The study of preadolescent children is increasingly gaining audience from many scholars trying to understand and determine the peer culture. In the past, scholars were not utilizing children to their studies making it difficult for to gather substantial data. For this reason, they were unable to gain enough information to make concrete conclusion in their studies. Presently, scholars like Adler and Adler are finding the need of involving children in their studies making it possible to draw quality conclusions to their studies The two scholars describe one method that could be applicable for studying preadolescent peer culture. The method implies parents as researchers of their own children to collect data (Adler & Adler, 1998). Therefore, an analysis of Adler and Adler ethnographic study of preadolescent children's culture and identity to present culture is done.
According to the findings of Adler and Adler, preadolescents have a certain culture they follow (Adler & Adler, 1998). When I was a preadolescent, there was a certain peer culture amongst us. First, friendship ties existed between different friends leading to the formation of a group. In these groups, certain children tend to become leaders who dictate the activities and rules of the groups. For instance, one of our friends, John, was the leader of our group. He used to make decisions about the games we were going to play. One day, I made a suggestion of playing football. The group accepted this proposition, but since John was not filling like playing football, he said it was boring and that we should race with our bicycles. To my surprise, the rest of my friends agreed with John despite them all agreeing to play football.
Similarly, Adler and Adler have come to realize of behavior in their own study. According to their study, preadolescents tend to form friendship which later forms groups (Adler & Adler, 1998). In these groups, a certain preadolescent tends to become the leader dictating all the activities of the group. Therefore, if the leader dislikes performing a certain activity, the rest will follow by disliking the activity too. This means that loyalty to the leader plays a crucial role in peer culture of preadolescent children. Secondly, Adler and Adler find that survival of preadolescents depends on friendship (Adler & Adler, 1998). If these ties are broken, it affects the members emotionally leading to physical and emotion pain.
On the other hand, Adler and Adler fail to provide certain characteristics of how the dynamics of different groups led to such formation (Adler & Adler, 1998). For instance, in the group I was in as a preadolescent, the boys who were attracting girls and were considered to be “cool” took the leadership role. In addition, those who were rich and had more resources to bring to the group assumed leadership of the group. On the contrary, one of the members could dissociate himself from the group if he did not like the terms of the group. Moreover, the leader could remove any member of the group as he wished according to the character traits and other reasons. For this reason, resources and character traits play a vital role when it comes to selecting a leader of the group.
In contrast, Adler and Adler fail to provide this information in their studies. In this case, the two researchers are providing readers with accounts of events in the form of real stories from their study. The study reviews different characters who become leaders of their groups, thus, failing to give a certain explanation as to why this happens. (Adler & Adler, 1998). Secondly, they fail to provide information as to whether resources play a crucial role in the group (Adler & Adler, 1998). For example, those who have resources assume the leaders role while those who do not have resources end up at the bottom of the group. For this reason, Adler and Adler are creating a loophole in the study making the readers ask themselves why certain preadolescents become leaders and not others.
Adler and Adler are using the parents as researchers as the main method of collecting data. In this case, the study is done on their own children (Adler & Adler, 1998). Tape recorders were used gathering independent information without acknowledging the children they were recorded. Adler and Adler claim the method to be productive as the children are feared providing information at the presence of their parents unlike when they are alone.
Secondly, Adler and Adler involved other parents in their neighborhood to gather data pertaining peer cultural relations in children (Adler & Adler, 1998). Based on their argument, the other parents also secretly put tape recorders in their houses for purposes of collecting data. Additionally, the parents also perform observations of how their children are behaving in relation to peer culture and identity of children. Moreover, these parents help in asking their children questions to answer the questionnaires. Adler and Adler state that this is easier to collect information this way because children can relate with their parents well unlike when they are with strangers (Adler & Adler, 1998). Furthermore, it facilitates the study as they are not able go to neighboring houses to collect data themselves.
Finally, in the process of collecting data using the parents as researchers,, Adler and Adler are asking their children questions and letting them answer freely (Adler & Adler, 1998). In addition, they are letting their children contribute in creating some of the questions. In this case, the two scholars argue that their children are more comfortable talking to them as compared to a stranger. When the children are at school, Adler and Adler are liaising with the teachers in gathering information about peer culture and identity of their children with others while they are in school (Adler & Adler, 1998). For this reason, they ensure that they do not lose any details.
The main advantage of using parents as researchers is that it is easy to collect independent data from children. First, parents have the advantage of gathering information easily because children feel confident talking to them. For this reason, they do not have to create relationships like a teacher before gaining independent information from the research. Secondly, parents spend most of their time with children. In this case, they are able to acquire data at time. Moreover, they have the advantage of secretly placing tape recorders in their houses not requiring authorization from anybody. Finally, due to excellent relationships parents have with their children and the secret tape recorders, the independent information provides high quality of the study (Adler & Adler, 1998).
On the other hand, this method has an immense disadvantage that might hinder collection of data from children. In this case, the method is time consuming creating biasness in the data collected. The method requires parents to spend a lot of time with their children. For instance, Adler and Adler spent a lot of time in collecting data from their children since they needed to understand the dynamics and stratification of these peer cultures and identification (Adler & Adler, 1998). As a result, most parents become impatient and write a conclusion based on the partly gathered information. Eventually, they create biasness in their conclusions. Moreover, children continue to grow dissociating themselves with their parents making it difficult for parents to gather information despite their patience in collecting data.
According to Adler and Adler findings, popularity plays an immense role in preadolescent peer culture and identity. In this case, they noticed that those children, who become leaders of the groups, tend to be popular (Adler & Adler, 1998). For instance, the girls who are popular because of a certain activity or because of their beauty, tend to take leadership roles of these groups. In addition, Adler and Adler have established that children tend to become popular for purposes of becoming part of a group. Finally, popularity tends to define a certain group of friends among the preadolescent. For this reason, popularity plays a significant role in defining a preadolescent peer culture and identity.
Another key aspect that defines the groups is friends. A group consists of friends who have common characteristics. In this case, another child who does not have this characteristic cannot become friends or join a group.(Adler & Adler, 1998). For instance, those children who play football together often become friends and form a group. Additionally, children depend on the loyalty of these friendships. This is where they expect their friends to protect them against any problems and vice versa. Therefore, if one friend causes harm to the other friend, it is likely to cause emotional stress and tension between the two friends and the other members of the group. For this reason, friends play a crucial role in defining preadolescent peer culture and identity.
According to the book Sociology of Childhood, electronic media significantly affects preadolescent peer culture and identity (Corsaro, 2005). In the case of popularity, advertisements that run through the different electronic media influence the popularity of a child. For instance, Adler and Adler states that popularity determine who is the leader of a certain group (Adler & Adler, 1998). An excellent example is different advertisements stating that girls should make it their role to be beautiful to attract boys. In this case, if they use a certain product they will become beautiful. As a result, those girls who want to become popular will claim or use a certain product to achieve popularity.
Similarly, electronic media play a crucial role in determining friendships. According to Alder and Adler findings, in order for preadolescent to become friends, they must have similar characteristics that bring them together (Adler & Adler, 1998). Therefore, the book Sociology of Childhood states that when advertisements running through the media show children that having a certain object is cool, those who have the object will tend to become friends (Corsaro, 2005). For example, if an advertisement promotes the children having skateboards to be cool, all those who have skateboards will tend to create friendships bonds. These friendship bonds will culminate in a more emotional friendship where they all depend on each other for the purpose of surviving as a group.
In my experience as a preadolescent, popularity and friendship were the key aspects of forming a friendship group. In this case, every body wanted to be associated with a popular child or become popular. Popular children were able to choose their friends. In addition, those children who wanted to become friends with popular children had to portray a certain characteristic that is common with the popular child. As a result, these groups would be formed by a popular leader with friends who have similar characteristics with him or her. One critical factor in these friendships, the members must show loyalty to one another. If a child would break friendship, he or she would create emotional tension and stress among the other members of the group.
A good example of interaction within and between different peer groups is the film Stand by Me. It is about four boys, Gordie, Chris, Teddy and Vern, who are on a quest to find the body of one the children who has been missing in the town (Evans, Scheinman, & Reiner, 1986). The story of the missing has been gaining a lot of airwaves in the town. In order to replenish their dilapidated social status in the society, the four set on a journey that will make them popular once they find the body. However, after they find the body, the local bully, Ace, and his gang show up with a car to pick up the body (Evans, Scheinman, & Reiner, 1986). At this point, Gordie threatens Ace with a gun and decides to call the police anonymously which meant that none of the groups could achieve popularity (Evans, Scheinman, & Reiner, 1986). After the quest, the boys becomes close despite being dissociate at the beginning the journey.
According to Adler and Adler findings about preadolescent peer culture and identity, the boys, Gordie, Chris, Teddy and Vern, in the movie Stand by Me are not close (Evans, Scheinman, & Reiner, 1986). They are brought together by the circumstances of the situation. However, certain friends in this group are close friends like Chris and Gordie (Evans, Scheinman, & Reiner, 1986). However, by the end of their search, the boys become close friends in comparison to when they were starting the journey. According to the status hierarchy of Adler and Adler, these boys would fit in groups of social isolates since they are rejected by other groups due to their family background or lack of popularity (Adler & Adler, 1998).
According to the evaluation, children have a wealth of information for those scholars who decide to use them in their study. Based on the findings, preadolescent have different dynamics of forming friendships leading to groups. In this case, popularity and friends play a crucial role in defining group dynamics. These factors determine the groups of friends a child is likely to join. Therefore, this evaluation shows that it would have been extremely complex for Adler and Adler to gather this information if they were not using their own children. For this reason, scholars should use children when they are performing studies involving or relating children.