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Juanita112
Juanita112 asks:
Q:

Why is my son trying to be accepted by "this" group of peers in school? Why is he making poor choices?

My son is a six grader, he's an A & B student, I know he is going through peer pressure and we already encountered the first incident where students (girls) offered him alcohol in school grounds.  My son and 2 other girls got outdoor suspension. He is in gifted classes and he is a very mature child but I noticed he is trying to fit in a group of older "average" kids that I know are not a good influence.  I monitor his grades, I talk to him about issues tenagers face including drugs, sex and alcohol, I always remind him to stand up for his values and say NO to these things, but last week a girl (6th grader) put a water bottle containing alcohol in his mouse and asked him to drink, he should have said NO but he didn't and now we are facing this situation and I'm afraid this will happen again. My husband and I have talked to him many times about how to handle this kind of issues but obviously he was not ready.  Will changing school help us? More than anything I think he is making poor choices selecting his friends. Please help!
In Topics: Parenting / Our Family, Friendships and peer relationships, Teen alcohol and substance abuse
> 60 days ago

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Expert

AnnieFox
Nov 26, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

We all want our kids to have "good" friends - meaning "friends they can count on" AND "friends who make good choices." You have consistently talked to your son about your values. That's excellent because you and your husband still have strong influence on him at this age. And you want your voice inside his head when you aren't around.

But as a 6th grader his peers are also becoming a strong influence. It's understandable that he's flattered to be accepted by older kids. Everything in our culture tells your son that older teens are cooler than 6th graders. To your son's way of thinking it makes sense to go along with what they do (including drinking alcohol, etc.) because he figures:  "Those kids are cool. If they accept me, that makes me cool too! To prove that I'm cool, I'll do what they do."

If your son had at least one friend who consistently makes healthy choices, that could counter-balance the influence of these other kids. Are there no other 6th graders in his gifted classes who come from families that share you values? Think about it. Talk with the teachers and tell them what's going on. Ask them to see what they can do to "pair up" your son with another boy who will be a good influence. Get to know parents in this gifted program. Plan a get together with parents and kids so that you can strengthen positive social bonds.
After school and outside of school activities are also opportunities for your son to make "good" friends.

I hope this helps.
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Additional Answers (3)

fritzr
fritzr writes:
I don't think changing schools is the solution yet.  All we can do as parents is try our best to prepare our children for the little trials and tests that life throws at us.  Right now 6th grade girls are pretty interesting to your son and he is going to do things you don't approve in order to fit in.  I remember being young and looking up to older kids and wanting to fit in.  Years later I realized what losers so many of them were.  Show your son that you care about the decisions he makes.  Use tough love where necessary.  But also show him that you trust him enough to make decisions for himself.  You can't be with him 24/7 so the best you can do is arm him with common sense.
> 60 days ago

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advisor
advisor writes:
I have a 9th grader. He has always been more of follower and not a leader. He is more about being accepted then passing the grade. That tells me that he is going to follow the wrong crowd. I see with you child that he will eventually walk away from the bad crowd because he is one who wants to do well. He has to experience things to prove to himself what decision his final decision will be.
Have you ever thought about homeschooling your son? I homeschool mine and it has matured him in many ways. They can work at their own level and as fast as he wants or as slow as he needs to. Teens have been known to graduate two yrs. ealrlier then what they are suppose to. It allows them to start college early and still look at life how school effects their life. I encourage you why your son has good grades to homeschool him and he will see that he does not need to prove anything to others, but just to himself.
> 60 days ago

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GAbo
GAbo writes:
Juanita, I don't have answer for you, I have the same problem with my 12 years old son. My english is very poor, so, if you speak spanish, I would like to contact you. One thing: I already change school, but that's no work, the school is not the problem. Good luck, and keep trying.
> 60 days ago

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