On the other hand, children will experience much more difficulty than adults do in forming friendships when constantly moving around. Being the new student in the class is anything but amusing. A child may face feelings of fear, shyness and vulnerability in the presence of his new classroom, as Harris (2001) suggested, “when we moved to another town, I was an outcast” (p. 38). Classmates may be very cruel to a new student, while others may be more interested in their new peer. In some cases, all the students in the class may not show interest in a new classmate, whereby “None of my classmates would play with me or talk to me.
It was terribly painful” (Harris, 2001, p. 38). Depending on the child, this may either be a positive or a negative influence to him or her. Similar to many previous cases, a child may accumulate all the pressure he or she is under and isolate him or herself from the rest of the class. This is one of the most important influences that may scrape a child’s ability to form genuine friendships. The reluctance of children to form friendships with other children in a classroom environment may also deteriorate a child’s ability to form friendships.
A child may be denied acceptance into a “clan” of students simply because of physical appearance, personal interests or behavior. Children will constantly attempt to gain acceptance in a specific group of kids and may do whatever it takes to fulfill that need, as Harris (2001) suggested, “A kid might yield to his mother and put on a jacket, but if the other kids aren’t wearing jackets, off it comes the moment he’s out the door” (p. 39). Children will reattempt and may do what “they think it takes – to win the respect of their peers” (Harris, 2001, p.
39). However, imitating other children behaviors will not always guarantee acceptance. A child may still be ignored and picked on however much he tries, and in some cases may cause extreme self-consciousness and insecurity. As a result, a child may only attempt to form friendships with children whom are also rejected, or whom are of the same race and share the same interests as Harris (2001) suggested, “Kids who are rejected by the desirable peer groups of their high school will often get together and form their own group”.
It is very hard to reverse a person’s insecurities, especially when they are older. This utterly confines a person’s ability to form genuine friendships as his or her range of people becomes increasingly narrow. Consistent parent involvement in a child’s overall behavior and social affairs is “immature” in the eyes of the general classroom. Although most parents do play a role in their child’s social environment, some kids do a better job at hiding it than others, while some parents show it much more often than others.
Children who openly reveal their parent’s involvements in his or her life and children who are regular “teacher’s pets” will not be too popular, as Harris (2001) suggested, “to win the respect of one’s peers in high school, it is necessary to show that one is not too much under the thumb of one’s parents or teachers” (p. 39). School children find being rebellious against parents and teachers most daring, and therefore a child who is constantly associated with his mom or dad will be a “loser”.
Children know that they need to demonstrate independency in the eyes of their classroom because as Harris (2001) suggested, “adults are them, not us” (p. 39). Forming friendships as a child is a very delicate process, and any sign of parent interference may instantly jeopardize the entire friendship process. Children always following rules are not “demonstrating their solidarity with the members of their own generation” (Harris, 2001, p. 39), and will be remembered as such by the rest of the class.
At this point it is very hard for a child to expunge his reputation, and will therefore find it increasingly difficult to form genuine friendships. The childhood phase is one of the most important phases that determine one’s future capabilities in forming friendships. Constant movement from one home to another, denied social acceptance in a school environment, as well as persistent parent and adult interference in a child’s social affairs are some of the most crucial influences in determining a child’s social status. Parents need to be very aware of these issues in order to create the best possible childhood experience for their children.