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Hi my name is Dr. Marian C Fritzemeier and I'm an education and child development specialist. I've accumulated many years speaking, writing, consulting and teaching both in the classroom and for parenting audiences. I believe the parenting process can be a fantastic and overwhelmingly fun journey with the right plan in mind. Need some help with that plan? Then you've come to the right place.

Monday, November 25, 2013

10 Parental Roles: Reducing Negative Peer Pressure, Tips 1 & 2

Dr. Marian C. Fritzemeier, Ed.D. © 2013
Author, Speaker, Educator
When parents consider school age peer pressure, perhaps they imagine the ways the child himself must resist the pressure. Although we'll look at the child's role in a later blog, there are ten tips or parental roles that help reduce negative peer pressure for their school age children. We'll look at all of these over the next several blogs. Today let's look at the first two.                                                          
Teach Your Children. The first principle is to teach your children. When do you teach them? I think of it as "way of life" teaching. As you go through each day, as you walk through life, you are using every day opportunities and examples to teach your children about life and what is important.

Principle. A book in the Bible called Deuteronomy, has a verse I use to support this concept. Deuteronomy 11:19 instructs, " You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up."1

When Do You Teach? Basically, you are teaching your children when you're at home, while you're out and about, when they go to bed, and after they get up. If you take advantage of these various times, you'll discover many opportunities for teaching your children. You can teach them as you drive them to and from activities or attending church, school, and community events together as a family while you're participating in community service projects.

Helping Others. As you share your time, talents, and resources with non-profit organizations that address social issues, you're teaching your children about helping others, the value of community service, and giving.

Role Modeling. You are also teaching them by your example. Do your words encourage and build others up or for gossiping and criticism? Can your children repeat your language or do you use swear words and tell them only adults can use these words? How do you treat your friends, the pregnant teenager, the elderly, those who have less than you do, and the homeless woman on the street corner? Do you instruct them not to use drugs while you drink and smoke? Be mindful that little ones are watching your examples.

Create Bonds. The second tip is to create strong bonds with your children long before the adolescent years. With adolescence right around the corner, the school age years are a perfect time for strengthening the bonds you established in early childhood. "The strength of a child’s relationship with his or her family will directly impact on whether peer pressure will be a productive or destructive influence in the child’s life."2
Family Night. Having a regular family night is one way to spend special time with your children. Let them take turns choosing a fast-food restaurant for dinner or take-out and then play games at home or watch a special movie. If you can't afford to eat dinner out, make a special treat, like caramel popcorn or hot chocolate.

Meals. Eating meals together is one of the best strategies for building relationships. The older children get, the more challenging this becomes. Make it a priority to eat a certain number of meals together each week. It doesn't have to be dinner. It could be a combination of breakfast, lunch and/or dinner times. You may need to juggle schedules and meal times, but the benefits outweigh the challenges.  Implementing these first two tips gets parents on track for helping their school age children reduce negative peer pressure.

  1. New American Standard Bible
  2. Adolescent Rebellion Can be Quelled, www.kidsgrowth.com/resources/articledetail. Accessed 10/14/2013.
  3. Image from: Stock.XCHNG www.sxc.hu/ girls-at-Christmas-tree-655041-2. Accessed 4/18/2014.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Peer Pressure: 5 to 8 Year Olds

Dr. Marian C. Fritzemeier, Ed.D. © 2013
Author, Speaker, Educator
"Be who you are and say what you feel,
because those who mind don't matter
and those who matter don't mind." ---Dr. Seuss

Since school age children are experiencing peer pressure, what does it look like? You may hear a child say, "If you're my friend, you'll play this game with me," or "I'm mad at _______, so don't talk to her." Peers may pressure a child to ride their bikes too far from home or play with a gun. They may think it is funny to cut people out of the group or make fun of someone for any number of reasons. 1

Positive Peer Pressure? But peer pressure isn't all negative. Dr. Melanie Killen, a developmental psychologist at the University of Maryland found, "The emergence of peer groups in elementary school also aids children's development by providing positive friendships, relationships, and social support." 2

Pleasing Others. Children ages 5 to 8 make a concerted effort to please their friends, classmates, and playmates, which is one reason this age can be so enjoyable. A positive aspect of peer pressure is that they can encourage each other to strive to do better in school, sports and creative activities. On the other hand, if the child acts in a way that is not natural for the child, this can be negative peer pressure. 3

Why Children Give In. The reasons school-age children give in to peer pressure aren't much different than the reasons adolescents or even adults fall into peer pressure. They want to be liked and fit in. And who doesn't want that? They worry that others kids may make fun of them. Perhaps the child is simply curious and wants to try something new.

Experimenting? The common saying, "Everyone's doing it," influences some kids to ignore their better judgment or their common sense. 4 The child may be trying to figure out who he is by experimenting with his identity. 5 Parents may observe their child changing hair styles or hair color and wearing different clothing styles.

Be Aware. It is important for parents to be aware of what peer pressure looks like for school age children and remember that peer pressure can have many positive aspects. As you help your child develop socially, remember the reasons that they may fall into peer pressure.

  1. Peer Proofing Your Child-Teen, Part 5, By Sharon Scott, LPC, LMFT, 2006, www.familiesonlinemagazne.com/peerpressure/peerproofing5.html. Accessed 10/2/2013.
  2. Younger Than You Think: Peer Pressure Begins in Elementary School, Rick Nauert, Ph.D., June 6, 2013, www.psychcentral.com. Accessed 10/5/2013.
  3. Children's Health: Peer Pressure, www.healthofchildren.com. Accessed 10/5/2013.
  4. Children's Health: Peer Pressure, www.healthofchildren.com. Accessed 10/5/2013.
  5. The Influence of Peer Pressure: Help Your Child Navigate Through Peer Pressure, Gwen Morrison, family.go.com. Accessed 10/5/2013.
  6. Image from: Stock.XCHNG www.sxc.hu/ 8-hands 12858422-s. Accessed 4/18/2014.

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Quiz: Are you a Helicopter Parent?

Dr. Marian C. Fritzemeier, Ed.D. © 2013
Author, Speaker, Educator
"Helicopter parents can be identified by their tendency to hover close to their child, ready to come to the rescue at the first sign of difficulty or disappointment," explains Indiana University psychologist, Chris Meno. 1 She counsels "over-parented" college students on gaining independence. 

Hovering Parents. "Helicopter parents can be identified by their tendency to hover close to their child, ready to come to the rescue at the first sign of difficulty or disappointment." 1
Here's a quiz to help determine if you tend to allow your child to be responsible for her actions or if you lean towards helicopter parenting.

Child or Teen? I've used the term "child," but you can also substitute the word child for "teen." I'm looking for 5 more questions to add to the "quiz." If you have a question or two to add, please post a comment. Thanks.

1.     Do you wake up your child to get ready for school?

2.     Do you continually remind your child it's time to get up?

3.     Do you keep repeating, "We leave for _____ (school, practice, or church) in ____ minutes."?

4.     If your child is late, do you change your schedule to accommodate your child's tardiness?

5.     Do you take responsibility for your child's things, like packing her sports bag for practice or his backpack?

6.     Do you complete or adjust your child's homework and/or project until it meets your standards?

7.     Do you take your child's homework, music instrument, and/or project to school if your child forgets it?
8.     Do you allow your child to stay home "sick" because he has a project due that isn't done or a test she didn't study for?
9.     Do you call or email your child's teacher over grades or assignments?

10.  Do you make excuses for your child's misbehavior, such as, "The referee made a bad call."?

11.  Do you run on the sports field immediately if your child's hurt?

12.  Do you rush in to settle your child's disputes to ensure it is settled fairly?

13.  When your child fails at something, do you reward him for trying?

14.  Do you wait on your child by getting her snack or something to drink?

15.  Do you make something different because your child doesn't like what everyone else is eating?

16.  Do you expect your child not to do chores since school is his "work"?

17.  Do you manage your child's schedule?

18.  Do you call or text your child many times a day to check in?

19.  Is your child your best friend?

20.  Do you manage your child's money? Allowance?

Answer Key:
If you typically answered "never or rarely," you tend to allow your child to be responsible for his actions.

If you generally answered "sometimes," you frequently allow your child to be responsible for her actions, but sometimes you rescue your child.

If you answered "usually" to the majority of the questions, you typically rescue your child and take responsibility for him. This is referred to as "helicopter parenting."

Next Blog: 5 to 8 Year Olds and Peer Pressure

1. "Helicopter parents" stir up anxiety, depression, Indiana University, IU Newsroom, newsinfo.iu.edu › Newsroom HomeNewsletter Home‎. Accessed 10/8/2013.

2. Image from: Stock.XCHNG www.sxc.hu/. helicopter-3-1032378-m. Accessed 4/17/2014.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Peer Pressure & Helicopter Parents

Dr. Marian C. Fritzemeier, Ed.D. © 2013
Author, Speaker, Educator

"The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else,
which makes you unique." ---Walt Disney

A generation ago, I didn't teach parents of school-age children how to instruct their children about peer pressure. But times have changed. Unfortunately, peer pressure, is starting earlier; happening at lightning speeds; on an unprecedented scale; and is fueled by social media. To make matters worse, today's children may be less equipped to resist peer pressure, due to overprotective "helicopter parents." 1

Helicopter Parents Defined. Jennifer O'Donnell defines the term "Helicopter parents" "as a group of parents who engage in the practice of over-parenting. Helicopter parents are accused of being obsessed with their children's education, safety, extracurricular activities, and other aspects of their children's lives." 2

Another Definition. Another description by Indiana University psychologist Chris Meno adds, "Helicopter parents can be identified by their tendency to hover close to their child, ready to come to the rescue at the first sign of difficulty or disappointment." 3

Helping or Hindering? Parents mistakenly believe they're helping their children; however, their hovering and doing almost everything for their children is actually hindering them. These children cope less effectively than other children.  Since the parents have trouble setting limits for their children, the children have a hard time setting limits for their friends. 1

Next Blog:  Are You a Helicopter Parent?

  1. Peer Pressure: Why it seems worse than ever and how to help kids resist it, Malia Jacobson, August 29, 2013, www.parentmap.com. Accessed 10/5/2013.
  2. What are Helicopter Parents? Jennifer O'Donnell, About.com Guide. Accessed 10/8/2013.
  3. "Helicopter parents" stir up anxiety, depression. Indiana University, IU Newsroom, newsinfo.iu.edu › Newsroom HomeNewsletter Home. Accessed 10/8/2013.
  4. Image from: Stock.XCHNG www.sxc.hu/ unhappy-920220-s. Accessed 4/18/2014.