Middle childhood is a period of life between the ages of 6 and 11 that has been researched more profoundly in the past few decades. The transition from preschool to adolescence may sometimes seem insignificant and negligible; however, these are the most impactful years of a child’s life. Due to this, it is important to understand the implications and the aspects of human development during this age to ensure the best possible outcomes for adulthood. During middle childhood, students develop cognitively and physically, start forming social behavior patterns and are under a serious risk of establishing psychopathologies that have long-lasting effects on their lives.
Cognition and Physique
Middle childhood is a period that is noticeably marked by changes in children’s physical appearance, skills, and cognitive capabilities. With the eruption of the first molars and androgen secretion, students’ body’s growth slows down (DelGiudice, 2014). However, the increase in muscle and fat gains and the appearance of sexual differences become more prominent (DelGiudice, 2014). Typically, it is a period when boys start to display muscular attributes in strength and voice change (DelGiudice, 2014). As such, students of this age enter the part of their life where they are indicated according to their gender while still continuing to develop.
At the same time, middle childhood is a significant milestone in brain development, as it approaches the peak of overall brain volume, but not an overall development. The age between 6 and 11 is signified by more pronounced cognitive capabilities and perception (DelGiudice, 2014). Starting from middle childhood, students are able to understand different perspectives, contributing to conflict-avoidance and -resolution skills. Problem-solving, planning, and navigational abilities also begin to emerge, lowering the need for an adult presence in their survival (DelGiudice, 2014). Additionally, students of this age are evidently more self-aware and attentive and start regulating their behavior based on their environment (DelGiudice, 2014). Therefore, this period of human life is an essential part of brain and body development, when learning and physical training can be the most efficient.
Socialization and Behavior
Due to children’s growing independence tendencies in middle childhood, they are more often considered to be fully people and individuals. Due to this, they get included in social exchanges and responsibility-sharing regularly (DelGiudice, 2014). It is also related to their behavior development, as the children are more capable of understanding social cues and norms (DelGiudice, 2014). By being involved in caretaking, domestic tasks, and overall helping, students are exposed to the cultivation of the feeling of responsibility and comprehension of an adult’s life. Moreover, they start practicing these understandings through play with peers, which additionally results in more subsequent learnings (DelGiudice, 2014). Therefore, middle childhood is an important period of a child’s life related to social realization, often with consequences and effects on adulthood.
As gender differences and socialization mean more to children between the age of 6 to 11, they start to display and develop a sexual and romantic attraction. The responses to their interaction strategies with others start being understood, facilitating significant social behavior patterns (DelGiudice, 2014). This age bears a massive impact on the future reproduction maturity and success of a person. Additionally, the environment surrounding the children starts affecting other behavior patterns, such as aggression (DelGiudice, 2014). Therefore, introducing children of this age to various peaceful methods of gaining influence and attention, for example, doing favors, can reduce the chances of forming negative habits of expressing emotions critically.
Nevertheless, middle childhood breeds not only opportunities for positive development but is also a substantial period of development of psychopathologies. For example, introduction to competition, in general, is beneficial to children as it facilitates pragmatic abilities, especially those mediated by language (DelGiudice, 2014). However, intensified competition can lead to the onset of multiple psychological disorders (DelGiudice, 2014). Moreover, sexual differences and more active social presence contributes to the development of insecurities; some are related to gender (DelGiudice, 2014). In some environments, students may acquire unhealthy attachment styles that would affect their relationships for the majority of their lives.
With higher sensitivity to the surrounding environment correlated to this age, children also have an opportunity to develop erotic fetishes. It is a part of overall preference acquisition and the awakening of sexuality, which have long-lasting effects on human life (DelGiudice, 2014). Lastly, since middle childhood is associated with the first-ever realization of cultural differences, children’s behavior should be guided towards respect and acceptance (DelGiudice, 2014). As such, students between the age of 6 and 11 should be closely monitored since it is a period of the emergence of various psychopathologies and negative behaviors that influence their adult life.
Middle school is a major period in human development associated with long-lasting effects. Between the ages of 6 and 11, children enter the period of significant cognitive and physical ability formation related to gender and social personalities. They become more noticeable parts of society, learning about responsibility and establishing behavior patterns. This age critically affects a student’s future reproductive success and relationships. Lastly, it is a time of development of psychopathologies, meaning that children require as much care and attention.
DelGiudice, M. (2014). Middle childhood: An evolutionary-developmental synthesis. Child Develoment Perspectives. Web.