Putting younger children in a class of older ones would start off alright (study-wise), because you would pay attention to more perceptible challenges ……. but the problem begins when younger children hit middle school. They are mentally not ready to withstand peer pressure.
As the years roll in, keeping up with studies will, and should be (if you care for the “whole” child), the least of your concerns. “Least”, that means, you are still concerned, but there are “more” important concerns. Well, your child’s ‘nutrition’, for one. Too many tweens and teens are overly concerned about what they are eating.
No one has talked ‘nutrition’ or ‘exercise’ to them, but they know ‘carbs’ and avoid it like the plague. Never talk ‘fat’, ‘weight’ to children. Then there is ‘self-esteem’. So many children are being batted down at school by teachers, peers and even ‘friends’. Such children sometimes become ‘self-mutilators’ just so their parents give them a look over. Every happy balanced child is super-capable of keeling over.
COMMUNICATE. Self-esteem is built with truthful praise ——- find the opportunities. Allow children to make small decisions by themselves. Be kind and supportive when they deal with consequences. Encourage ideas and opinions ——- they often are fresh and work surprisingly well. And, finally, don’t be afraid to set rules and boundaries. to the child it means ——– YOU CARE.
“Peer pressure” was and is part of school life. Your clock is ticking when your 10-12-year-old starts mentioning his “group” or “gang”, and the same names keep popping up. Every counsellor will tell you to prep children in advance. Discuss imagined scenarios, so that when the situation arises, they will recognise it.
Here is so much to be learned from a group, but often in a “clique”, there is only “one leader” who directs the functioning, opinions and attitudes of the entire group. That’s why this is so “skewed” and “dangerous”. Challenge your children to think things through, weigh them before accepting them.
Tweens and teens were given a form to be filled out on “Challenges” and “What can help”. It was heart-wrenching to read “PEER PRESURE” in ALL their forms, irrespective of age, gender and social standing. But sadder, was the second answer ——– NOTHING.
Peer Pressure, looks, attitudes that don’t fit in — older children have it tough. One word : COMMUNICATE.
—– Christobelle Joseph