Middle school is typically a time of chaotic emotions, confusing relationships and challenging growing pains. But it may also have a surprisingly lasting influence on the future.
In a study published in Child Development, researchers found that adolescents who were best able to negotiate the relationship minefield of finding friends and making sound behavior choices were most likely to be rated by their parents as successful both socially and professionally when they became young adults.
“We tend to think that peer relationships in early adolescence don’t mean that much, but that tends to be dead wrong,” says Joseph Allen, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia. “How well you do with peers as an early teen tells us a whole lot about how you manage in a lot of different ways as an adult.”
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