abide by moral values set by their parents, culture and religion, which all influence their decisions. Children abide by set rules and regulations basically to avoid being punished for doing contrary to the rules. However, in adolescence, children realize that rules and regulations are made by people and they begin to question set rules and principles, government, religion and authorities. At this stage, adolescents become rebellious and aggressive. Decision-making during early adolescence is influenced by peer pressure as adolescents begin to think abstractly (Bongers, Koot, Van der Ende, & Verhulst, 2003).


The growth and development of children is affected by many factors, among them family, peer pressure and moral values. A dysfunctional family leads to low self-esteem among adolescents and may lead to suicidal ideation. During adolescence, children start question set rules and regulations and begin to define their moral code. Children behavior can reflect their bad memories and experience you can read about this in that memory essay

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