CREDOS: Parenting — II

When faced with tough social choices — invited to a party where drinking might happen, asked by a friend to cheat on a quiz, encouraged to exclude someone — that sense of being a part of something strong, their family and their family’s beliefs, will help kids make the right choices.

The following are ways you can create a strong sense of connection so your kids will weather the waves of social influence and experience positive peer interaction. If an atmosphere of open communication has been developed by the time your child is a pre-teen, he will feel comfortable discussing peer issues with you. If a specific time for communication is woven into the fabric of your family rhythm — i.e. Saturday walks in the woods, Sunday brunch, predictable dinner times with conversation, jogging together, building model airplanes, reading the same book - when kids are pre-teens and teens they will truly count on that time together. Give your child a chance to stand up for her beliefs in the safety of your home. Have debates and listen to her views on an issue you might not agree with.

Encourage participation in groups that are joined together for positive outcomes, such as youth groups at your church or temple, Scouts, Students Against Drunk Driving, 4-H. Brainstorm with your child options for uncomfortable situations such as being at a party when the talk has turned ugly or when a friend’s parent has had a few drinks before driving him home. —