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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.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Now, How About Some Positive Peer Pressure?

Dr. Marian C. Fritzemeier, Ed.D. © 2013
Author, Speaker, Educator
Although the last five blogs highlighted parenting tips to help their school age children resist negative peer pressure, it is essential to remember that peer pressure isn't always negative. Positive peer pressure assists school age children with reinforcing skills. An important example is demonstrating appropriate social behaviors. You may hound your kids about their manner with little results, but when their friends make comments, they often listen.

"That's gross." Take for example, body functions, like inappropriate belching. "That's gross," friends may groan. Or maybe your daughter doesn't like washing her hair. A friend may comment, "You're not going to the birthday party with your hair like that." Of course not, and the hair is washed, styled and off they go.
Changing. Peers can also motivate positive personal changes.1 Maybe your daughter is struggling with math. Her friend offers to lend her a hand. Or possibly your son wants to play a sport but hasn't joined a team before. A friend may join the team with him. Perhaps your daughter is organizationally challenged. A peer can help arrange her school binder.
Belonging. Peers can rally round your child to maintain self-confidence and a sense of belonging and meaning.1 Kids usually choose friends who are similar to them. This helps children feel like they belong to something beyond their families. Having good friends with similar values provides fun times together and helps children feel more confident.
Volunteering. Positive peer pressure can also influence peers to volunteer, work towards becoming more "green," staying away from drugs and alcohol, and thriving in academics and goals.1 Even amongst school age children, natural leaders will guide peers to make a difference.

Opportunities. Check to see which non-profit organizations allow school age volunteers, such as food banks, homeless shelters, or animal rescue organizations or shelters. Some kids help save our environment. Other children challenge peers to stay away from drugs and alcohol or do well in school. When parents hear about negative peer pressure, keep in mind that peer pressure can also become a very beneficial asset for you and your child.


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. Image from: Stock.XCHNG www.sxc.hu/ learning-the-rules 909359-s. Accessed 4/18/2014.

Monday, December 23, 2013

10 Parental Roles in Reducing School Age Children's Negative Peer Pressure, Tips 8, 9, & 10

Dr. Marian C. Fritzemeier, Ed.D. © 2013
Author, Speaker, Educator
This is the last of a five blog series on parents' roles in reducing negative peer pressure for school age children. Today we'll look at tips 8, 9 and 10.  
Suspending Judgment. The eighth tip is suspending judgment when your child confides in you about his/her peers.1 Sometimes the “friend” is actually the child him or herself so watch what you say. Your goal is to learn more about the situation by keeping communication open. Become an expert on asking open-ended questions. For example, “Sounds like Matthew's really struggling. What could you do to help him through this tough time?”
Ignore Shocking Statements. Closely related is tip nine, ignore shock value statements. Sometimes it feels like kids just want to push your buttons, but what they're actually doing is figuring out what they believe. For example, a child who is raised in a church might say, "I don't want to go to church anymore. I don’t think there's really a God."

Overreacting? Most parents tend to over react. "How can you say that after all we've taught you?" A better response is, “Tell me what you’re thinking about.” Help the child reach his or her own conclusions. Eventually, children need to take on their own personal beliefs and values. Over reacting will only push them away.

Warning Signs. The last tip is looking for signs that peer pressure is becoming a problem. If you notice attitude changes; withdrawal; sudden materialism; and/or intense interest in "taboo" behaviors or possessions, you may want to consider professional help.2 Often these indicators are beyond parents' skills and expertise. Using some or all of these parenting tips will help your school age child deal with negative peer pressure.

Next Blog: Positive Peer Pressure

  1. When Peer Pressure is Good For Your Child, Carolyn Hoyt, Good Housekeeping, Women.com Networks, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Image from: Stock.XCHNG www.sxc.hu/ top-secret-637885-m. Accessed 4/18/2014.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

10 Parental Roles in Reducing School Age Children's Negative Peer Pressure, Tip 7

Dr. Marian C. Fritzemeier, Ed.D. © 2013
Author, Speaker, Educator
The fourth of five blogs and the seventh parenting tip for helping reduce negative peer pressure for school age children is to become aware of "virtual" peer pressure and intervene early. A few months ago when I prepared this material for a group of school age parents in Ceres, California, I became distraught about the potential negative consequences of technology.
Everyone Knows. "Children can reject and blackmail others, encourage hate groups and ostracize others instantly. In the past, only your child's class knew if he was ostracized, today, with Facebook, everyone knows, everyone can see it and everyone reads it right now." 1
Collecting "Likes." Just as financial numbers equal power for some adults, popularity numbers are powerful for various school age children. "Children collect friends and 'likes' to demonstrate their popularity and influence--which can be used to pressure peers with a few keystrokes.
A Bully's Power. Behind a screen, a bully has power." 1 Bullying has expanded way beyond the school walls. I can't count the number of television programs and movies I've watched about cyber bullying. Children can view so many negative comments and hatred online that it is easy for them to believe that saying things like this is okay. It eventually normalizes "bad" behavior. 1 And this bad behavior gains attention.
Using Technology. So as parents, do we prohibit our children from using the Internet? Some parents do, but the benefits of correctly using technology far outweigh the negatives. Here are five simple ways parents can help protect their children online.
Ways to Protect Online
  1. Connect to your children's accounts immediately. Control their passwords. Don't be passive. If you begin monitoring when they're young, they'll get used to it.
  2. Keep computers in the family living areas where people are around. This helps remind you and your children that you are monitoring their activity.  Role model this open accountability standard by using your computer in the same way.
  3. Teach your child to use the computer correctly. There are so many fun options for them, keep them busy with learning activities.
  4. Periodically check the search bar and view the site history and cache. Teach them what is acceptable and unacceptable for your family. What are warning signs that they are heading towards "dangerous ground”? Here’s one potential warning sign: The cache is empty when you view it!
  5. Install a family-friendly software program that helps monitor your Internet. There are many available, even free programs.  Consider using a program that reports all activity via email, rather than one that simply blocks certain words.
 Feedback. If you've used software programs for internet safety, please post your results: good, bad, or otherwise. This can be helpful for other parents.
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.  Image from: Stock.XCHNG www.sxc.hu/ victoria-and-the-laptop 1019022-m. Accessed 4/18/2014.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

10 Parental Roles in Reducing School Age Children's Negative Peer Pressure, Tip 6

Dr. Marian C. Fritzemeier, Ed.D. © 2013
Author, Speaker, Educator
This is the third of five blogs featuring 10 tips for parents to help reduce negative peer pressure with their school age children.

Mr. Rogers was Right. The sixth tip is to get to know the parents of your children's friends and adults in your neighborhood. Most children attend elementary schools in the neighborhoods where they live; therefore, many of your children's friends will live close by. Who are the people in your neighborhood?  

Reduce Crime.  In an age of automatic garage door openers where neighbors can come and go without interacting with others, how can you get to know your neighbors? One way is to begin a Neighborhood Watch program with the help of your local police or sheriff department. Neighborhood Watch is built on the concept that knowing your neighbors helps reduce crime. Crime reduction appeals to many people living right near you.
Fun Ideas. National Night Out (NNO) is celebrated the first Tuesday in August. Communities across the United States are encouraged to plan an evening to get to know their neighbors. In Modesto, California, a city in Central California, finds that NNO grows in popularity every year. In many communities like ours, National Night Out is sponsored by the city's police department.

McGruff & Horses. Every year is different, but community service representatives arrive at these neighborhood events scattered around the city. One year two mounted police officers paraded about on horses. Another year firemen showed off their fire truck. A favorite was the year McGruff, The Crime Dog, arrived in a black limousine to remind us to, "Take a bite out of crime." McGruff even has a web page for teaching kids safety featuring games, videos, advice, and downloads. 1

Neighborhood Events. Block parties and other neighborhood events we've organized, such as holiday caroling and 4th of July dessert followed by fireworks facilitate building relationships with others and making community connections. These adults are potential role models for your children. Teenagers are possible baby-sitters. One elderly couple on our street serves as honorary grandparents to countless school age children.

Common Ground. Seek other parents who have similar family guidelines. Try talking about common ground rules, like a parent needs to be home when friends are visiting. You may encounter more families with similar values than you expect. We did. We discovered like-minded adults in every neighbored who became significant others in our daughters' lives. Getting to know neighbors is a terrific strategy for helping your children reduce negative peer pressure.  

1. McGruff, The Crime Dog. www.mcgruff.org. Accessed 12/10/2013.

2. Image from: Stock.XCHNG www.sxc.hu/ small-town-1276290-m. Accessed 4/18/2014.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

10 Parent Roles: Reducing Negative Peer Pressure, Tips 3, 4, & 5

Dr. Marian C. Fritzemeier, Ed.D.© 2013
Author, Speaker, Educator
The third tip for parents in reducing school age children's negative per pressure is teaching ethical and moral values that will last their children a lifetime. 1
Code of Ethics. As a college child development professor my students wrote their own code of ethics. What ethics and moral values do you live by? What character traits do you desire for your children to emulate? Your children are already learning your values and ethics by observing what you say and what you do. Do they match?
Your Children's Values. Then consider what you consciously want them to learn. When our girls were little we began reading stories based on character traits, such as honesty, courage, and responsibility. Learning about values continues through elementary school, especially as children study historical figures.
Ethical Dilemmas. When school age children are faced with ethical dilemmas such as lying to keep from getting in trouble or telling the truth, what will they do? What about cheating or letting a friend "copy" his/her homework? Many children perceive what adults may call cheating as "helping out their friends."

Morals. Some families rely on Biblical principles or religious beliefs for teaching morals, values and ethics.  For example, what's the difference between right and wrong? Our society teaches moral relativism. An Old Testament Proverb says, "It is by his deeds that a lad distinguishes himself if his conduct is pure and right. 2

Saying, "No." The fourth tip is setting limits that tell your children you care enough about them to say "no." 1 In an increasing permissive society, saying, "No," is often the exception. Parents can help their children refuse negative peer pressure by establishing rules that are followed regularly. Setting boundaries helps your children learn how to set boundaries with their friends.

Know Children's Friends. The fifth parental tip for helping school age children reduce negative peer pressures is get to know your children's friends. Encourage your children to invite friends over to play. Let them hang out with your family in your home or attend activities together. Observe how they influence each other. This will help you learn about your children as well as their friends.

Supervision. Even appropriate adult involvement and supervision are important. "Strong parental presence has a protective effect against peer pressure...when children are appropriately supervised by adults, and adults are actively involved in their lives, both at a physical and emotional level, they are less susceptible to peer pressure." 3

Open Your Home. Commit to keeping your home open, no matter what your children “drag” home. I’d much rather know the friends my children are drawn to and learn what's behind their wild hair or outrageous clothing than make assumptions. Many nice kids are hidden behind these exteriors. Implementing these three tips gives parents more tools for helping their school age children reduce negative peer pressure.

  1. Adolescent Rebellion Can be Quelled, www.kidsgrowth.com/resources/articledetail. Accessed 10/14/201.
  2. New American Standard Bible, Proverbs 20:21
  3. 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.
  4. Image from: Stock.XCHNG www.sxc.hu/ my-kids. 1186542-s. Accessed 4/18/2014.