Back in the day, when the wife and I ran a Therapeutic Group Home for kids in CPS custody (11 1/2 years), the most trying years were when the kids in the home were in middle school. The elementary years were a breeze and even high school seemed to go pretty smooth for the most part. But the middle school years were the craziest! It seemed like the kids did stupid things just to do them!
Here some good advice for anyone moving into this scenario in their life. Actually, the advice is good no matter what age your child falls in.
Teens and preteens are very susceptible to the desire to feel as though they belong and are accepted among their peers. However, peer pressure can often have a very negative influence on how they behave, and, even more importantly, how they feel about themselves. As your child enters middle school, peer pressure can escalate as classmates begin pushing the boundaries set by both parents and schools. As parents, you are still the largest influence in your kids’ lives, giving you an opportunity to help them cope with this peer pressure. Here are ten ways you can help.
- Be Proactive – Don’t wait for problems or topics to arise to discuss them with your middle school child. Instead, be proactive and have the hard conversations about drugs, alcohol, tobacco and sex with her. Let her know your point of view and the hard truths about these subjects that they will face one way or another.
- Speak Up – When you notice a certain friend or group of friends seems to be a poor influence, speak up, but don’t actively criticize the friend. Instead, approach it from an observational point of view, letting him know you are aware. State that you are concerned with what happens when he is with this friend or group, pointing out poor behavior or problems. Be careful to state that it is the behavior you do not like, not the friends as people.
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