Teach Ethical & Moral Values: Reducing Negative Peer Pressure for School Age Children

my-kids-1186542-s

by Dr. Marian Fritzemeier, Ed.D.© 2013

Another tip for parents to help reduce 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

Sources:

1. Adolescent Rebellion Can be Quelled, www.kidsgrowth.com/resources/articledetail. Accessed 10/14/201.

2. New American Standard Bible, Proverbs 20:21.

 

 

Teach Your Children: Reducing Negative Peer Pressure for School Age Children

by Dr. Marian Fritzemeier, Ed.D. © 2013girls-at-christmas-tree-655041-s

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 parental roles that help reduce negative peer pressure for their school age children.

Teach Your Children

A great principal for reducing negative peer pressure for school age children 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

In the book in the Bible called Deuteronomy, there’s 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.

 

Source:

  • New American Standard Bible

 

 

Peer Pressure: 5 to 8 Year Olds

8-hands-1285842-s

by Dr. Marian Fritzemeier, Ed.D. © 2013

“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. (3) The child may be trying to figure out who he is by experimenting with his identity. (4) 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.

Sources:

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. The Influence of Peer Pressure: Help Your Child Navigate Through Peer Pressure, Gwen Morrison, family.go.com. Accessed 10/5/2013.

Quiz: Are you a Helicopter Parent?

by Dr. Marian Fritzemeier, Ed.D. ©2013helicptero-3-1032378-m

“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. “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. I’ve used the term “child,”but you can also substitute the word child for “teen.”

Answer each question with rarely or never; sometimes; or usually. 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.

Question Never or Rarely Sometimes Usually
  • Do you wake up your child to get ready for school?
  • Do you continually remind your child it’s time to get up?
  • Do you keep repeating, “We leave for _____ (school, practice, or church) in ____ minutes.”?
  • If your child is late, do you change your schedule to accommodate your child’s tardiness?
  • Do you take responsibility for your child’s things, like packing her sports bag for practice or his backpack?
  • Do you complete or adjust your child’s homework and/or project until it meets your standards?
  • If your child forgets her homework, music instrument, and/or project do you take it to school for her?
  • 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?
  • Do you regularly call or email your child’s teacher over grades or assignments?
  • Do you make excuses for your child’s misbehavior, such as, “The referee made a bad call.”?
  • Do you run onto the sports field immediately if your child’s hurt?
  • Do you rush in to settle your child’s disputes to ensure it is settled fairly?
  • When your child fails at something, do you reward him for trying?
  • Do you wait on your child by getting her snack or something to drink?
  • Do you prepare different food because your child doesn’t like what the family is eating?
  • Do you expect your child not to do chores since school is his “work”?
  • Do you manage your child’s schedule?
  • Do you call or text your child many times a day to check in?
  • Is your child or teen your best friend?
  • Do you manage your child’s money? Allowance?

 

Peer Pressure & Helicopter Parents

unhappy-920220-sby Dr. Marian Fritzemeier, Ed.D. © 2013

“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 speed; 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.” (1)

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.” (2)

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. (3)
Sources:
  1. What are Helicopter Parents? Jennifer O’Donnell, About.com Guide. Accessed 10/8/2013.
  2. Peer Pressure: Why it seems worse than ever and how to help kids resist it, Malia Jacobson, August 29, 2013.
  3. “Helicopter parents” stir up anxiety, depression. Indiana University, IU Newsroom, newsinfo.iu.edu. Accessed 10/8/2013.

 

 

 

New Opportunity for Writing

I’ve discovered a new opportunity for writing. It is called HARO, Help A Reporter Out. HARO is a network of writers who are seeking experts on topics they’re writing about. I’m responding as a child development expert to some of their requests. This is the first article I’m quoted in. Signs Your Child Is or Isn’t Ready for Preschool. Here’s a link to the article.

http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/1005839/signs-your-child-is-or-isnt-ready-for-preschool

“Something New” Hope Street: My Journey

By Dr. Marian Fritzemeier, Ed.D. © 2013bike-route-both-directions-logo-1416709-m

On October 5th, 2013 I’m going to do something I’ve never done before. For several months I’ve been exercising twice a week and doing some bike riding. My husband and I ride on some bike paths, but mostly I ride in our neighborhood by myself. Well, almost by myself.

Dancing in Circles. I wear a front pack that carries my ferocious Chihuahua, Grace. Despite the fact that she barks all the time at home, she’s the perfect bike passenger. She dances in circles when I ask, “Do you want to go on a bike ride?” and rarely makes a peep on the ride. I always feel safe when she rides with me.

Half-Way There. Today I’m proud of myself because I met my half way goal for my new adventure. I’ll be riding a 20 mile bicycle “Fun Ride” at Clear Lake. I rode ten miles today. We’re not discussing time here, just the distance.

I Paid for That? I’ve never done anything like this before. For those of you who know me, I’m not very coordinated and not even a teeny bit athletic. But I like riding my bike. I love to see God’s beauty and listen to the birds as I pedal along. I needed some kind of goal.

The Ride. I checked bike club rides but most are over 25 miles, so I had to start somewhere. I found this ride in a bike riding booklet. I even bought a pair of bike shorts. I never paid so much money for something so ugly. Oh, except for my hiking vest and pants when I started bird watching and hiking. I’m not sure which are the ugliest.

What About You? So I’m doing something totally out of my comfort zone. What about you? or your children? Have your children or teens been talking about something they want to do…someday? Is there something you’ve thought about trying but decided not to? Schools started this week in Modesto. A new school year is the perfect time to choose to do something new. I’d like to hear your stories of your new adventures. I’ll keep you posted on mine.

 

Back to School & Sleep

by Dr. Marian Fritzemeier, Ed.D. © 2013
Ahhhh, summer vacation. Swimming, camping, amusement parks, and later bed times for children. But school is just around the corner. How can parents help get their children’s sleep back on schedule so they’re not tired when school starts and the alarm goes off way earlier than in the summer?
Do the Math. About two weeks before school starts, calculate how much earlier your children need to get up for school. For example, is your child is sleeping in until 9:00 AM and will have to get up at 7:00 AM for school, that’s two hours. Figure out roughly how much earlier they need to get up each day so that they’re ready for the school alarm clock. If they got up just ten minutes earlier every day, they’d be on track for the earlier wake-up time.
How Much Sleep? While you’re figuring out their wake-up times, just how much sleep does your child need? The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (2012) recommends that school age children (kindergarteners to 8th graders) need 9 to 10 hours of sleep. Ninth and 10th graders need 9.25 hours while 11th and 12th graders need 8.5 hours.
More Sleep? Your child needs more sleep if he/she has challenges getting up in the morning. Obviously, if your child falls asleep during school, he/she needs more sleep. Another reason your child may need more sleep if they are overly active and/or acting out.
Routines Help. Make bedtime consistent, relaxing routine. For younger children, a bath and story time are positive ways to end the day. If your children are sensitive to caffeine and/or sugar, eliminate these in the evenings. Don’t forget, chocolate contains caffeine.
Electronics & Sleep. Keep electronics out of the bedroom two hours before bedtime. Even the light from televisions or electronic devices can suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps aides sleep. Following these suggestions and a healthy breakfast will help your child be ready to learn when he/she returns to school this fall.

 

Is Your Child a Quitter?

by Dr. Marian C. Fritzemeier, Ed.D. © 2013

Do you wonder if your child is a quitter? Does it seem like your son or daughter begin something gung ho and then loses interest? 

Parents can help prevent children from quitting by teaching their children decision making skills and follow through. When our six-year-old daughter wanted to play soccer, we discussed with her what the commitment would involve before she made a choice.

Discussion Questions. For example, if your son or daughter wants to play sports, what will the schedule be and for how long? Does the child want to get up early for sports and give up part of the weekend? How many days a week and what times are practice? How will the child fit this in with other activities and homework? When all the details are gathered and explained, then the child can make an informed decision.   

New Skills. This dialogue begins equipping your child with decision making skills and responsibility for follow through. Is this an activity the child enjoys or is it something the parents want? The child understands that he/she is expected to finish the entire sports season.

Finish It Up. If it involves an entire school year, such as playing a violin in the school orchestra, the child will continue lessons until the end of the school year even if their practice sounds horrific! If they don’t like the activity after the season or year, they can choose something different the next time. Equipping your child with decision making skills not only gives them a better chance of follow through, they learn vital life skills.

Book Review: My Sister’s Keeper

by Dr. Marian Fritzemeier, Ed.D.My-sisters-keeper

When I taught Child Development in a Learning Community with an English teacher, all the reading was based on child development content. The fiction book we selected was My Sister’s Keeper.

The Story

The story begins with a couple’s decision to genetically engineer a baby to become a bone marrow match for the two-year-old sister Kate’s leukemia. Although the book actually covers two weeks, with flashbacks, the reader gains a fuller picture of the three siblings’ child and adolescent years.

Controversy

Author Jodi Picoult is known for taking real life controversial issues and presenting multiple views from various characters. How far would you go to save your child’s life? Picoult weaves the view of the father, mother, oldest brother, sister Anna, sister Kate, Cambell (Anna’s pro bono attorney), and Julia (Anna’s guardian ad item) in this emotionally riveting book.

Life as a “Designer Baby”

Since Anna’s arrival as a “designer baby,” she’s had countless medical procedures to save her sister’s life. At thirteen, when Anna’s parents plan for her kidney donation, Anna makes a decision to sue her parents for the rights to her own body.

Movie Not the Same

If you’ve seen the movie released in June 2009 and haven’t read the book, be prepared. The movie doesn’t entirely follow the book. The 423 page book is far more emotionally gripping. The author takes readers on a distressing roller coaster ride. As with all good roller coaster rides, there’s an unexpected twist at the end.

Food for Thought

This book is a tear jerker but gives such a concise picture of the struggles each family member deals with when a child is seriously ill. This book raises questions about medical ethics, family conflict, and the power of love. The book includes a Q & A section with the author and questions for discussion. When you read the book, you’ll want to discuss it with someone.

Book Information: My Sister’s Keeper, Jodi Picoult, Washington Square Press, 2004. This book is available through Amazon.com. Paperback $12.67; Kindle $10.38; Hardcover $19.48; Audio CD $25.64.