MIDDLE CHILDHOOD (ages 8-11)
Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu
Below are characteristics of the "typical" child during each developmental stage from middle childhood through early and middle adolescence (ages 8-18).
Children's progression through these stages is determined not only by biological growth and change, but also by temperament and personality, adult expectations, and social influences.
- Period of uneven growth of bones, muscles, and organs can result in awkward appearance.
- Early onset of puberty can present difficulties for girls; for boys, it can result in adult expectations more appropriate for older boys.
- Since some adolescents begin puberty during middle childhood, children need access to information about sexuality and puberty prior to the middle-school years.
- Logical thinking with limited ability to extend logic to abstract concepts; disdain for imaginative and illogical thinking of early childhood.
- Accumulation of much general knowledge.
- Gradual development of ability to apply learned concepts to new tasks.
- Frequent interest in learning life skills (cooking, fixing things, etc.) from adults at home and else where.
- Predominantly egocentric in thinking, although has developed a conscience.
- Moves from thinking in terms of "What's in it for me" fairness (e.g., if you did this for me, I would do that for you), to wanting to gain social approval and live up to the expectations of people close to them -- "golden rule" morality (can take perspective of others, may place needs of others over own self-interest).
- Moral thinking abilities not always reflected in children's behaviors.
- Influenced by relationships with family members, teachers, and increasingly by peers.
- Often relatively low level of concern about physical appearance (especially boys), although this is influenced by peers as well as the media.
- Many boys experience pressure to conform to "masculine" stereotype.
- Girls' body image declines precipitously with puberty, especially with early onset.
- Early onset of puberty is also associated with lower self-control and emotional stability, especially for boys.
Psychological and Emotional Traits
- Need to develop a sense of mastery and accomplishment.
- Frequent interest in making plans and achieving goals.
- Learning from parents and others to do, make, and fix things.
- Tendency to be disorganized and forgetful.
Relationship to Parents and Other Adults
- Tends to be closely attached to parental figures.
- Parents commonly make most decisions, affecting child, with child involvement in decisions increasing with age.
- Most frequent conflicts over sibling quarrels and forgetfulness with respect to chores, schoolwork, and messiness, especially of child's bedroom.
- Parental listening skills become increasingly important.
- Parent-child communication patterns can change with puberty. Many adolescents report that (a) they can't talk with parents about issues related to sexuality, and (b) they don't get needed information in sex education courses at school.
- Friendships often with same-gender peers, usually based on proximity, common interest/hobbies, or other perceived commonalities. Girls usually have fewer, but emotionally closer, friends than boys.
- Formation of exclusive "clubs" and shifting peer alliances common.
- Media influences and popular culture increasingly impact children's peer activities and relationships.