Trust Your Instincts
** Smart, attractive 15 year-old girl tells her parents that her boyfriend’s parents are present when she goes to his house to visit.(Sometimes they were; sometimes they weren’t at home.But it really didn’t matter, because their values differed from the girls.The girl is now pregnant.)
** Son goes off to college.Parents allow him to pledge a fraternity.The parents have trouble reaching him.When he comes home, he acts different and wants to be with his friends all the time.First semester grades come in and he has a 1.2 average and is placed on academic probation.(Parents send him back to college with his promises to do better.He doesn’t.Son is having fun binge drinking.$30,000 down the drain.)
** Parents allow 16 year-old daughter, an honor student, to date a 20 year old.(Parents knew the pair function in two different worlds’hers school; his work,but they caved when the daughter insisted.The boy eventually talked the girl into taking nude photos of herself and e-mailing him to her.The police are now involved as she is a minor.)
** It’s 10 p.m. Parents are in bed asleep.They hear bumping noises coming from the daughter’s bedroom that is upstairs just above their bedroom.(Father calls the daughter’s cell phone and says it’s too late to continue studying and to send her boyfriend home.)
** 12 year-old girl begs her parents to be on My Space and, even though they think she is young for this privilege, they give in.(She is now consumed with gossip and bullying behavior by her friends who have easy access to her 24/7.)
Wake up and smell the roses’there IS something rotten in Denmark!Unless you are a terribly anxious person about everything, then listen to your gut and check/act accordingly to protect your child.In this fast-paced, sophisticated world in which our children live, we must monitor their activities, get to know first-hand their friends” parents, communicate with other parents, ask questions even though the answer might seem obvious and, of course, tell your child no when needed.You are not your child’s friend (that will come many, many years in the future),you are the parent who provides safety, support and, at times, tough love.
P. S. Read my other column What’s On Your Bucket List?
The guide for parents/educators on how to peer-proof children and teens is Peer Pressure Reversal: An Adult Guide to Developing a Responsible Child, 2nd Ed.
Her popular book for teens, How to Say No and Keep Your Friends, 2nd Ed., empowers kids to stand out,not just fit in!
A follow-up book for teens, When to Say Yes! And Make More Friends, shows adolescents how to select and meet quality friends and, in general, feel good for doing and being good.
Sharon also has a charming series of five books for elementary-age children each teaching an important living skill and "co-authored" with her savvy cocker spaniel Nicholas who makes the learning fun.Their book on managing elementary-age peer pressure is titled Too Smart for Trouble.