Most parents expect their children to earn a college degree. Yet only about one in four children actually do.

Parents expect children to behave in school. Yet only one in four of 6,500 kids recently polled said behaving in school is important.

The problem is negative peer pressure, says one expert. Studying isn’t cool to many kids. Nor is being interested in sports and after school activities. Many kids think they can slide by in school, yet still get into college.

Parents and schools must work together to convince students to work harder in school, says the author. They must replace negative influence with “steer pressure.”

To help steer your child in the right direction:

  • Stay involved with your child’s school. This sends a strong message that learning and schoolwork are important.
  • Actively monitor your child’s friends. Be prepared to step in and do some steering when kids’ behavior isn’t appropriate.
  • Help your child find positive groups of friends. Encourage her to participate in band, community service, chess club, etc.
  • Spend more time with your child, giving positive support and advice.
  • Stress that “education pays.” Point out the positive results of hard work and good grades.
  • Attend school meetings designed to help parents understand and deal with adolescence and peer pressure.
  • Save and work with others to make college a possibility.

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