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Influences on Children

As children grow up, they are influenced more and more by the world outside their home, and by their friends, friends parents, teachers, and others they meet and interact with in the outside world. Young children learn from their parents, and they are influenced by their genetic makeup, which influences their personality type, e.g. shy, outgoing, smart, athletic, or neurotic (Harris, 2002). They will also be influenced by where they live - a busy city or a small town; by what their parents do - whether they are professionals or trades people, whether or not the mother works; by the social life of their parents and family - do they get to interact with other people a lot, are they members of clubs, societies, sporting groups etc.; whether they live near an extended family, or just the nuclear family; and what sort of school they attend. Children are influenced as they grow up by their peers - playmates and school friends. For instance, boys brought up in homes where guns, even toy ones, are forbidden will still make model guns out of legos, or any other play materials because they learn from their peers and from the media that guns are great toys for boys and they are a symbol of strength and authority.

As children move into adolescence, the influence of peer pressure increases, and influences their choice of clothes, of music, their attitudes about life (Harris, 2002, 107). This is not necessarily bad, because adolescents usually spend their time with friends who share their interests and their life style. It has also been shown that peer pressure can have beneficial effects, such as keeping young people in social groups, on sports teams (Rafenstein, 2002).

Peer pressure can be beneficial in some classes where the majority of students are doing well because it stimulates the other students to keep up (Rubin, 2003). This was proved by researchers at the San-Francisco based Public Policy Institute of California when t...

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