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Tag Archives: the importance of parent involvement

Avoid the Mainstream Parent Trap – Part 6/9

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

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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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Education’s Accountability Dilemma

In a recent March 2011, 60 Minute segment, Katie Couric reported on an experimental New York City charter school founded on the idea that paying teachers $125,000 annually would attract the best people for the job and make a difference.

The principal’s name was Zeke Venderhoek. The students were mostly African American and Hispanic and almost all came from poor families. The teachers often put in 80 to 90 hour weeks.

When the fifth graders from Venderhoek’s charter school took the New York State Math and Reading Exam, the results revealed that on average the public schools in the district scored better than the charter school.

At the conclusion of 60 Minutes, Venderhoek said one year wasn’t enough to show improvement.

Halt!

Wait a minute!

I taught in public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005) in a barrio with multi-generation, Latino street gangs, and often worked 60 to 100 hour weeks. From my classroom doorway, I witnessed a drive by shooting one year. Another year, in the evening when I was working late, a student was gunned down outside my room next to the school gate as he was leaving the campus.

However, over the years, district records revealed that my students often outperformed all other student in the district at the same grade level on standardized tests with improved writing skills. District administration said the records showed this to be true year after year and I did not teach in a charter school.

In the early 1980s, one African-American mother with a seventh grade, twelve-year-old daughter came to me. The mother was upset because the previous year’s standardized test scores said her daughter was reading several years behind grade level.

I told the mother the only way that would change was for her to turn off the TV and spend time with her daughter every evening and on weekends making sure her daughter did the homework, studied for tests and quizzes and read at least one hour or more every night seven days a week with a discussion before bedtime about what had been read. If there were questions, call me.

By the end of the year, that student’s literacy level had improved five years. That mother made the difference, and my mother did the same thing for me when I was in grade school. Without my mother’s effort at home, I would not be able to read today.

Why couldn’t Venderhoek’s Charter School show similar results?

The answer may be found from a 2009 Stanford University Charter School study that discovered only 17% of almost 5,000 nationwide charter school delivered on the promise that they would succeed where public schools often failed.

Seventeen percent is a FAILING grade and many of these charter schools had smaller class sizes, longer school years and days with stricter behavior codes with school uniforms.

In fact, students that did not perform could be sent back to the public schools, which is something private school may also do.

When will the country wake up and hold parents and students responsible to turn off the TV, shut down the Internet, study, do homework and read? Teachers cannot do it alone.

Discover why Some Teachers Should Earn Combat Pay

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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