The Pressure to Fit In

Sometimes we think of peer pressure as something that only affects our kids. But it is a natural part of our makeup, and it affects us all.

I was at a Harley rally with one of our Heartlight parents not too long ago. Now, I’m in my 50s, and there were a lot of guys there even older than me. (Really.) I can tell you that I saw evidence of peer pressure there too, everywhere. People were conforming to the “biker look,” wearing things they wouldn’t have been caught dead wearing at home or work, because they wanted to fit in. I sat for awhile and just watched them go by, shaking my head in amazement.

But it wasn’t just “them.” I walked into one of the shops, lined in front with one Harley after another parked exactly the same, to buy a new helmet. I put it on and looked in the mirror. My first thought was, “That doesn’t look cool.”  Then I realized how silly it is at my age to be worrying about looking cool. If I ever had a cool phase (I’m pretty sure I didn’t) it’s long behind me now. What was going on? I wanted to fit in with everyone else there. That’s a natural part of our makeup and character. So it should come as no surprise to us that peer pressure is such a powerful force in the lives of our teens. Continue reading “The Pressure to Fit In”

Getting the School Year Started Right

Like New Year’s resolutions, the start of the school year is a perfect time for parents and teenagers to make resolutions in regard to goals, responsibilities, and expectations.  It is an opportunity to think about what you and your teen hope to accomplish this year, but it is also a time to think about your household rules, making sure they are still age-appropriate (or appropriate according to the maturity of your teen).

Consider the environment your teen is about to enter.  What precautions and advice can you give them?  What should they avoid, and what should they strive for this year?  How will this year affect their future, their college choices or their future career?  Will this be an especially difficult transition year, such as moving to a new school or from junior high to high school?  At such times, it is especially important to help make the transition as smooth as possible.  I recommend visiting the school with an older student who is already familiar with the school as your tour guide, so your child can learn the ropes and understand what to expect, including the good, the bad and the ugly. Continue reading “Getting the School Year Started Right”