Head Lice Is Everywhere – How To Protect Your Child

Head lice is a common occurrence in children. So, as your children head back to school this year, you will want to be on the lookout for these pesky critters. Head lice is common because you can find head lice anywhere. However, it tends to be passed around when kids are enclosed together in places like classrooms. With the start of school, the health departments always see an increase in incidents. What do we do about it?

Knowing some basics about head lice will help you deal with a lice infestation. We’ll take a look at what head lice is, how to recognize it, prevent it, and get rid of it. Let’s start by clearing up a few misconceptions.

The Cold, Hard Truth About Head Lice

These little irritants don’t care whose head they make their home on. Meaning that head lice are not attracted to dirty hair, bodies, clothes or homes; they are just want a warm head to leech onto. Just because you send your son or daughter to school all scrubbed up and shiny clean, doesn’t protect them against head lice in the least. Getting over this misconception is the first step to diagnosis and treatment.

Teach Your Children How To Prevent Head Lice

Help your kids avoid contracting head lice by explaining to them that head lice moves from person to person by direct contact. Head lice won’t jump across the room from one head to another. Instead, by wearing someone else’s hat or scarf or using another person’s brush or comb is a good way to contract head lice. Never share personal items. But, even that may not be enough to keep your child’s scalp safe. Nap mats, pillows, cots or tumbling mats may house lice, as well. Lice can be just about anywhere, on clean surfaces as well as soiled.

How Do You Know if Your Child Has Head Lice?

The two biggest symptoms of head lice is the feeling of something crawling around on your head and constant itching. Kids may not realize that these symptoms aren’t normal, so it’s your job to periodically check your child’s scalp for head lice. If you see your child scratching a lot, that’s the first indication that you may have a problem. You need to check your child’s head closely and see your doctor if head lice appears to be the problem. If the itching continues but you can’t see any signs of head lice, you may still want to visit your doctor just to double check because head lice aren’t always easy to see.

How to Spot a Head Lice Problem

The females lay tiny eggs on the scalp. The eggs are usually a tan or brownish in color and are often hard to see. Once these eggs hatch, the lice hang on to the strands of hair for dear life. The females continue laying batch after batch of eggs keeping the cycle going. Often the first thing spotted in the hair is the ‘nits’ which are the empty eggshells, since they are white in color. Sometimes the nits are mistaken for dandruff and dismissed. The difference is the ‘nits’ are quite sticky and adhere to the hair, while dandruff is dry and flakes off easily. Remember, check with your doctor to make sure.

Getting Rid of Head Lice

Head Lice

What if you spot head lice on child? What do you do now? First of all, DO NOT ignore it. If you don’t act promptly, you will be making a bad situation worse. Head lice can cause scalp infections if they are not removed as quickly as possible. See your doctor immediately for medical advice.

Many times your doctor will recommend RID (which contains lindane) to remove the infestation. RID kills all lice including adults, hatchlings, and eggs. Next, wash all bedding, combs, brushes, clothing and anything else your child’s head may have come into contact with in order to remove any eggs. You can add Lysol cleaner to the washing machine to help kill the lice in the wash water. Carpets and furniture should be vacuumed and shampooed regularly. This is not an overnight process.  Be prepared for weeks of repeated cleaning.

If you prefer to use a home remedy rather than harsh chemicals to get rid of lice, you can try combing Tea Tree Oil through the hair and massage into the scalp. Tea Tree Oil is a natural antiseptic and may help kill the lice. The infestation has to be stopped one way or another in order to prevent infection. Give the remedy a few days to work but do not stick with a system that isn’t working. So, if you don’t see results in a day or two, you may want to go with a stronger option.

The important thing, no matter what method you use, is the removal of lice from the hair. It’s not an easy task, but it’s well worth the effort when you finally see your child with a happy face and a healthy scalp!

Why Are More and More People Choosing to Home School Their Children?

Have you ever thought about homeschooling your children? What are the pros and cons? Would it be a good fit for you and your family? If you are interested in finding out more, you might want to start by talking to other parents as to why they made the decision to home school their children.

Some the reasons I’ve come across why parents choose to home school their kids and why they believe this method of education is best for their family are:

Close-Knit Families

Families that homeschool are generally close-knit and enjoy being with each other day in and day out learning together as a family. If you feel that your kids are spending more time away from you than with you, homeschooling might be an option to bring your family close together again.

No Peer Pressure

Some children are intimidated by crowds of kids and have a hard time dealing with peer pressure. Kids that are homeschooled don’t have to worry about this issue. When done right, homeschooling can help kids be self-motivated and self-confident without the stress of peer pressure standing in their way.

Cater to Individual Needs

Homeschoolers can offer a well-rounded education that is suited to their children’s individual learning style and unique needs. Some kids learn better when they are allowed to do it their own way. Homeschooling allows parents to remove the one-size-fits-all curriculum from their kids education.

Study Specifics

Homeschooling allows for study in specific areas that the students are most interested in whereas other schools teach children a set curriculum. Many homeschoolers have learned that adding the basics of science, reading and math into their child’s unique interests, makes learning more successful while being more fun for the children. And learning should be fun.

Flexibility

Learning at home, away from the confines of a large classroom, may have advantages for  children who are more artistic. Because homeschooling caters to the specific children learning they may enjoy the fluid atmosphere rather than the more mechanical feel of an outside school.

Avoid Illness

In larger schools there is more sickness passing from one child to the next. With homeschooling your children will not be around other kids all week who are coughing, sneezing and spreading germs. Plus, you can monitor hand-washing and good hygiene.

Prevent Negative Influences

Homeschooled kids learn how to be social and mature without the threat of bullying. Homeschoolers and their children know they have a common goal and the negative influences just aren’t there. There’s no secret agenda. Parents and children simply want to have a good learning experience.

It boils down to what works for your family. Homeschoolers don’t have to have teaching certificates. What you need is a willingness to learn how to create an environment of learning. Since you love your children and know what’s best for them, you will quickly be able to develop the skills you need to help your children reach their educational goals.

There is a lot of help out there for homeschoolers, even so, leaving the outside school system behind takes a big leap of faith. The best thing to do is ask parents, then read up on all the resources you can find on the subject. Homeschooling may be just the thing you need to do to get your kids on track this school year.

mother and daughter

8 Tips To Keep Your Child Safe When You Can’t Be There After School

Sometimes its necessary to leave our children at home alone even as much as we’d rather not, it’s sometimes unavoidable. When your child walks home from school, lets himself into the house, and spends time in the house alone, it can result in anxiety for parents.

With a few tips and solid rules in place for your child, you can help keep him safe at home until you get there, and save yourself a little bit of worry. Here are a few basics to keep in mind when your child must be alone at home:

Calm His Fears

The first thing you will want to do is talk to your child honestly about he feels about being home alone. You may calm your child’s fears by going over the safety rules, such as keeping the doors and windows lock and to never answer the door to strangers. Sometimes it’s the unknown that frightens a child. If your child knows he won’t have to answer the door or the telephone, that may be enough to put his mind at ease. By having a frank discussion with your child about his fears you will be able to get to the bottom of it and put his mind at ease as well.

You’re Still The Boss

It’s important that your child know that you are still in charge even when you are not at home. Rules help keep people safe and your rules must be followed to the letter or there will be consequences. Lay out rules and consequences that cannot be mistaken, argued, or misunderstood. Even posting them on a bulletin board or refrigerator will help reinforce what is acceptable and what’s not.

Who to Call in an Emergency

Sometimes emergencies pop up and your child needs to know exactly what to do in case of an emergency. Be sure your child knows how to contact the police and fire department. Have all that type of information right by every phone in the house and on speed dial. Explain to your child what constitutes an “emergency” as kids have a wide range of emergency-like situations that could crop up, at least in their mind.

Memorize Personal Information

Your child needs to know his full name, phone number and address. Also teach your child your full name, your cell phone number, the name of where you work and your work phone number. Include the numbers and names of other people who are your back-up support, such as uncles and aunts, grandparents and friends.

Home AloneRules of the House

Talk about the rules of the house that your child must follow when you’re not home. Discuss simple things like doing homework, what snacks to have, and what has to be completed before he can watch TV or play video games.

On the more important issues, be very clear. Are friends allowed over while you are gone? If there are friends you will allow and some you won’t, be precise about which ones. Do you want your child answering the door while you’re gone? Is your child permitted to answer the phone? Why do either when someone at the door can come back when you’re home or just leave you a message on voicemail.

Make your rules crystal clear so there are no excuses for mix ups and confusion.

Getting Home Safely

The most nerve-racking part about your child staying home alone for most parents is the walk home from school. Before you allow your child to walk home alone, go over the route with him  a few times. Remind your child never to deviate from the route. No matter how tempting it may be to go see that little puppy on the next block or stop by his friend’s house just a street over remind him if it’s not on the route then it’s not allowed. Walk the route several times together and pick out safe areas both on the route and near your home where your child can get help if needed. These safe areas could be places such as office buildings, stores or the house of a family member or trusted friend. Make sure your child understands which places are safe.

Where to Keep the House Key

Decide whether you will hide a house key at the house or if your child will carry a key with him. If you hide one, be sure it is somewhere safe where your child won’t be seen getting the key. If your child carries a key, be sure someone who is available has a spare. Teach your child safe habits which include locking the door immediately after going inside. Then have child call you right away to let you know he has arrived home safely. You can then ask your child a few questions about his day while he walks through the house with the phone just reassuring you and himself that everything appears to be in order.

Is Everything in Order?

Last but not least, make sure you explain to your child that before they enter the house, look around to see if anything is out of the ordinary in the yard, driveway, at the front step, or anywhere in the surrounding area. If something doesn’t seem right, your child should go to the safe area in the neighborhood you picked out and call you. If your child is in the house and spots something that seems odd or out of place (an overturned chair, a broken window, a leaking pipe, a fire alarm going off, etc.) your child should go to the safe area you have agreed on and call you.  Be sure your child understands the difference between calling you and calling the police. The most important thing is that your child is aware of his or her surroundings and that there is a safe area to go to where there are people who can help.

In a perfect world you would always be there for your child when he gets home from school. But, there are times when this just won’t happen.  Preparing yourself and your child for this situation is important both for your child’s safety and for your sanity. When you lay out the rules and give your child a clear explanation of what to do in all situations, everyone can rest easier.

Schedule Free Time In Your Family’s Day

Having a busy life is great, but the potential for over-scheduling is a real concern. You probably lead a busy life yourself with family, work, and taking care of your household. Keeping your child busy too may seem like the best thing to do, but there can be too much of a good thing.

Kids are busier than ever. Between a full class schedule during the day and all the extracurricular activities after school, when does a kid have time to relax? It’s important for kids to have interests outside of family and school, but how much is too much?

The bottom line is you need down time and so do your children.

Typical Night at Home

On an average week night, you and your family might not get home until well after 6 o’clock at night. Then it’s time to make dinner while the kids work on their homework, eat dinner, dishes, by then its the kids bedtime routines. If you’re lucky you may find a few minutes to relax in between before hitting the sack yourself. But, before you know it the alarm goes off and you are up and at it again. This schedule, when repeated day in and day out, is hard on you, and it’s hard on your kids.

This is usually how it is all week since the kids are busy with school and you’re busy with work. The weekend’s coming so we can all just relax, right? Wrong. The weekend comes and you have errands and chores. The kids will probably have games or other activities to attend. You find yourself running all weekend just like you did all week.

When is your downtime? From the looks of it, not very often.

Over-Scheduling Can Trigger Other Problems

Being in lots of activities is fun but it’s also stressful. Homework, dinnertime, and fun with the family are important, as well. If everyone is running around a mile a minute to get to the next activity, there won’t be any downtime. When there isn’t any downtime to relax and refresh, stress starts to bubble up and boil over. Parents as well as the kids feel this stress. When kids are asked to be on the go 24/7 they get exhausted too. This stress may even cause your children to lose the motivation to participate in the activities they love.

Schedule Some Time for Relaxing Activities

You’re great at scheduling all your activities, right?  Why not schedule in a bit of slow time for your kids and yourself, as well? Everybody needs day off. You need time to relax and clear your head and so does the rest of your family. Just because kids have all the energy in the world doesn’t mean they don’t need to relax and slow down too. That high energy can fool parents into thinking their kids are always ready to go. It’s your job to give your child some downtime to relax, even when it doesn’t appear they need it.

You can allow your child to participate in many extra-curricular activities throughout the year, but the key is to limit overlapping activities during each season. For instance, your child can enjoy basketball in the summer, track in the spring, and football in the fall. This way your child stays active all year without the overwhelm of trying to do everything all at once. You can also sprinkle in some weekend excursions carefully throughout the year, but for every activity make sure you schedule some good downtime in between. Your child needs unscheduled time, too – time to themselves to listen to music, play games, hang out with friends, doodle, daydream or whatever they like to do to relax.

It doesn’t matter if your scheduled downtime includes a picnic at the park, a family game night or movie home, what’s important is that you and your children learn it’s not only okay to relax, it’s part of your happy and healthy life!

Relax. It's Part of  Happy and Healthy Life!

Healthy Eating Habits Will Help Your Children Get Better Grades

We all want our children to be healthy, happy and well-nourished. Studies show that kids who eat healthy do better academically in school. At the opposite end of the spectrum, kids who are malnourished tend to struggle with school in every way, from missing classes to having to take classes or even whole grade levels over again. Doesn’t it seem wise to give your children the best chance to be healthy in order to succeed in school?

It’s not just that your children eat; it’s what your children eat. Your children’s nutritional needs should be something you think about on a consistent basis. Let’s take a look at a few issues that should be addressed in order to get your kids performing and learning at their peak.

What’s for Breakfast?

Mornings are usually the most hectic time. Kids are buzzing around getting ready for school and are in a hurry to get out the door. They may just grab a donut or toaster treat on the way past the kitchen or maybe sitting down long enough to gulp down a bowl of cereal. Have you ever stopped to think what’s in all that processed quick food your filling your child’s belly with? Most cereals and other fast breakfast foods are loaded with sugar, preservatives and empty calories.

One the easiest thing you can do for your children is to make sure they have a well-balanced breakfast before they head off to school. You can do this without having to go to a whole lot of trouble or slaving over the stove. A good start to the day, nutritionally speaking, can include eggs, smoothies, fruits, nuts and veggies. Just remember in the morning it’s got to be easy and fast.

It’s been proven time and time again that schools that provide breakfast for students tend to have a higher number of kids excel in their curriculum. This is a testament to the power of eating a healthy breakfast. Giving your children a quick, nutritious breakfast is as important to their academic success as helping them with their homework. So, even if your kids have to grab their breakfast and run, make whatever they are grabbing a nutritional powerhouse.

Cafeteria or Homemade Lunch?

If you send you kids off with money for cafeteria lunch, have you checked out the nutritional value? Many schools do not provide what you would call well-balanced selections.

Another thing is if you just hand your child lunch money, are you sure your child will use it to buy healthy foods?  That lunch money may be going toward sugar and fat saturated fast food or vending machine treats in the school. The school may have healthier options in the vending machine, but is your child making that choice?

The smartest choice may be to pack a healthy homemade lunch for your child. I know you’re thinking who’s got time to pack a lunch every day? An easy way to get this done without adding another thing to your morning routine is to make their lunches at night and have them ready to go in the fridge. Remember, your child’s health and grades are at stake!

So, let’s make it easy as well as nutritious, shall we? Planning is the key. Your child needs several basics for a well-balanced diet. Include a vegetable, fruit, protein, grain and calcium of some sort in the lunch bag. It can be a tuna sandwich on whole grain bread with a slice of cheese and lettuce with a side of grapes or a turkey wrap with spinach and a cup of fruit yogurt with granola. Even peanut butter on whole wheat bread with an apple is healthier than a bag of chips in the vending machine. Keep it simple and be creative and you’ll find ways to provide a healthy lunch.

All About Snacks

A late afternoon snack is a must to keep kids energy from waning. Some schools provide snacks for their students. Unfortunately, many kids eat processed foods loaded with fat and sugar to tide them over until dinner.

To steer your kids away from the vending machine have a small pack of snacks ready for them to grab when their stomach starts to grumble. A handful of nuts, some dried fruit, trail mix, or even a few whole grain crackers may be just enough to give your child an energy boost in a healthier way. If you buy snack bars, make sure you read the labels to ensure they are actually healthy. Some are labeled as ‘protein bars’ but they are packed with loads of sugar and other unhealthy ingredients.

A Little Planning Pays Off

It’s easier than you may think to make or buy healthy foods for your children to take to school. First off make a list of all the healthy snacks your children like. This may be a small list at first if they are not used to eating healthy foods. You can start with what they like and begin by having them expand their palate by trying new items at home. If they like it then you can add it to the list.

Then you will want to go to the grocery store with your children to pick out food for their school days. You will have to steer your child them away from processed junk and candy at first and a simple, yet firm, reminder that none of that is going in their backpack may be in order. It’s time to make healthier choices and your child needs your guidance.

Get your child involved in preparing the meals and snacks.  Lay out the food and tell your child that there are basic nutritional elements that belong in each meal.  Group those elements together and tell your child that they can mix and match them in any way they want just as long as they have balanced out each meal.

You can take this planning as far as you want and be as organized as you like. Or just throw all the food together and prepare the meals each day as you go.  The main thing is you have given your children healthy foods to build their school day around.

If you want your child to do well academically, you need to start from the inside out. Choose a well-balanced breakfast, a healthy lunch, and snacks that satisfy without all the processed sugar and other junk. Give your children all the nutrition they need to feed their bodies and brains for a successful school year while building lifelong habits.

Healthy Eating

Understanding and Dealing with School Issues with Your Child

It’s disturbing when the school calls and asks why your child hasn’t been in school lately when you know she’s heading off to school everyday. It’s also frustrating when your child’s teacher calls to let you know that she is being disruptive in class or isn’t cooperating.

As parents, we never want to think that our child would act that way but even the best kids have problems they don’t know how to deal with that can cause bad behavior. All is not lost. Here are the three most common school issues your child might be facing this year and ways to get your child back on track.

Falling Grades

Your child might not excel in every subject in school, and that is understandable. Maybe your child does well in geography but doesn’t quite get math. Possibly science is your child’s forte but has a hard time with English courses. You have watched your child’s report card through the years and you can see the pattern. That’s normal.

If your child’s grades start slipping in all classes then you’ve got something to watch out for. When a child who for years has gotten A’s and B’s all of a sudden starts getting D’s and F’s, you really need to look at the situation. If your child is flunking tests, not completing work and is going from a pretty good student overall to a failing student, you definitely know there is a problem.

You may find an easy solution to the problem such as spending more time on homework or hiring a tutor for any subject your child needs help with. If your child is simply less interested in good grades, he or she may need incentives to study. Maybe your child is more interested in hanging out with friends or playing video games than in homework. In a case like this, a rewards program for good grades would be the perfect incentive for a child.  Bring your grades up and get time with your friends or to play a video game but if you let your grades slide then no friends or games. When grades just don’t seem important, rewards and incentives are a great motivator.

Poor grades can be a sign of various things. Starting with some of the obvious reasons may take care of the issue.  If the problem persists, talk to your school counselor, family doctor or other trusted professional. You will need to get to the bottom of what’s bothering your child’s, no matter how disturbing the answers may be.

Disrupting the Class

Behaviors that disrupt the classroom can come from many places. Your child simply may not understand the classroom rules or the classwork. Your child many not like the teacher. Other children at school may be creating situations which your child doesn’t have the tools to deal with. Problems with friends or even at home may be weighing heavily on your child’s mind. Diet and health may also play a part in a child’s behavior.

These concerns are very real to your child and can make her act out in ways she normally wouldn’t. Identifying the trigger is the first step. Watch your child closely and get support from your child’s school administration and teachers. Talk to your child and ask the hard questions even though you many not like the answers you get. It’s so important for you to learn what’s behind the behavior so you can find a solution and eliminate your child’s fear.

School Problems

Developmental disorders such as Autism or ADHD will present special challenges. You will need professional help to handle the special needs in a situation that presents too much stress. Sit down with your child’s doctor and teacher to set up a plan for when your child gets overwhelmed. For a child with these issues, you will need not only a good plan but also a solid support system. Disruptive behavior is simply unacceptable no matter what the cause. Learning how to react and respond is part of getting along in the world. Your job as a parent is to find the tools you need to help your child do just that.

Truancy Problems

If truancy is an ongoing issue, you might have to take a strong stance and require that your child check in with someone at the school every morning. Ask the school to call you immediately if your child misses any class or does not show up at all.

Let your child know that you always love him or her, but you now have to check up throughout the day to verify their activity. Even though your child won’t like it you need to stick to your guns and let your child know that this is a consequence from his or her own actions. The freedom to come and go without checking in is a luxury and has been lost by skipping school.

You may be able to stop the issues temporarily by following these tactics but you need to get to the bottom of why your child isn’t attending school. There are always underlying reasons. It could be something as simple as not understanding math and feeling intimidated. But, it may be something as serious as being bullied. If this is the case, you need to take action immediately to remedy the situation. Start with the school administration and move on from there until you get results to your satisfaction.

For every child of all levels of maturity, and physical and emotional challenges, learning how to respond to outside influences is a part of the educational process. It’s your job to help your child learn how to respond. Coping in school prepares your child for the outside world.  Take steps to ensure that these common problems don’t keep your child from having a amazing and successful school year.

Tips to Keep Your Child Safe at The Bus Stop & on The Bus

You’ve had an enjoyable summer with your kids but now it’s back to school time. Most parents are buying school supplies, getting school clothes sorted out and thinking about new teachers, classes, friends, grades, peer pressure and all sorts of things relating to your children heading back to school.

But, have you thought about their safety on the way to school? Many children ride off to school on buses or other means of public transportation. What can you do as a parent to help your kids stay safe when they are riding the bus? Let’s cover a few ways to keep your child safer on the way to school.

Teach Your Children to be Aware of Their Surroundings

Awareness is the first step for safety in any situation, and riding public transportation is no exception.  Teach your child to be watchful of traffic, weather, people and strange or scary behavior. Make sure your child understands that they must not make assumptions. For instance, crosswalks are not a guaranteed safe place. There are irresponsible drivers on the road at all times of the day. Teach your child that even if a cross walk sign says WALK, look both ways before they step into the street. Safety first rules apply at the bus stop and on the bus just as surely as they apply everywhere else in your child’s day.

Make the Bus Stop as Safe as Possible

Bus Stop Safety

If it’s dark when your children wait for the bus then you will want to make sure the bus stop has proper lighting. You can give your children flashlights to keep in their backpacks to use whenever they need it. Also be sure the area is free of harmful items such as barbed wire or broken glass. The bus stop should be cleared of ice and snow in the winter months. If your child uses school or public provided transportation and you feel the bus stop is unsuitable, call your transportation office. Tell your children to watch for any people who appear at the bus stop for no apparent reason and be sure to tell you about it right away. When you have any concerns, go with your child to the bus stop and see for yourself.

Dress Your Children in Bright Colored Outerwear

Put reflective tape on your child’s jackets, coats, snowsuits, backpacks, or any other items they carry.  You want you children to stand out as much as possible to help drivers see them. You can also buy backpacks, outerwear and shoes with built-in reflective strips. These items are a great idea if your children spend any time waiting for a bus. Remind your children that even with this reflective gear that drivers may not see them on the side of the road or at the bus stop due to light shining in their eyes or other distractions. Remind your children that it is important for them to stand where it’s safe, off the road and on the sidewalk, well away from the vehicles.

Teach Your Child the Rules for No Seat Belts

Public transportation and school buses are not required to have seat belts so you need to go over the basic rules and discuss anything your child needs to know to stay safe in their seat on the bus. Key points to go over with your child:

  • Remain in their seats and sitting quietly
  • Remain in your seat until the bus is fully stopped
  • Sit in your seat facing forward
  • Don’t change seats while the bus is moving
  • Learn where the emergency exits are on the bus

Don’t assume your child knows the rules.

Proper Ways to Exit the Bus

You would think that exiting a school bus would be simple, but kids can get hurt if exiting isn’t done properly. Pushing and shoving can result in injuries. Teach your children to be calm and patient. If that means being the last to exit the bus to avoid the pushing and shoving matches, then that’s okay. Once off the bus, the driver will give the children the go ahead signal if they need to cross the road. Tell your children to pay attention to the bus driver or crossing guard and walk away from the bus when signaled to do so. There must be absolutely no walking or standing or playing around the bus. These rules are simple, but when they are not followed, kids get hurt.

Kids get distracted going to and from school. They have classes to hurry to, friends to visit and homework to think about, just to name a few things on their mind. It’s up to you as a parent to remind your children that safety is a real issue to think about and talk over. Discuss the bus stop and the bus itself with your children.  Make unannounced visits to your children’s bus stop. Introduce yourself to the bus driver. Get familiar with this part of your children’s day to ensure that your children are in the safest situation possible so everyone can relax and enjoy the return to school.

Help Your Child Overcome Peer Pressure

Peer pressure can effect your child’s life in more ways than you may ever realize. Pressure to conform may have a positive effect if your child’s peers encourage healthy behavior. But, negative peer pressure is a big ugly monster and you need to help you child learn positive ways to deal with it. This kind of peer pressure leads your child to participate in risky activities or to make bad judgment calls.

You need to help your child understand that he needs make his own decisions and not just follow the crowd for the sake of following the crowd. Your child needs to learn to do what’s right – right for him and his safety, maturity and healthy growth.

Finding His Crowd

It doesn’t matter what age your child is, it’s normal and natural to want to fit in and be liked. Everyone needs and wants friends. Your child’s attitude will change as he grows. What interested him last month holds no interest for him today. His priorities change and he starts moving away from the family and centering on his friends. It’s scary for your child but it’s even scarier for you watching it happen, and feeling helpless.

Instill Values

Children need to know what they believe in and value. A child with a solid understanding of his values and belief system will think twice before stepping out of his comfort zone to do something he feels uncomfortable with or something he knows is wrong.

Self-confident children believe in themselves and won’t need the approval of another person, even a friend, to feel like they belong. One way a child resists peer pressure is to know in his own mind what he wants and by instilling positive values in your child you can help him on this path.

Personal Interests

Help your child believe in himself, gain confidence and self-worth and you will be encouraging your child in other ways too. A child who feels this way is self-directed and participates in activities that are of interest to him. He doesn’t need the approval of other classmates because he is confident about what he is doing with his life. He will pursue interests because he wants to, regardless of whether or not the activity helps him fit in.

Face the Fear

Peer pressure can be a parent’s worst fear. You send him off to school every day knowing that weapons can be brought to school, bullying and hate crimes are rampant and drugs and alcohol are easy to get. The school grounds may not be a safe haven for your child these days. That is why it is up to you to talk to your child and take an active role in shaping his attitudes about what goes on around him. Having conversations with your child about these and other issues within your own neighborhood will help ease his fears, and yours too.

Be Your Child’s Biggest Supporter

If your child knows you are rock solid in your support, he will more likely grow up with a strong sense of self, standing a better chance of resisting the peer pressures that could lead him into trouble.  If you are available for your child, he will know where to turn to when there are problems or questions. Be fair, be firm, be consistent but most of all, be there.

You’ll never be able to make the world a perfect place for your child but you can help your child by giving him the tools to become a stronger, more self-assured person. If your child feels comfortable in his own skin, knows what he wants and believes in and has a strong support system it will hard, if not impossible, to be swayed by peer pressure. This will ensure your child’s success in life and it will also help you ride the ups and downs of the sometimes chaotic adolescent years.

Overcome Peer Pressure