Parents often just throw their hands up in the air and relinquish all the power to their children’s peers. Yes, peers have a huge amount of influence but if parents have that whole leadership role figured out, peers become much less important.
I didn’t realize it at the time but my Mom had that figured out yet I have no memory of her ever telling me what to do or criticizing me. She used statements such as, “I always know you’ll make the right decision Sweetie”. Such statements gave me confidence and also guilt if I didn’t do the right thing … brilliant.
My style was very diffeent with my kids, yet it was the same idea. Build them up so they’ll do what’s right. My son used to say that whenever he’d consider doing the wrong thing my voice was in the back of his head saying, “You could never disappoint me Sweetie”. That voice in his head was what enabled me to sleep at night when he was out partying.
It has a whiff of that good old fashioned Jewish Mother’s Guilt with a lot of confidence and self-esteem building thrown into the mix.
Peers don’t have anything like that going for them. They have social power, but that can’t make kids do drugs or anything else that just doesn’t feel right. The difference is that they don’t respect peers. They may want to be like them, be afraid of them, need them … but they aren’t their yardstick for their self-esteem. You are, and that’s where your power comes from.
Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach