Extra-curricular activities play a very important role in the overall development of your child. However, your child might not share your interests. If he/she is still in a phase of finding out his interests and doesn’t mind exploring different activities, then as parents your most important task is to be aware of your child’s choices. Do not just go behind popular names, instead look for a place that has high achieving members.
It is simply because who you are hanging out with in those activities really matters, says a new study which is set to appear in the journal Social Science Research.
Can Friends Play a Roll in a Child’s Development?
“Typically you think the benefits of participating come from the type of club or the intensity of the skills you learned there. I think we are the first to show that who you are hanging out with in those activities really matters,” lead study author Ben Gibbs added.
The Study Model
Erickson spent four years constructing a statistical model that could answer critics’ arguments. The sample includes 90,000 high school students and up to 10 of their friends.
Since friends often join a team or club together, the model subtracts out the positive influence of friends who are also teammates.
That isolates the impact of teammates who are not otherwise in a student’s social circle. To the surprise of the researchers, the type of team or club did not really matter.
An Expert’s Word of Advice
“Tell your parents, whatever they ground you from, it should not be from practice or a club activity. If they ground you from a school club, you are more likely to end up living at their house because you will not be going to college,” said sociologist and study co-author Lance Erickson from the Utah-based Brigham Young University.
“I would encourage middle schools and junior high schools to devote resources to those kinds of things so that as they transition to high school, they are prepared to join a team,” said co-author Mikaela Dufur.