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Academic Enrichment
AENR1-UC 1102

CHARACTERISTICS OF CHILDREN AND YOUTH 8- to 10-Year-Olds General Characteristics 1. Interested in people: aware of differences, willing to give more to others, but also expect more. 2. Busy, active, full of enthusiasm, may try too much, interested in money and its value. 3. Sensitive to criticism, recognize failure, capacity for self-evaluation. 4. Capable of prolonged interest. 5. Decisive, dependable, reasonable, strong sense of right and wrong. 6. Spend a great deal of time in discussion. Often outspoken and critical of adults although still dependent on adult approval. Physical Characteristics 1. Very active: need frequent breaks from tasks to do fun and energetic things. 2. Bone growth is not yet complete. 3. Some may mature early, may be insecure about their appearance or size. 4. Often accident-prone. Social Characteristics 1. Start to develop close ties with friends outside of the family and start to seek independence. 2. Very choosy about friends; acceptance by them is important. 3. Can be competitive. 4. Team games become popular. 5. May try to emulate popular sports heroes and TV and movie stars. Emotional Characteristics 1. Very sensitive to praise and recognition; feelings are hurt easily. 2. Because friends are so important during this time, there can be conflicts between adults’ rules and friends’ rules. Mentors can help with honesty and consistency. Mental Characteristics 1. Fairness is very important to them. 2. Eager to answer questions and look for a positive response to their ideas. 3. Very curious; like to collect things but may jump to other objects of interest after a short time. 4. Want more independence but look for guidance and support. 5. Reading abilities vary widely. Developmental Tasks 1. Social cooperation. 2. Self-evaluation. 3. Skill learning. 4. Team play. Suggested Volunteer Strategies 1. Recognize allegiance to friends and heroes. 2. Help them understand responsibilities in a two-way relationship. 3. Acknowledge and praise performance and affirm often. 4. Offer enjoyable learning experiences; share ideas about different cultures and fun facts about geography to broaden their sense of the world around them. 5. Provide frank answers to questions. Adapted from materials provided by Mentoring Partnership of Long Island, Virginia Mentoring Partnership, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Child Development Seminar, August 1990. Suggested Activities 1. Introduce new games that will broaden their concepts of different cultures. 2. Video games. 3. Board games. 4. Craft projects and drawing; remember to display their work. 5. Get to know who and what they are interested in and who they are trying to emulate in pop culture. 6. Engage in educational games that allow them to see the fun in learning. 11- to 13-Year-Olds General Characteristics 1. Testing limits, “know-it-all” attitude. 2. Identify with an admired adult; may reflect examples of that adult. 3. Vulnerable, emotionally insecure, fear of rejection, mood swings. 4. Bodies are going through physical changes that affect personal appearance. Physical Characteristics 1. Small-muscle coordination is good. 2. Bone growth is not yet complete. 3. Are very concerned with their appearance and very self-conscious about growth. 4. Diet and sleep habits can be bad or inconsistent, which may result in low energy levels. 5. Girls may begin menstruation. Social Characteristics 1. Acceptance by friends becomes quite important. 2. Cliques start to develop. 3. Team games are popular. 4. Crushes on members of the opposite sex are common. 5. Friends set the general rule of behavior. 6. Feel a real need to conform; may dress and behave alike in order to belong. 7. Very concerned about what others say and think of them. 8. Have a tendency to manipulate others. (“Mary’s mother said she could go. Why can’t I?”) 9. Interested in earning own money. 10. Starting to develop ideas of their future. Emotional Characteristics 1. Very sensitive to praise and recognition; feelings are hurt easily. 2. Can be hard to balance adults’ rules and friends’ rules. 3. Are caught between being a child and being an adult. 4. Need praise as an individual to distinguish themselves from the group. 5. Loud behavior hides lack of self-confidence. 6. Look at the world more objectively, adults subjectively, critical. Mental Characteristics 1. Perfectionists. Don’t know their own limitations; may try to do too much and may feel frustrated and guilty. 2. Want more independence, but often still need
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