Gordon Neufeld in his book ' Hold onto your kids' warns us about losing our kids to their peers.
Kids today are very peer orientated and no longer to seek the guidance and acceptance of their parents. They rely more on their peers and their behaviors revolve around being accepted by the group rather than developing their own personalities and integrating family values in their lives. Neufeld encourages parents to avoid the use of rewards, punishments and consequences because they undermine the foundations of a trusting relationship between parent and child.
Gordon Neufeld is not alone in his views on negative peer influences. Robert Epstein wants to ' abolish adolescence ' and teen culture. Put teens together, they act worse than preteens. Let them mix with people of different generations, they then show incredible ability and responsibility.
I agree with Gordon Neufeld that we must ' hold onto your kids ' by putting the relationship first , but this is not enough to counter negative peer culture.
Today , friends are so important and influence the type of kid Jonny will be.
The reason is - kids mirror themselves on their friends, they measure themselves against their friends , who they are is seen in terms of friends.
We have to find good friends for our kids. Even better is to find friends from different generations – an older brother or sister, buddy-tutors, young adults or even older people. This type of mentoring relationship has the ability to promote so many cognitive skills, values and a trusting relationship. Kids can find these friendships at different clubs and organizations such as charities and sport – mountaineering , hiking etc .
There is often a lot of emotional baggage surrounding the parent-child relationship so kids will actually hear what the mentor says and not the parent even they both are saying the same thing.
If we want to hold onto our kids we need to adopt a ' mentoring relationship' with our kids. AP – attachment-relationship parenting books often tell us the 'why ' but not the how or the how is pretty vague.
We need CPS – the collaborative problem solving model to deal with unmet expectations in a way that promotes relationship and skills.
We need a GPR – guided participation relationship so that kids are in an informal learning/ parallel learning relationship with us. We can transcend the day to day commands or instructions we give kids and use them as a window of opportunity to help learn and engage the world .
We need to listen more , let kids speak – we use dialog questions to direct the conversation.