In a comment on my previous post, my sister-in-law introduced me to Vicki Hoefle. In trying to figure out how to add a video link to the comment—I couldn't; it appears to be exclusively on Facebook—I came upon an essay on Vicki's website that also addresses the issue of immunizing our children against the risky behaviors that are all-too common among peer-socialized teens. She doesn't used the term, "peer-socialized," but there's a lot here that reminds me of Gordon Neufeld's Hold On to Your Kids.
The bottom line? It's all about a child's connection as a contributing member of his family and immediate community. Here are a few excerpts from "Teen Fads: Parents are talking about all the wrong things."
The public response to these fads is usually to call the teenagers “stupid”, assume their own child would “never do something so absolutely idiotic” and then blame the fad on social media or their friends, the media, the college, or the companies who sell the products. Because who in their right mind would actually do something so risky and downright dumb?
Answer: They’re not dumb. They’re not from bad families. They’re average kids who are seeking connection and purpose. These kids are desperately looking for a place to belong. They want to be noticed not simply for attention, but for a bond to others that will satisfy their needs for a social network where they feel valued.
The first opportunity for your children to develop a social network is at home. Your family and immediate community is the first social network in your child’s life and if they don’t feel connected as a contributing member, they’ll search for their social network elsewhere.
- What are you doing as a parent to ensure your child feels connected, capable and like a contributing member of your family?
- How are you interacting with your child to enforce the idea they belong, they are important and they are accepted – exactly as they are today?
- How are you supporting the development of essential skill sets so they feel competent and comfortable contributing to the success of their family?
- How are you ensuring they feel valued, listened to and appreciated for their perspectives, opinions, and preferences?
There's more of value in the essay, but I'm pushing the boundaries of fair use with what I've quoted here. (It's a short essay.)