The Outsize Influence of Your Middle-School Friends
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A child's pre-teen and teen years are a high-emotion transitory period. This is due to shifting classmates, social pressure, multiple classrooms and a period of many 'firsts'.
A study on sixth-graders revealed that friendship is crucial and real for kids, and can be as deep as a parental relationship.
Most parents and teachers do not understand the importance of deep bonding among friends at school and tend to regard friendships as a distraction or a nuisance.
Social isolation is the dark side of the school, in which many kids with no friends are at risk of anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. There is a perceived sense of threat with being friendless, and the young, immature mind can deeply internalize the resulting difficulties, leading to depression.
Bullying at this age is also a major problem, with those who are socially isolated becoming the most vulnerable to being bullied.
Teenagers and adolescents are more likely to behave recklessly, do something stupid, or commit crimes when they are together.
Breaking the law or trying out drugs/alcohol is also done more often in the company of friends and schoolmates. This is known as the Peer Effect.
Social Buffering is a phenomenon where just the act of being together in a group, just the mere presence, lowers the anxiety and stress levels of teens.
It is a positive and protective effect of one individual on another.
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