When young children play together, they form affective bonds and develop habits that go beyond social interaction, such as empathy, collaboration, negotiation, sharing, and more.
Pre-teens have an increased need for independence and independent decision-making, but they focus on building friendships too. Their friends fulfill a sense of belonging, reduce stress, enable smooth school transitions, and help them develop healthy self-esteem and social skills.
Adolescents have more complex social interactions that include relationships, breakups, disagreements, and the formation of lifelong friendships. A higher level of independence and commitment to their peers can help them to overcome the transitions during this stage.