Middle Years Education in Manitoba: Improving Student Engagement

Changes in Adolescence

Social Changes

Young adolescents want to be independent and belong to a peer group. At the same time, they still desire and need their parents’ support. During the Middle Years, young adolescents often experience:

  • a strong desire to be with peers
  • changes in relationships among peers, teachers, coaches and others
  • a need to belong to, and participate in, a group
  • more empathy towards others
  • peer pressure
  • a need to be accepted by peers and adults
  • admiration for role models
  • pleasure and satisfaction in team sports and competition
  • a desire to test limits and question rules

“Moving to a new school really changed my daughter’s social circle. All of a sudden, I didn’t know everyone she talked about. I had to meet new parents and learn about these new friends before I could let her go on a sleepover or to that friend’s home. Sometimes she was impatient with me for not just letting her go to someone’s place, but I had to explain to her that I didn’t know this friend and I needed time to adjust to the changes too.”

~ Parent of Middle Years student

“I’ve noticed that sometimes as they change, their friendships change too.”

~ Parent of Middle Years student

“At our school we offer a lot of extra-curricular clubs and activities so that students can make new friends as well as explore new interests.”

~ Middle Years teacher