Currently browsing child safety posts

In an Emergency, Please Wait – EMS Will Be There!

It is a beautiful Friday afternoon and my unit is dispatched on a 53 year old female having a seizure. Nothing seems out of the ordinary until we find out that the patient is a passenger in a car that is being driven by her daughter who is speeding while on the phone with 911 and ignoring the advice of the dispatcher and the police car next to her telling her to pull over or go to the closest hospital. The story ends with the daughter driving a very long way home, passing 2 hospitals, all while having a car full of hysterical family who meet us at their home and let us examine the patient only after they have carried her into the house against our advice yet again. Thankfully in the end, everyone was ok but this type of scene is not an uncommon one.

It is a normal reaction to panic when an emergency happens, but the decision to call 911 or to drive the person to the hospital yourself should be weighed very carefully. There are situations where you can calmly put a person in your car and calmly drive them to the hospital and then there are the situations like the one I described above or the one you see in movies all the time with the pregnant wife screaming and panic has taken over and all regard for safety has gone out the window and something terrible may happen. To avoid situations like these we ask you to wait. We ask you to wait for the emergency responders who will show up quickly and manage all the panic and give the best possible care and make sure everyone gets to the hospital safely. The back of a rescue truck or ambulance is a much better place to be should something change for the worse that would cause even more panic and reckless driving had you chosen not to wait.

As always I advocate when in doubt call 911. It is why we are there and it is much easier for us to find an address than it is for us to find a moving car. Please do not put the lives of you and your loved ones in jeopardy, please call and wait, we will be there!

I hope you all have a happy and safe 2024.

Did You Know…Every 2 Weeks a Child Dies From a “Tipover”?

Tipover HazardIt’s not something we like to think about…and it certainly could never happen to us…but the reality is that every 2 weeks a child dies because an unsecured appliance or piece of furniture has toppled over onto them. In fact between 2000–2008, the CPSC received reports of nearly 200 tipover deaths among children 8 and younger. More than 90% of them involve children under 5!

Typically, injuries and deaths occur when children climb onto, fall against or pull themselves up on television stands, shelves, bookcases, dressers, desks, chests and appliances. Sometimes it’s the out-of-reach item placed on top of furniture, in other cases it’s the furniture or appliance itself that will topple causing serious if not fatal injuries. The CPSC has issued a warning, urging parents to inspect and secure these items. They also offer the following safety tips:

  • Furniture should be stable on its own. For added security, anchor chests, dressers, TV stands, bookcases and entertainment units to the floor or attach them to a wall.
  • Place TVs on a sturdy, low-rise base. Avoid flimsy shelves.
  • Push the TV as far back on its stand as possible.
  • Place electrical cords out of a child’s reach and teach kids not to play with them.
  • Keep remote controls and other attractive items off the TV stand so kids won’t be tempted to grab for them and risk knocking the TV over.
  • Make sure free-standing ranges and stoves are installed with anti-tip brackets.

One thing we often forget is that even when our own home has been thoroughly baby-proofed, our friends and family’s homes will likely not have received the same attention. It’s up to us to be vigilant…wherever we may be.

How to Celebrate Your Holidays with Kids and Pets

As I was contemplating what to write my post about this month, (yeah, I think everyone gets writers block once in a while) I suddenly realized how quickly the holidays have descended upon us again! And when I looked back over some of my old posts, I realized that not only has it been about three years since I have written about the holidays, but I have also never written one about Thanksgiving! I decided to update my holiday article from three years ago, not only to add some important updates and edits, but also to include Thanksgiving and the things that somehow always seem to happen at that time of year.

For many of us, the Holidays are such an exciting time: family and friends gathering around, sharing laughs, some songs, sharing old memories, and creating new ones. You spend weeks preparing for it, who to invite, how you are going to fit everyone around the tables, what you are going to serve….

You put so much time, energy and love into every aspect of this. You think of each adult and child (this one is vegetarian, that one may have a milk sensitivity) and you think you have covered it all. But have you?

Let’s face it, you can’t possibly plan for EVERY ‘surprise’, but you can take steps to keep any negative ones to a minimum when it comes to all the children that will be there and any pets as well.

Visiting Family: As far as Thanksgiving goes, we have all heard thousands of times that that is the most traveled day of the year. This holiday is very synonymous with ‘Family.’ For many of us, ‘family’ also includes the family dog! So if you want to bring Fido along with you, please read my post How To Travel Safely For The Holidays With Pets AND Kids This will give you quite a bit of information on everything from car and air travel to a helpful list of what to pack for your pup. And I will add one more tip that was not in that post… if you are planning to go away without Fido, make sure to book your reservations for him at your favorite boarding facility or dog watcher in advance. I do private in-home boarding in my house, and only take a limited amount of dogs…. and some of my regular clients booked me for the holidays as early as August!

So having covered the traveling with your kids and pets over the holidays, I have compiled a list …. starting with all the very pretty things that come hand in hand with the holidays, things that seem innocent enough, but can become a deadly hazard.

Ribbons and garland:

They seem pretty harmless, but a child watching us decorate may see us ‘drape’ a few strands of it around our necks for easy access to it while we put it up. While we see it as ‘convenient’; they may see it as a cool necklace or costume. A garland or ribbon wrapped around their necks may not be a great idea. For that matter, it might not be a great idea around yours either. I will add one more danger to it….. it is a sparkly hanging thing….. so how does the dog distinguish that from any one of their numerous pull toys? It is a recipe for potential disaster that is easily avoidable. Instead, grab a folding stack table and lay it across that for easy access.

One quick helpful hint…. while you decorate, put the animals in another room. Cats especially love ribbons, rubber bands, and anything else they can pounce on or play hockey with – at a minimum, you will save yourself the frustration of having to chase them around trying to reclaim your decorations, but you will also avoid the ‘worse case scenario’ of them swallowing them, which can get twisted up inside them, costing you thousands in vet bills or worse.

Candles and Scented Plug Ins

While candles do add to the ambiance, remember that small curious hands and tails wagging furiously in all the excitement tend to send any object on a coffee table into flight. Put those and any glass ornaments high up and out of reach. And those plug-in oils…. Make sure you unplug them before bed, and beware of when the oil runs dry because that is when they become a horrific fire hazard.

Poisonous Plants

Many people are aware that some Christmas plants may be poisonous…. But are you familiar with which ones are on the list? Although I knew some of them, after I started to do more research, I was surprised at how incorrect my own knowledge was! For example, I would have topped the list with the poinsettia…. After all, the name almost sounds like the word ‘poison’ . But at the top of the list was the seemingly ‘innocent’ plant of Holly! Which is deadly unlike the poinsettia which was listed as ‘not that bad’. So I will add a link here which provides some names and their dangers to help you recognize what may harm your little one or your pet.

Children’s Interactions with Pets

As a dog trainer, I often hear, “I don’t understand…. My dog has never bitten anyone before!” It is very important to keep in mind that this is not your dog’s normal setting. With their heightened senses, the constant noises and the mouth-watering aromas of all the fantastic food being prepared can be overwhelming to them – and lets not forget the Football game playing on the TV at peak volume! My family was never huge into sports, but I have been to some Thanksgiving dinners where ‘watching’ the game can get pretty loud and boisterous! With all of this going on, your dog may not react the way they typically do. Your pet may be a mild and quiet little thing, or generally pretty social and outgoing…. But just because you enjoy the hustle and bustle, don’t assume your pet will too. A sweet child innocently reaching over to pet the dog while he is overwhelmed can lead to a bite. They might be much happier having a quiet space away from it all. And if they tend to startle easily, or be a bit skittish, it is probably best to crate them, put them in another room, or possibly think of boarding them somewhere for the night.

The most important thing I need to stress here is that if you want to have your family dog with you, you must remember that he is ultimately your responsibility… so be aware of what his body language is saying at all times to ensure everyone involved is safe. If you are not sure what your dog’s body language means, please read my article Recognize a Dog’s Body Language Before Your Child Gets Bitten

There is one more important thing you will want to be aware of… if there are young children at your holiday gathering, keep an eye on them around the dog as well. One difference between Thanksgiving and Christmas is that Thanksgiving can tend to be a non-stop food-fest. The holiday is pretty much centered around families getting together and eating. Young children running around with food or snacks in their hands can be a potential recipe for danger on a few levels:

1. Danger to your Pet. Young children tend to drop things and keep going. There are certain foods that are not only potentially dangerous, but toxic to your pet. See Pet WebMD’s comprehensive list of holiday no-no’s for your pet.

2. Danger to your Child. Worse than a child accidentally dropping their food and continuing on, is the child that realizes they have dropped it and goes back for it, just to find out it is already in Fido’s mouth. A toddler trying to reclaim their food from a dog who just received some seriously ill-gotten-goods can become a very high risk for a bite.

One suggestion I would make is to bring an exercise pen with you. My favorite one is the one without the door made by MidWest. I like this one because it both opens and folds very easily, and comes in numerous heights depending on how large or small your dog is. You can fold into any shape you want, or open it up all the way to block a large entryway or doorway. It is a very versatile item.

Alcohol Consumption

More often than not, drinks tend to be all set out on one table. The bottles of wine and beer are right next to the bottles of soda. This is potentially a ‘free-for-all” for experimenting teens. I have been in recovery for a long time, and attend 12 step fellowships meeting regularly, and I wish I could say that I never see ‘members’ under the age of 21…. But I can’t. I am seeing more and more young people attending meetings. And when I listen to their stories, more often than not, they begin with drinking the ‘free-flowing’ alcohol served at their family’s parties. Make a separate table for the liquor, and designate one or two adults to serve.

And while I am on this subject, medicine cabinets are another very serious danger. We are in the middle of the worst opioid crisis the U.S has ever seen. Opiods are narcotic pain killers (Vicodin, Percocet OxyContin and Fentanyl) which suppress the central Nervous System. All of these medicines are highly addictive, and according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) ‘have led to more deaths in the past few years than car accidents, diseases and guns.’ In August 2017, the US declared this epidemic a ‘National Public Health Emergency’. Has anyone in your family had surgery or dental work recently that required pain medicine? If you are not addicted to pain pills, then you probably think nothing of leaving the left over pills in the medicine cabinet. Years ago, when I was using, we had a name for pills that had labels on the bottles identifying them as narcotic or ‘May Cause Drowsiness.” We called them ‘party invitations’. Please go through your medicine cabinets and either get rid of them or lock them up!

Outdoor Safety

Even though it is cold outside, drowning accidents are not exclusive to summer only. Make sure the pool out back is securely locked or gated.

One suggestion which may keep young kids, tweens, and teens all out of trouble and occupied, and allow parents to relax and have fun…. Set up a ‘babysitting’ scenario. Figure out how many of each group you are going to have, and ‘assign’ a child or two to each older child. You can even pay them a small fee for doing the service! Assign age appropriate younger kids to older ones. Give a kid no guidance and too much freedom, you are asking for a bored kid to look for trouble, but assign them a responsibility, and throw in the possibility of some monetary gain, and more often than not, they will step up to the plate.

Sorry Mom’s and Dad’s, the dog needs to stay with you! Children and animals should never be left alone together unsupervised. If you can’t watch the dog, I do not suggest just locking him in a room. He could get very stressed out, and if someone accidentally opens that door and he charges out in panic, someone could get hurt. The safest place for your dog if you can’t watch him is in a crate.

Follow some of these guidelines or ideas, and avoid any future regrets. I have learned throughout my life that I much prefer saying, “I am so glad I ___“ than saying, “If only I ____“.

I wish everyone a happy, safe and healthy holiday season!!

 

Code Adam: Because You Don’t Have Eyes in the Back of Your Head

Sometimes, as a parent, you have to give yourself a break. Even mothers have to heed the call of nature. But with a headstrong and mischievous three-year old in tow, a parental potty break in a public building can become an exercise in surprisingly emotional fear and guilt.

I mean, we are supposed to be able to keep our children safe. We aren’t supposed to lose them! But what can any reasonable parent do wedged in a tight bathroom cubicle with a toddler and sitting in a very compromising position when the wiggle worm decides it would be the height of fun to crawl out under the stall door and run out of the bathroom? I can still feel the brush of his jeans across my fingers as I just failed to grab hold….

Thankfully, with Code Adam, a nation-wide program administered by the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), my anxiety in our local children’s museum was contained by a very orderly and confident process. Code Adam, created and named in memory of 6-year old Adam Walsh who went missing while shopping with his mother and was later found murdered, is a simple but powerful search process focused on marshaling employees of public buildings, such as stores, libraries and museums, in a systematic search for lost children in the crucial moments immediately following their disappearance.

My Code Adam Experience:

  • As soon as I could make myself decent and get out of the bathroom I approached nearby museum staff who were manning the entrance to the exhibit space we had just visited, and learned that my wayward son had not decided to return to the water or sand tables
  • The staff then asked me very specific questions to compile a detailed description of my child – including his clothing and shoe color/style (I remember he was wearing those shoes with a light that flashes when he walked)
  • A “Code Adam” page including this description was then given within the venue and designated staff immediately began a systematic search
  • All potential exits other than the front doors were either closed or closely monitored and a member of the security staff escorted me to the front entrance to ensure my son, Elliott, did not leave the premises. I spent what felt like a wretched eternity desperately scanning the sea of kids, choking back tears, and constantly affirming to my security pal that I’d never lost my kid before…honest!

If my son wasn’t found within 10minutes, the next step would have been for security to call law enforcement. If he had been found in the company of someone other than a parent or legal guardian, the procedure would call for reasonable attempts to delay their departure until the arrival of police, without putting anyone in danger.

Thankfully, I was reunited with my wiggle worm within that timeframe, a staff member having found him obliviously and happily playing on a computer screen in another area of the museum. When he was back within arms’ reach I didn’t know what I wanted to do to him (or what would be considered the politically correct behavior)…wrap him in my arms and say “Thank God”…or berate him for running off from Mommy? So I fudged and did a little of both!

Making Use of the Code Adam Program

Code Adam originated in Walmart stores in 1994 but is now one of the largest child-safety programs in the U.S., used in around a hundred thousand establishments around the country and, since the Code Adam Act was made law in 2003, in all federal public facilities (click here for list of participants). Use of the program in a venue is proclaimed by a Code Adam decal at the building entrances. Thanks to NCMEC and its sponsors, the program is free to participants, who can apply online for a Code Adam kit, including:

  • A training video for employees
  • A break-room poster explaining the program steps
  • Two decals to put on entrances announcing participation in Code Adam

So what can parents and safety advocates do?

  • Check building entrances for the Code Adam decal. Know whether Code Adam is used in that venue before you and your children enter.
  • Know the Code Adam procedures. I’d like to say my story above is the only example of our use of Code Adam in the past eight years, but my son has triggered 2 other experiences in large retail stores. In one of these venues, the staff I located did not know the Code Adam process. Thankfully I did…and suggested they call security and institute a Code Adam page….missing child quickly found. Lesson: Don’t rely on the quality of any given store’s staff training.
  • Make sure caregivers know. Even if you are very familiar with Code Adam and its procedures, what about babysitters or grandparents? How often are they out with your children in a public venue? Be sure that they also know about Code Adam and how to ensure it is appropriately implemented.
  • Suggest Code Adam to local venues. If a local store or establishment with a focus on families or children does not display the Code Adam decal, consider finding the manager and suggest that they participate. They can find everything they need at www.missingkids.org (search “code adam”). Additional information can be obtained by calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) or emailing codeadam@ncmec.org.

How Concerned Should Parents Be About Reddit?

Let me start off by saying that Reddit is not one of the most well-known apps used by kids. For that reason, many parents may not have investigated the risks involved with their children using Reddit. As far as apps go, it has some terrific opportunities for people to learn on the app. That’s the good news. The bad news is that there is plenty on Reddit that many parents would not like their children to see.

Officially, Reddit’s a site designed around the concept of free speech. Unofficially, what I’ve seen on the app would make many parents cringe. I use it myself to find out things happening near where I live, about some of my hobbies (boardgames, flyfishing, gardening, etc.)

What most people would call chat rooms or groups are called communities on Reddit and there are lots of communities on every topic you might consider. People post questions and others can reply to answer them, either publicly or privately. Users are free to post just about anything that they like. The feedback from other users comes in the form of comments and voting a post up or down.

Take a look at the graph below to see how I rate Reddit on several key areas of concern for parents. In my article for Pediatric Safety on Instagram, I explain in much more detail what the values on the graph mean and how using an app might endanger a child, but here it is in short form:

What the Numbers Mean:

The numbers / ratings represent the likelihood that you will see the risky behavior occur within this app.

  • Rating < 5 is minimal risk and is highly unlikely to occur on the platform, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t happen.
  • A rating of 5-6 is average risk – it should concern parents, but not overly so.
  • A rating of 7 or 8 is problematic and should concern parents quite a bit.
  • A 9 or 10 rating is very troubling as that behavior is almost a certainty within this app, and involves issues that are likely of extreme concern to parents, such as sextortion and child pornography.

Catfishing (6 out of 10)

The potential is clearly here, but I have to say that the posts that I’ve seen which are most likely catfishing are often those that include adult content. Users can easily see the same pictures and videos of what are supposed to be users on multiple accounts.

In fact, I considered giving this a higher score, but only chose not to because the majority of what I’ve seen on the app is obviously people trying to help other people, so it’s not as bad as Kik or Whisper, which are meant to be use anonymously and often result in extremely insensitive or hurtful comments.

Cyberbullying (7 out of 10)

To qualify as cyberbullying, the Cyberbullying Research Center requires that the behavior meets four criteria. One of them is that it must be repeated – a single incident may not be nice, but it’s not cyberbullying.

Many of the comments I have seen on Reddit are single comments by one user, but when multiplied by the sheer number of people who jump on the bandwagon so to speak, the results are the same. It’s what’s known as a “roast” – when multiple people attack a person where they are sure to see it.

Language (7 out of 10)

Overall, most people mind their manners on Reddit, but that’s not always the case, especially in some of the more adult-appropriate communities. I’ve seen comments to posts that would get people arrested if they actually committed the acts they mentioned in their comment. The same is true about some of the original posts and what they’re asking for/about.

Nudity (10 out of 10)

Reddit is filled with nudity, including images and videos. Hard core nudity. It’s that simple. What surprised me the most is how quickly I was recommended to see posts or communities that included such content. I’m not saying that nudity and pornography is everywhere on Reddit, but it definitely exists and it’s not hard to find. The images below, however, were posted in a Reddit Community where explicit images may not have been expected.

And while these images still have the people wearing at least some clothes, there are plenty of cases where the images and videos are far more graphic in nature.

For what it’s worth, communities that are known for adult content typically, but not always, have a warning pop-up so that users can’t enter them without a chance to prevent it from being seen.

Privacy (7 out of 10)

Users don’t need to even sign into Reddit or even have an account to view what’s posted on it. That’s probably the best way to maintain a person’s privacy, but of course, that also means that they can’t engage in the discussions and that’s a shame, because there is a lot of good content on Reddit.

Sexting (7 out of 10)

Plenty of the communities that contain adult content generate extremely crude and inappropriate comments by users – statements that would most definitely get children in trouble for saying such things at home or at school. This often results in long threads (reply after reply) about sexual activity. That’s just what’s publicly available from the posts themselves. Direct messaging between users is not available to see but most likely continues this type of behavior.

Sextortion (7 out of 10)

Any place where kids can meet strangers and engage in sexting has the potential to lead to sextortion – blackmailing others to perform sexual acts. This typically begins after the victim sends a single inappropriate picture to force them to continue doing it. Considering that the FBI estimates that at any given moment, there are 750,000 child predators online, parents need to treat even the potential for this happening very seriously.

Stalking (7 out of 10)

The best way to prevent stalking on Reddit is the proper use of privacy settings. Reddit has the ability to establish “friends” on the app, as well as block users that people no longer wish to be in contact with. This also helps with privacy concerns.

That’s not to say that if your child blocks someone that the other person won’t create a new account and try to contact them again, often catfishing them as another person so that your child doesn’t know their true identity. For this reason, it’s so important that we all use privacy settings to prevent even one bad person from getting into our inner circle.

Viruses (8 out of 10)

It’s very common for people to include links in posts or as a reply to a post. Many of those that I have seen, even in what should be a “safe” community such as a gardening community, use URL shorteners like TinyURL or Bitly to make long URLs less intimidating, but they can also be used to disguise where a link is going. My advice is that nobody should ever follow a link that they can’t say with 100% confidence where it’s going. That usually means trusting the source of who posted it. For more information on this, please read my previous article for Pediatric Safety.

The Bottom Line

Reddit can be a very helpful site. Of all the social media apps that I’ve used, I can say that I find Reddit to be the most useful when it comes to learning things from other people. It can let them engage with others to get different points of view and share knowledge. But that’s a double-edged sword. It also opens us up to the worst parts of social media. To help keep safe on Reddit, we and our kids need to do the following:

  1. Remind your kids to be very careful about what they do on Reddit – and any other apps as well. Have frequent and honest discussions with your children about their online actions. Let them know that it’s not because you don’t trust them, but because you can’t trust everyone else out there.
  2. As parents, it’s always a good idea to know what apps your children have installed onto their devices. As it’s pretty easy to hide them from being seen on the desktop, the best way is to try and download the app onto the device. If it allows you to download it, then it’s not already there. If it offers you the option to open the app, then it’s already there, even if you can’t find it on a list of apps on the device.

Overall, Reddit can be a good platform for people of all ages to use. Just keep in mind that although you’re less likely to encounter cyberbullying and several other issues, it has far more nudity/pornography than most parents want their children to see.

13 Ways to Help Our Kids Prepare for and Deal with Peer Pressure

The school bell has rung and the new school year is in full force. No matter where we live, or where our children go to school, all kids have something in common; they will be faced with peer pressure. As parents, there is much we can do to help our children prepare for, and deal with the pressure that will come from their peers.

1. Believe in our kids, they will believe in us.

Our kids need to know WE believe in them. We know they can make right choices and we know they are strong. Tell them. Point out their good choices and the consequences of right choices. Point out their strengths.

We as parents also need to make right choices. Are we being the best parents we can be? Our children should expect that we would protect them, and do what is best for them. Even if they grumble, or disagree, it is our job to stand our ground and do what is best, not be their BFF.

2. Communicate with our Children: The 3 B’s: (Be Available, Be Present, Be Patient)

As parents, we need to keep the lines of communication open with our children. Especially as they start into their teenage years. How can we do this? Start young, very young, and be available, present and patient.

First, we have to be available. It we are not available, how can our children/teenagers talk to us. We don’t have to announce that we are ready to talk, we have to naturally be there. Be there after school, turn the music off when driving in the car, eat a meal together, be awake when kids come home. Find something that your child likes to do and do it with them. It is the perfect time to not only allow our children to tell us what they are dealing with, but, it is a time for us to talk to them about the pressures that they might be feeling at school and with their friends. We have been there, we know what is going on. Sometimes our kids need us to bring things up because they don’t know how.

Once we have made time and are available, we need to be present. We need to stop thinking about all the other things we need to do, and really be in the conversations. Give our children our undivided attention.

Last, be patient and realize that communication happens over time. It is built on trust and experience. Always be available and present, and our children will start to open up.

3. Express Love

Knowing we are loved gives us confidence and strength. Even if a child does something wrong, NEVER withhold love as a consequence. Our children should know that our love is unconditional.

4. Be Confident Parents: We matter more than peers.

Naturally, children do not want to disappoint their parents, this can single handedly keep children from falling to peer pressure.

5. Role Play

This is a powerful way for us to prepare our children to fight against peer pressure. Be the forceful friend and “act out” different real life situation.

Ask hard questions….

  • “What if someone offers you drugs”?
  • “What if your friend asks you to steal something”?

Work through what your child could say. It will make it so much easier when it really happens. It is like a memory reflex and the answers will come to your child much easier. They won’t be caught off guard when it happens.

6. Talk about peer pressure.

Tell our children about peer pressure, explain what it feels like, why it happens, and when you have had it happen to you. Give them examples of times when you were faced with peer pressure and how you overcame it. Or, if appropriate, when you fell to peer pressure and the consequences for your decisions. There is strength in our children knowing we understand because we have been there. As parents when you see peer pressure happening, point it out. Our children can have a hard time seeing it.

7. Set rules…AND…Follow through

Set rules, for the every day, and if they fall to peer pressure (ex, drink the beer). Make the consequences VERY CLEAR, and…enforce the consequences. We can talk all we want, but if we don’t follow through, our children will know they can get away with breaking the rules. Make it clear to your children that just because “everyone was doing it”, doesn’t mean that it is okay.

8. Don’t let kids stay the night

Sleeping away from home makes it a lot easier for our children to fall to peer pressure. Why, because they don’t have to come home to their parents. There can be too much freedom away from home for an extended period of time.

9. Wait up for your child

Be awake when your kids come home. Teens will think twice about falling to peer pressure when they have to come home and face you. It is also a really good time for you to be present and talk with your kids about their night.

10 Encourage Opinions

It is okay for our children to have an opinion. In fact we want them to have opinions about what is right and wrong, and how they feel about sex, drugs and alcohol. Help them develop their opinions. Have conversations where you help your children think through the how’s and why’s. Teach them to be critical thinkers. It will give them confidence, and children with opinions are more likely to speak their minds, which is exactly what they need to do to stand up to peer pressure.

11. Teach Conflict Resolution

We deal with conflict our entire lives; at home, at work, at school. Standing up to peer pressure can bring conflict. Teaching our children conflict management skills will not only prepare them for peer pressure, but, prepare them for life. Home is a great place to practice dealing with conflict. As a parent, when there is a problem, we want to jump in and fix it. Don’t. Let children do all they can to work out a resolution on their own. You will be surprised to find that kids can, and will solve their own arguments and conflicts.

12. Teach our kids how to choose good friends.

Our children need to be taught social skills, and how to choose good friends, and be a good friend. Encourage them to choose friends with similar core values and beliefs. Teach them what friendship means, and how good friends treat each other. (A good friend doesn’t pressure you to do anything).

13. There will be mistakes, don’t make them public

When our children do fall to peer pressure, don’t make it public. Spreading the word about your child’s poor choices will not help them make better choices. It will just weaken your relationship. It will hurt the trust that you have tried to build and weaken your children’s resolve. Instead, teach them how to take responsibility for their choices. Help them reflect on what has happened and why.

We owe it to our children to prepare them for the peer pressure they will face. It will not only help them, but help our family relationships as well.

Have your children felt the pressure of their peers?

How do you handle good and bad choices your children make?

Do you ever have a hard time enforcing consequences?

Next Page »