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Avoid the Mainstream Parent Trap – Part 6/9

09 May

Since I was a public school teacher from 1975 to 2005, I saw the self-esteem movement among parents change the schools. I not only saw it but my job as a teacher was made more difficult as false self-esteem became the focus of the “average” American parent and not academics. Instead childhood “fun” replaced “work”, which is what a child must do to learn.

Due to the self-esteem movement, there was pressure for grade inflation and dummying down the curriculum so it would be easier on the students to be successful and feel good about him or herself.

Once the “average” child started spending that 10:45 hours a day talked about in Part 2, students went home and put pressure on parents still practicing old-world parenting methods.

Research shows that peer pressure has a much greater impact on adolescent behavior than any other factor.

Think about it. Your teenager spends more of his or her waking hours with peers than with family members. That interaction is more powerful than the influence of teachers and other authority figures. If a child feels compelled to fit in, the teen may do things that go against his or her beliefs simply to be part of the group.

Peer pressure may lead to experimentation with drugs and alcohol, sex, skipping school, and various high-risk behaviors. If you notice a sudden change in your child’s appearance, clothing, and attitude, especially if accompanied by secretive behavior, the child may be succumbing to the influences of peers.

Parents should be especially alert to sudden changes in the friends who make up their core peer group. An unexplained change in the type of friends your child associates with could indicate that your child is vulnerable to new influences that may not be positive. Source: Aspen Education.com

The need of teens to conform to peer group norms and values has often been witnessed by teenager workers as well as parents. When one refers to the “tyranny of teens”, one is expressing an awesome appreciation of the powerful energy and pressures generated by this strange social configuration called the peer group.

Parent/s often surrender to the power of the teen subculture. The parent/s experience feelings of futility. “There’s nothing I can do; they won’t listen anymore.”

When that happens, the teenager is left trying to manage his life while the adult ponders just where his approach went wrong. Another variation in a parent’s response to the teens peer subculture is enlistment in the opposition thinking, “If you can’t beat them, join them.”

Then one or more parents try to become like a teenager leading to an ineffective parenting. In Part 7, I will write about a proven way to overcome the negative influence of peer pressure.

Continued on May 10, 2011 in Avoid the Mainstream Parent Trap – Part 7 or return to Part 5

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to kill Americans.

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