Peer pressure and friends – it’s a combination that can be good or bad. I remember my best friend from those elementary grade years. We played together, sat by each other at school, rode the school bus, and had a great time at sleepovers. If one of us wanted to do something, so did the other. Fortunately we both grew up in families with similar values. Our parents knew each other and saw that us kids had fun – but within their guidance and supervision.
Parents, get to know your kids’ friends. Make your house the inviting place for everyone to hang out. Then be visible and interact with the kids. Note how your own child responds to others. Is he a leader or is she a follower? Do the kids seems to get along well or are there troublemakers? Talk to the other kids’ parents whenever you get a chance.
You can gently steer your child to friends you see as positive influences. Arrange play dates or have the whole family over for a BBQ. Enroll your child in clubs or activities with children who you think could be good friends. As children grow, parents have less and less influence over this part of their child’s life. Be cautious about pushing too hard on getting rid of friends you think are a bad influence. Kids will often rebel and do just the opposite of what you want.
That good friend from my early years – well, as we entered high school, our interests changed and so did our friendship. I found new friends and new experiences. Happily these friends never pressured me into doing anything I didn’t want to.
So parents, keep tabs on your kids’ friends. Know what is going on. It’s a key piece of peer pressure.
friendship, peer pressure
Your child really wants to go to camp this summer and after careful thought, you are ready to give it a try. Then the next question may be – day camp or sleepaway camp? This is a pretty big decision that can impact how successful the camping experience is for your child. While many children around the ages of 9 or 10 are probably ready for being away from parents and on their own, there are several factors to consider.
Let’s start with the obvious. Does your child stay overnight with grandparents or friends? Can he get through the night without calling you to come get him? Has he been away from home, and you, for more than a night or two?
It’s not a good idea to pack a bag and send your child off to camp for a week if she’s never slept away from home on her own. Instead this might be the summer to sign her up for day camps and plan a sleepover at a friend’s house.
However, if your child seems okay with being on his own away from home, go ahead and explore sleepaway camp options. Start with camps that have a shorter duration – of a week or less. If all goes reasonably well, then you can look at longer time frames next year.
As you’re making camp decisions, remember to take into account your child’s ability to take care of herself. Can she get up, find her clothes, and make it to events on time?Does she make friends easily? Is she willing to try new activities and foods? Do unfamiliar places, routines, and people cause anxiety? The answers to these questions will help you determine what types of camps are better choices.
Once you’ve explored these questions with your child, you’re ready to help pack the backpack for a day camp or the duffle bag for a sleepaway camp. Then let the fun begin!
camps, friendship, social-emotional
The 4-H camp, sports camp and music camp brochures are arriving and the kids are begging for a summer adventure. But other than fun, is there any value to camp?
According to the American Camping Association, more than 8 million kids attend summer camp every year. So obviously camps are an attractive summer activity for many families.
We’ll take a look at some research on whether camp experiences can contribute to the healthy development of young people.
During May, we will examine the research and discuss how to help children choose an appropriate camp. Join us!
camps, friendship, nature, social-emotional
I want you to know that not everyone is going to like you. I want you to know that you can fail and I will still love you. I want you to know that I am not perfect. I want you to know…
I find myself thinking and saying this phrase a lot. I have two teens and one nine year old that thinks she is a teen. There is so much I want them to know but so much that I don’t always say out loud. Yes, I want them to know, but I also know that sometimes they will ‘hear’ it louder from someone else. What resources can I share with them so they will find the answers I want them to know?
Below are some of the resources I have share with my teens so far. And yes, it was via text, email, Twitter or Facebook. I’ll use any means I can to share the information I want them to know.
I Am In Control
What have you shared with your teen? I would love to know!
family time, friendship, parenting, raising teens, social-emotional
As I pondered this topic I first thought I would blog about what I mean as a mother to my kids (and what does research say about that key relationship).
Then as I began to search and study I found myself drawn to the information that sent me off into the land of caring for and making decisions for my mother. Although she is young and vibrant and enjoying her recent venture into retirement I found that I already know many people that are facing the many questions I found on the eXtension website.
What I found were so many great questions with fabulous answers in that ‘oh so tough land’ of switching from the role of child to ‘mother’ of our mother/father.
As you enjoy the celebration of a relationship with a ‘mother-figure’ or the relationship of being the ‘mother figure’ please know that there are many resources for you when you become the ‘mother’ of your beloved mother.
I would love to hear your thoughts and ponderings on the role reversal.
education, friendship, mother, parenting
I woke up this morning feeling like cheering!!! I think it was the sun! Yesterday I was thinking about what to write for the blog and spent some time trying to ‘watch’ play. However, I didn’t just watch children play. I watched adults play. I watched infants to the aging play. As I reflected on the play I noticed a common theme. Are you ready?
We really do like to play.
How did I know? We let our bodies show it. We smile. We raise our eyebrows. We open our mouth and laugh. We relax our shoulders. We BREATHE. Yes we like to play and our bodies show the pure un-inhibited enjoyment of it!
I wonder if that’s why sometimes as adults we are tired after playing? Because we finally just let our bodies and brain enjoy the moment we are in. Hmm, so play might really be important in more ways than one.
I would LOVE to know how you play! I want you to recognize the times that you freely let go and allow yourselves to really enjoy the moment! Take time to really pay attention and allow yourself those moments. Tell me abut your play!
education, family time, friendship, grandparenting, play, positive parenting
I admit to feeling like I had a play deficit when my children were little. So much so that I used to make myself feel pretty guilty because as an early childhood educator I felt like I should be better at ‘PLAY’. What I discovered is that I just play differently. And guess what. So do you!
We all play differently. I found that I like play that is active or has action. Others like to play board and/or card games that are more quiet. While still others enjoy the make believe and dress up adventures. There is no right or wrong way to play. There is just play. Pure and simple. Play. Play is face to face with the children in your life. Engaging their mind and body while creating strong relationships. Back and forth communication. I guess my message really is don’t over analyze how you play or if you play is good enough or right enough.
Pat yourself on the back, give yourself credit and tell me how you like to play with the children in your life.
education, family time, friendship, grandparenting, language development, play, positive parenting, raising teens, social-emotional, temperament
Guest Blogger- Family Life Intern Mackenzie K.
As Donna and the podcast suggested, anger is natural for children. There are countless issues that may cause a child to feel angry: not getting their way, frustration over things that are hard, learning difficulties, family problems, or friendship issues.
Often times we want to tell our children that they should not be angry. Their anger sometimes seems irrational and unjustified to us as parents. In reality, the emotion of anger is not the problem; it is how they handle that anger.
So allow your child to feel angry. We all know how hard it is to try to change your emotions. Help your child identify their feeling as anger. Saying and labeling the emotion like this may be helpful, “You are angry because I won’t let you eat candy before supper” or “I can tell that when you don’t make the circle perfect it makes you frustrated”.
Now that they can recognize their anger, they can learn how to address it. There are some great strategies and tips to try when helping your child learn to handle their anger in the article below:
Helping Children with Anger
Does anyone have any experience using these techniques? What has worked best for you and your child?
discipline, education, family time, friendship, language development, overindulgence, positive parenting, raising teens, school, social-emotional, spanking, temperament
Hmmm so I wondered after the last blog about myself and my children. I checked out the resources that Donna listed and am sharing here four of the clues to overindulging children. You can find the research and resources here…. 4 Clues to Overindulgence
Instead of sharing with you the questions, I am going to share with you the examples.
- My five-year-old has toys in every room of the house, but he is always begging for new toys.
- My ten-year-old’s clothes closet is bulging with garments, but she can’t find anything to wear to school in the morning.
- My 13-year-old has a heavy after-school activity schedule every day and all day Saturday. We want to keep him occupied so he won’t get into drugs.
- My 17-year-old loves the computer and video games. He spends all of his time looking at the screen. He isn’t interested in sports, and it is a struggle to get him to exercise. I’m afraid he stays up half the night.
I encourage you to go view the questions. Then come back here and share your thought with us!
They made me think.
education, family time, friendship, overindulgence, positive parenting, raising teens, school, social-emotional
Research shows that children who get everything they want grow up to be greedy, materialistic, self-centered adults. However, parents can raise their children to focus instead on internal life goals, such as learning, developing relationships and helping others.
In December, join us as we offer tips for parents on how to avoid overindulging children and learning when ‘enough is enough. Overindulgence
Podcast: Play in new window
education, family time, friendship, podcast, positive parenting, raising teens, social-emotional
Empathy is the ability to understand the world from another person’s point of view. Empathy can also create motivation to treat another kindly based on that understanding.
Feelings Flashcards: Make flash cards with a photo or drawing showing different emotions such as happy and sad or scared and mad. Even three and four year olds can identify a range of emotions. Point out the different feelings and talk about them.
Share stories and personal experiences: share stories about times when you had similar feelings and let the children share back.
Puppets: Children are drawn to puppets and many lessons can be taught by them. Have puppets display different emotions and talk with children about them.
Share how you have seen empathy impact children’s relationships and friendships.
bullying, education, friendship, positive parenting, social-emotional
Children with special needs should be offered opportunities to create friendships. Some children will make friends very easily while others may need a little help from adults. Here are a couple of ideas on how to create peer interactions for children with special needs.
- Encourage and arrange play dates
- Organize the area in which the children will play
- Have more than one of the same toy so children can play with the same toy, imitating and mimicking each other
- Join in and play to keep interactions going
- Never force friendships between children of any age or ability
“Friendship among typically developing children and children with special needs is not only possible but beneficial. With support and encouragement from adults, young children with and without disabilities can form connections that not only provide enjoyment but help promote their growth and development in multiple domains”. (eXtension.edu, 2011)
We would love to know your ideas on how to encourage friendships for children with special needs.
For more information on friendships and children with special needs click on the link below.
Peer Support for Children with Special Needs
Aspergers, education, friendship, positive parenting, social-emotional, special needs
BFF – do you have one? I see kids of all ages using this notation. And at the time they really are sure it’s true. I had a best friend all through my grade school years. Then in high school we quickly drifted apart and I found new groups of friends. Some stayed with me through college. Three are still a part of my life. As an adult I’ve accumulated many more friends. Some I consider BFFs.
The point is – friends move in and out of our lives. Sometimes as parents we get upset over the friends our children choose. But unless something dangerous is going on, trust your child’s choice in friends. Your son or daughter will pick friends who have shared interests – for example sports or music. Maybe they will be in a club together. Then as interests change, the friends may change too.
As a parent it’s hard to watch this friendship dance. But if you are patient, most of the time the kids will handle things on their own. They learn the “give and take” of friendship and how to work out problems.
One thing you can do is encourage a wide network of friends and provide opportunities for kids to be together. Then stand back and watch the magic of BFFs unfold.
Does anyone want to share a friendship story?
As I read the information on friendships I thought about writing about children – because that’s what the blog is about right? But the last part of the podcast really struck me. Where do children learn about friendships? From the adults role-modeling around them. My children are learning about friends from me and I learned from my parents.
So I spent that last several days listening and watching what my children see me say and do around and with my friends. Then I spent some time watching my children with their friends. Yep, sure enough it looked similar.
I want to repeat the 3 bullets from the podcast -
- provide emotional support
- teach acceptable behavior
- teach important attitudes
So I sit here pondering are there things I want my children to learn about friends from their friends? Are their things I want my children to learn about friends from me? Yes and YES. And I want the strongest most important lessons to come from me! So it will be up to me to model about friends to them. Hmmmm Why do these blogs always turn into something I need to do? :-)
Share your thoughts with me on how you have modeled about friendships to your children.
education, family time, friendship, positive parenting, social-emotional, temperament
Parents want their children to have friends, but childhood friendships can be puzzling. One day a child is part of the “in group” and the next day he or she is on the outside. What’s a parent to do?
The good news is that parents can help children develop the skills they need to make and keep friends. Join us this month as we navigate through the world of children’s friendships.
Listen to a brief podcast on Children and Friendship:
Podcast: Play in new window
education, family time, friendship, podcast, positive parenting, raising teens, social-emotional