Child Psychology

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Discuss the role of parents and peers in childhood and adolescent development and compare the influence of each.

Development of an individual from infancy, childhood, all through adolescence to adulthood is influenced by various factors. Some of these factors influence the individual’s behavior and shape his or her character. Parents and siblings nurture the child in the primary socialization category. School and the teachers are also involved at this stage. In the adolescence period, the individuals undergo secondary socialization. This is when new people start influencing his or her behaviors. Adolescents’ join peer groups and also pay more attention to the social media hence acquiring new behaviors. Other factors such as emotional developments also influence the way individuals’ grow and develop. This paper seeks to analyze the role of parents and peers in childhood and adolescent develop (Bukatko & Daehler, 2011, p. 62). It also seeks to unveil their influences’ and compare them. Good parental care during childhood development also aids in brain development of the child.

Parents influence almost all the aspects of development in a child. Firstly, the parenting styles used to bring up a child influences its development. Decent parenting skills ensure wellbeing of a child and also its social mobility. Parents have a crucial role especially in the educational activities they offer to the children at the early stages of development. Parents ought to have a good home learning atmosphere so as to aid in childhood developments. Another vital role is the need for parents to have good relationships amongst themselves. This should also be extended toward their children and peers so as to nurture children in a good manner. Parents should also be fully involved in what the children do in the household. Parent involvement is very crucial as the child’s cognitive ability thrives. Parents also have a role in ensuring that the child is in good health. Here, obesity is mainly watched out and tackled at an early stage if it appears. The major factor that parents should observe is setting up a good example towards the children. Parents have a duty to strive and be good role models to their young ones. If a parent is a good role model, the child tries to emulate the goodness hence healthy m oral development. Peers also have a role in supporting children in childhood development (Campbell, 2008, p. 73).

Their main duties are to set a healthy environment for child development and be good role models. Another demanding task for the parents in childhood development is interaction. Interaction ensures that a trusted relationship is established hence perfect development. Parents should also have good emotional identification. This helps the child realize the world and the things in it, the ones that are good and those that are bad and harmful. Family stories should also be narrated to children by both peers and parents. Positive stories helps raise a child’s esteem. Peers also influence childhood development. A child is defined by the United Nations as any individual below the age of eight years. As every child develops, he or she tends to make friends and form social groups. These social groups are steered by elder children hence are peers to the younger children. Here, younger children tend to imitate the behaviors of the older ones hence their childhood development process is altered (Ladd, 2005, p. 47). Peers aid the children in teaching them new vocabularies and socializing them into the larger society.

Another stage in the development of an individual is during adolescent period. At this period, the adolescent requires a new way of handling him or her and the parents’ aid too in the development. Parents have a duty of establishing a supportive relationship with family member and other friends. This gives the adolescent a sense of having a supportive family hence will in turn have a positive transition and development. Parents also, have a duty monitor the adolescents and ensure that they disclose what is in their minds. Monitoring ensures that the parents keeps track of the adolescent as disclosure aids in realizing daily activities and notice any deviation (Kerr, Stattin, & Engels, 2008, p. 34). Parents are also tasked with respecting the sense of autonomy in their adolescent children as well as ensuring that their information is well kept. Parents have a duty to realize begin of adolescence and expect change of behaviors. Conflicts are a common scenario during this stage and parents should know how to tackle them in most cases.

Peers also play a significant role in shaping an individual’s personality. At adolescence, peer groups are easily formed and shape the adolescents to face different life happenings. Peers and peer groups help adolescents in getting along with other people. This enables children to develop the necessary social skills and also realizing the dos and the don’ts. Peers also allow individuals to embrace moral values especially with parental guidance. Peers now have a chance to learn the required socio-cultural roles. They set their ambitions and life goals at this stage and a good peer group supported by parents works well to shape the adolescents. Peers facilitate better achievement of personal independence in various forms such as emotional support, social support, physical support and intellectual support (Levesque, 2007, p. 23). The peers also set a good ground of for experimentation with different identities and varying experiences. Here, peers develop a sense and also maintain and practice many cognitive and communicative roles.

In the past, an assertion emerged that friends played the biggest part in the development of an individual than the parents. I tend to support this stand mainly because children interact with their peers more than they do with their parents. This is a classic example of peer and peer groups during adolescent where adolescents detach themselves from their parents. If an individual meets a peer group that is morally insane and joins it, the parents would do little to stop the individual. This does not wholly suggest that parents do not offer to their parent, it means that friends and peers influence the development of individuals more that parents.

In conclusion, development of an individual is a societal effort. If one is brought up in a drugs and gun totting society, it is very hard to escape the same fate. This suggests that parents and peers ought to cooperate with other society institutions in growth and development of an individual. Positive support will ensure that an individual grows cognitively, psychologically and morally.


  1. Bukatko, D., & Daehler, M. (2011). Child Development: A Thematic Approach. Los Angeles: Cengage Learning. Print.
Campbell, O. (2008). The Role of Parental Involvement in Preparing Children Ages 4--6 to Enter School, Leaving No Child Behind. New York: ProQuest. Print.
  • Kerr, M., Stattin, H., & Engels, R. C. (2008). What Can Parents Do: New Insights into the Role of Parents in Adolescent Problem Behavior. New York: John Wiley & Sons. Print.
  • Ladd, G. W. (2005). Children's Peer Relations and Social Competence: A Century of Progress. New York: Yale University Press. Print.
  • Levesque, R. J. (2007). Adolescents, Media, and the Law : What Developmental Science Reveals and Free Speech Requires: What Developmental Science Reveals and Free Speech Requires. London: Oxford University Press. Print.