Being a responsible parent isn’t easy
June 14, 2012 3:02PM
Updated: July 16, 2012 6:05AM
Dr. Wallace: I am the mother of an honor roll, well-mannered, never-been-in-trouble, great kid. We both enjoy reading and discussing your column at the breakfast table. Not too long ago you ran a letter about a teenage boy whose friends smoke pot, but he did not. He said he knew he would never try it, but his parents wanted him to steer clear of these friends.
Well, I am in the same situation with my teenager. I don’t think I can get him to understand that peer pressure is enormous and there is guilt by association. What advice do you have for him and for me as a parent?
Parent, USA: I receive many letters and emails from teens who complain that parents want them to abandon friends who have undesirable or illegal habits. I agree with you that peer pressure is difficult to overcome and in time, the majority of “honor roll, well-mannered, never-been-in-trouble, great kids” will join all of their friends’ activities.
That is why I encourage parents in your position to encourage their teens to find friends who share moral standards.
Dealing effectively with the teen’s disagreement will be a difficult, but necessary task. The parent who sees the child in harm’s way but does little or nothing to protect this child, is guilty of gross negligence. This parent needs to learn the responsibility of being an effective, loving mother or father.
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