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Peer Acceptance and Identity Development

Peer Acceptance and Identity Development

A popular pro-social child considered both socially admired and accepted tends to combine social and academic competence. They also tend to perform well in school, solve social problems in a constructive manner, and communicate with peers in a cooperative and friendly manner. On the other hand, popular antisocial kids are esteemed for their socially skillful but belligerent behavior. Such kids are “tough” boys who are athletically skillful but perform poorly in school, challenge adult authority, and cause problems. They also include relationally aggressive girls and boys who increase their status by spreading rumors about others, excluding and ignoring them (Berk, 2020). Such behaviors seem admirable to peers, and this encourages acceptance.

Rejected-aggressive children tend to exhibit high levels of conflict, relational and physical belligerence, and manic, impetuous, and careless behavior. They have low perspective-taking skills, misconstrue innocent behaviors of their peers as antagonistic, and blame others for their social problems. On the contrary, rejected-withdrawn children are considered socially awkward and passive. They hold negative expectations about peer interactions and worry about being attacked and scorned due to their social anxiety (Berk, 2020). When conflicts arise, they urge to retaliate as opposed to compromising but are less likely to act on these feelings. Such rejected children are highly likely to be excluded by peers and tend to be harassed or bullied. However, the rejected-withdrawn tend to be victimized, whereas the rejected-aggressive tend to be bullies.

Parents and teachers can help rejected students through intensive academic tutoring to improve social acceptance and school attainment. They can also be helped through training in social problem-solving and perspective-taking. Parental support is also key in enhancing interpersonal relations.

During my adolescence, I navigated between identity moratorium and identity diffusion. I needed to explore so many alternatives. With my parent’s help, I explored various skills and found out that I was very passionate about swimming and also desired to pursue a course in psychology, particularly child psychology. Parents can encourage adolescents to try different alternatives to find what best suits them (Williams, 2018).


Berk, L. E. (2020). Infants, Children, and Adolescents (9th Edition). Pearson Education (US)

Williams, J. (2018). Developing Adolescent Identity. Center for Parent and Teen Communication.,social%2C%20ethical%2C%20or%20moral%20issues


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Unit 8 Discussion
Topic: Peer Acceptance and Identity Development

In this unit, you will learn about emotional and social development in middle childhood and adolescence. The focus of this Discussion is on peer acceptance in middle childhood and identity development in adolescence.

Peer Acceptance and Identity Development

Peer Acceptance and Identity Development

Please respond to the following:

Children in middle childhood begin to value the input of peers and are concerned with making friends and being well-liked by others. Unfortunately, not all children move through this period easily; some are teased and even bullied.

Describe the characteristics of a popular-prosocial child and a popular-antisocial child. Why do you think their peers admire them?
Describe the characteristics of a rejected-aggressive child and a rejected-withdrawn child, relating these peer classifications to peer bullying and peer victimization.
How can parents or teachers/schools help rejected children?
Adolescents are on a journey to discover an identity that is separate from their family. Erikson called the psychological conflict of adolescence identity versus role confusion. Current theorists no longer describe this process as a “crisis” but rather as a process of exploration followed by commitment. The various combinations of exploration and commitment yield four identity statuses typical of adolescents (identity achievement, identity moratorium, identity foreclosure, and identity diffusion).

Recall your identity development during adolescence and describe your identity development path by referring to the four identity statuses and explaining what factors influenced your identity development.
How can adults support healthy identity development in adolescents?

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