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When children enter school their contact with other children increases The proportion of social activities that occurs in interaction with peers as opposed to other contacts continues to increase throughout childhood By age 11 50 of the individuals social activity occurs with peers Hartup 1983 By adolescence time spent interacting with peers exceeds time spent interacting with the parent or any other socialization agent Larson Richards 1991 This essay will begin by defining the word peers before going on to discuss what is so special about peer relationships and describe the difference between friends and non-friends and then outline and evaluate the research relating to development in peer relationships By definition peers are individuals who are close in age to one another closely usually than siblings Thus in contrast with their status in most of their other relationships especially those with adults children are relatively equal in terms of power when they interact with their peers Furman Buhrmester 1985 The relationship between adults and children and children and peers vary mainly because of the equality between children and peers Piaget 19321965 suggested that because of this equality children are more open and spontaneous with their peers and express ideas and beliefs that they dont share with adults Children often take adults beliefs and ideas as obedience whereas children are more open to criticise and question their peers ideas and beliefs and more likely to ask for feedback when it comes to their own Kruger Tomasello 1986 From such conversations children and their peers often construct their own rules and ideas and explanations when it comes to how and why things work Before discussing research related to the development in peer relationships it is important that we understand the difference between friends and non-friends From around the age of two children begin to perform complex social interactions including imitate others behaviour and cooperative problem solving Howes 1996 Howes Matheson 1992 These more
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