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ParentNet® Fourth Grade Summary
The issues that parents most wanted to discuss at today's meeting were peer pressure, conformity, self-esteem, sibling competition, and cooperation. Since we had a small group of 13 people, we decided to group the first three issues under one umbrella of peer pressure. Several of the parents talked about how they were concerned that their children wanted to do what "everyone else was doing." This included going to rock concerts, buying certain clothes, going to sleepovers, and watching PG-13 movies. We then had time to discuss how to get our children not to compete with each other and to cooperate with us. The suggestions from parents included the following:
Emphasize the benefits of being different. Help your child to understand that the things that are different about each of us are the things that make us interesting.
Don't be afraid to say no, that our family doesn't do those things and explain why, even if it's over their heads. Explain it once but not repeatedly then stand firm.
Be approachable as a parent. Make sure your child knows they can discuss anything and everything with you. This will establish a trust and openness that will be important to maintain when they become teenagers.
When you don't allow them to do something that "everyone else" is doing, you may want to plan a family outing or something else during the time of that event.
If your child wants to go to someone's house or somewhere with a child and you don't know the parents, don't be afraid to call the parents and find out exactly what they will be doing. Be sure to let them know your family's ground rules (such as no PG-13 movies).
For brothers and sisters who argue about who gets to do what, assign "Odd" and "Even" days to your children. On days that are "Odd numbered", such as the 1st or 3rd of the month, one child gets to make the choices, or has certain chores and privileges. On "Even" days, the other child gets to choose.
When your child refuses to cooperate, such as doing their homework or getting up in the morning, make sure they understand they will lose privileges (such as watching TV or reading a special book). You can let them know that only when they have done what you requested will they get their privilege. For example, only when they get up and get ready for school, can they watch a favorite TV show until it is time to leave.
Another suggestion was to keep a chart of all the things they should do and mark what they actually do. You may wish to set up some type of rewards or privileges for doing them.