Friendships: Age 7–11

Friendships, especially same‐gender friendships, are prevalent during middle childhood. Friends serve as classmates, fellow adventurers, confidantes, and sounding boards. Friends also help each other to develop self‐esteem and a sense of competency in the social world. As boys and girls progress through middle childhood, their peer relationships take on greater importance. For example, older children are likely to enjoy group activities, such as skating, riding bikes, playing house, and building forts. Peer relationships may also cause the development of concerns and worries over popularity and conformity. As with same‐age peers, friendships in middle childhood are mostly based on similarities. The awareness of racial or other differences may or may not affect friendships. Intolerance for those children who are not similar leads to prejudice, or negative perceptions about other groups of people. While peers and friends may reinforce prejudicial stereotypes, many children eventually become less rigid in their attitudes toward children from other backgrounds.