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3 Ways to Prepare Your Child to be Around Older Children

by Joe Lawrence | June 1st, 2016 | Elementary, Social

Children-of-different-agesOne of the challenges we will face as parents is the integration of our children into older crowds. As they go off to elementary school, they are primarily with their peers but still have many interactions with older kids from other grades. As parents this can create some challenges and force us to have some tough talks.

I am sad that we are not able to take more advantage of the large family I come from. My four siblings all have children, and they are all of various ages. I would love for my kids to have more time around them, but we are 12 hours away from them. It is important for our children to be exposed to older kids because there are things they are more accepting to learn from them. Parents can preach something 100 times, but the older and “cooler” kid down the street says it once and it is now doctrine. Also, older kids often give our children a more relatable role model.

The bad part about older kids is that our children DO listen to what they say and DO want to be like them. If they are not positive influences, it can really be hard to overcome. At least with family members, we know their general character and can smack them around a bit if they are being bad examples. This is not something we have much control over when our children leave our homes all day in the schoolhouse. However, we can equip them with some tools.

First of all, how do we keep them from listening to what the older kids are saying? We have had many discussions with our daughter about always telling the truth. If she tells us something that happened, she will not be in trouble. If there are needed consequences to any actions, they will be minimal because we value honesty. She also knows and understands many other values we have and this is step one. When our kids understand and live certain values, they know when something does not feel right. Essentially, she can filter a lot of what is being said by others on her own. By creating an environment where she can share anything without retribution allows her to get the rest on the table for us to discuss.

No secrets. This is a very strict rule in our home. We are allowed to have surprises but still need to share them with either mom or dad. Some older children know they can get into trouble for saying or doing certain things and will try to get a promise of secrecy. We tell our daughter to say she doesn’t keep secrets, and if she feels threatened, to remove herself from the situation all together.

Lastly, we want her to know to live the Golden Rule. If she does this and understands others should respect her too, she will hopefully be able to spot and avoid those who do not respect her.

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