“Imagine a balance scale with peer pressure on one side and family pressure on the other,” child psychologist Beverly Celotta tells parents. “Your job is to make sure that on important issues, family pressure wins out.”
To do that, she says, parents must do the same kinds of things peers do to encourage conformity:
• Demonstrate your liking for your kids. Smile when you first see them. Be affectionate. Spend time with them. Listen!
• Help them feel like a member of an important family group. Have family traditions. Plan activities. Assign chores and let them know how much you appreciate and rely on their help.
• Help them feel special. Tell them what is unique about them. Don’t compare them to brothers or sisters. Encourage their areas of interest and attend their special events.
• Provide them strong leadership. Be consistent in your role as a parent. Model the behaviors you expect.
• Apply appropriate consequences when they submit to peer pressure and don’t follow family rules. Let them know what they did was wrong and why.
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