You Can Save Your Child's Life
By Dr. Charles Fay
Parents are the perfect antidote to peer pressure.
Your children do not have to fall victim to peer pressure. That's good news considering a recent survey commissioned by the Love and Logic Institute found nearly 75 percent of American adults believe today's teenagers face decisions with more dangerous consequences than they did.
The survey also revealed that 27 percent of adults are most concerned with the negative influence of peers on children, just behind television (29 percent), and surpassing the Internet (19 percent), movies (9 percent), and popular music (7 percent). Almost half believe peers have more influence on children today than in the past.
Love and Logic offers parents plenty of practical, easy-to-learn tools that can literally save a child's life when peer pressure drives him or her to experiment with dangerous activities, such as sex, drugs, violence, and other reckless behavior. Here are four tips to help you give your kids the tools they need to resist peer pressure:
Tip 1: Teach your children that poor choices lead to unpleasant consequences.
When children know that poor decisions lead to unhappiness, they tend to be a lot more careful about the choices they make. Love and Logic parents allow their children to make plenty of choices, and plenty of mistakes, when the consequences of these mistakes are not serious or life threatening. The wisdom children gain from being held accountable for these smaller mistakes makes them much less likely to make bigger ones when peers turn up the heat.
Tip 2: Avoid power struggles over friendship choices.
Don't fall into the trap of fighting a losing battle over who your children choose as friends. Parent-child clashes over this issue actually drive kids away from their parents and the family they need so badly. How many American teens hit the streets each year because of the resentment these fights create? Love and Logic parents send the following message: "We will love you regardless of whom you choose as your friends."
Tip 3: Send positive messages about your child's ability to make wise choices.
Children will either live up to or down to their parents' expectations. Some parents unwittingly set their kids up for failure by saying things like, "That Joe is going to get you into a world of trouble." Statements like this imply that our kids are not strong enough to resist being "infected" by others´ poor judgment. Love and Logic parents set positive expectations by making loving comments, such as, "Honey, Joe sure is lucky to have a friend like you who makes such smart choices!"
Tip 4: Allow your child to use you as the "bad guy."
Love and Logic parents give their children a way of saving face when their friends tempt them to make poor decisions. How? They say, "Sweetie, I know it can be hard to say ´no´ when your friends want you to do something that's wrong. You can blame us anytime by saying, 'Oh no. My parents are such dorks. Last time I did something like that they went ballistic. I'd better not.'"
These four tips can save your child's life! There's no need to battle with your children over friends, and there's no need for peer pressure to lead them astray. Parents can be powerful influences in their children's lives â€” even during the challenging teenage years. Try Love and Logic and see how it changes your life. You'll be amazed at how fun parenting can be!
Dr. Charles Fay is a parent, author, and consultant to schools, parent groups, mental health professionals around the world and President of the Love and Logic Institute in Golden, CO. His newest book, Love and Logic Magic: When Your Kids Leave You Speechless, provides more helpful tips about the Internet as well as 22 other perplexing parenting issues. For more information about Love and Logic parenting and teaching techniques, call 800-338-4065.
©2000 Dr. Charles Fay
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For more information, call the Love and Logic Institute, Inc. at 800-338-4065.