Both girls and boys develop intense friendships with other same sex children, who share the same interests. Girls, in particular, develop more intense intimate relationships with a few other girls. Boys develop less intense relationships with a greater number of other boys. Close friendships in the teen years have been seen to have positive benefits to the child.
Cliques and Crowds:
A clique is a group of several people, but it is small enough that all members interact. Often cliques are made up of same sex individuals with similar interests. The choice of membership in certain cliques is evidence of a child’s increasing control of their choice in their peer interactions. Crowds are more reputation based. The individuals in these crowds may not necessarily be friends. They are often groups that have been labeled and stereotyped. For example, these crowds may be known as the “preppies” or the “druggies.” There are three ways in which crowds influence adolescent social life:
1) Crowds and the way they are categorized help adolescents learn about the alternative social identities that are available to them.
2) The crowd adolescents belong to strongly influence whom they are likely to meet and spend time with.
3) Crowds shape their members interpersonal relations.
Pressure to Conform:
Along with involvement with a certain crowd or clique comes the problem of pressures from peers. Pressure to conform is a problem that may cause children to become more involved with destructive behaviour. For example, an adolescent may become involved in drinking, alcohol and sex in order to fit in with their friends. See the Alcohol and Drugs portion of the Problems Children and Teens Face section.