Term Paper: Middle School Child -- Joanne

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[. . .] Joanne is small for her age, despite her apparent confidence. Her parents have expressed concern about her weight for her height, she confided to Mary Ellen, whom is of a much slimmer build than her same-age peer. Such expressions of concern are normal; of course, although Joanne's frequent use of baggy clothes and her stature as well as her weight makes her appear younger rather than older than her years. Mary Ellen in contrast, is not only taller, but dresses in a way that is far more provocative and far older than one might expect in a middle school child, and her use of jewelry, midriff-bearing shirts, and self-administered platinum streaks in her hair all contribute to a much more sexually mature appearance than her friend. Leonora similarly is taller than Joanne and dresses in a far more mature way, with tighter fitting clothes and slightly more fashionable accessories, although it should be noted that these accoutrements are less noticeable, and probably would not have been noticed by myself as an observer, if a specific comparison between Joanne and her friend's clothing and attitudes were not being made.

Joanne thus exhibits some of the normal concerns of adolescents, as well as pre-adolescents, regarding her appearance and social behavior. Her involvement and use of a small social hierarchy, as it evolved, over the course of the observation amongst her small group of friends is typical of all middle school children, but particularly middle school girls, whom frequently makes use of relational play in their interactions with one another.

Section III

Evaluation and Prediction

Predictions: One Year

Although Joanne seemed to be the leader of her group of friends in this particular scenario, such dominance is unlikely to continue in the high school years, if Joanne's compliance with adult expectations continues, and she continues to lag behind her peers in sexual and physical maturity. Her social maturity seems to be borderline average at this point, but although this does not suggest that she will be at great deficit in her social maturity, it also suggests that it is unlikely that her status as someone whom is popular and a desired friend will continue at a high level on the social hierarchy of middle school. She appears to be liked, but not well liked, in other words

Predictions: Five Years

One great concern by the time that Joanne is sixteen is her body image issues. Joanne is slightly overweight and her participation in an appearance related activity such as ballet bodes ill, as well as her mother's over involvement in her life, and her father's lack of a male presence. Most of Joanne's teachers, as is typical of middle school children even today, have been female. She has lacked a strong male presence and sense of her father's approval in her life. Moreover, both of her parents are strongly perfectionist in their expectations of her, and seem to expect a great deal of their daughter.

Predictions: Ten years

Joanne has expressed a desire to go to college, and to pursue dance recreationally. When she is twenty she is likely to still be in college, and contemplating her future profession. Given her leadership and responsibility she is likely to have succeeded in terms of her grades, and will probably show promise in terms of whatever occupation she chooses.

However, given her desire to be a people pleaser, it remains to be seen if her leadership will be one that is high in the organization that she chooses for her future career and chosen profession. Also, if her social behavior continues to be family based and show a strong and marked influence of the Greek community, she may chose to attend a school with a large Greek-American population and postpone dating and marriage longer than some of her peers, confining her social and romantic life, in accordance with her parents' expressed wishes, to members of that community.

Conclusion and Appendix Note: Raw data

All raw data was recorded on my laptop, another advantage of conducting the observation in a computer room, besides the ability to conduct an observation of today's youth in such a richly modern context. All raw data was thus later converted to the above-cited text.

References Consulted

Textbook on Child Development.

Hennessy, K.D., Rabideau, G.J., Cicchetti, D., & Cummings, E.M. (1994).

"Responses of Physically abused and nonabused children to different forms of interadult anger." Child Development, 65, 815-828. [END OF PREVIEW]

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