Children as Young as Nine Can Experience Peer Pressure

I was surprised one day when my daughter didn’t want to eat a vegetable she had always enjoyedpeer pressure before. The reason she no longer liked this vegetable was because one of her third grade classmates told her it was ‘yucky.’ My daughter at the vegetable after we pointed out that maybe her friend didn’t like it because it wasn’t cooked the same way we cooked it.

A University of Maryland-led study has found that the seeds of peer pressure are sewn when a child is about nine years old. At that time the child is still able to deal with peer pressure, but it doesn’t take long before the effects of peer pressure can be too difficult to deal with, especially when it means acceptance or rejection.

Peer pressure can be a form of bullying that leads to some form of injustice. Children usually want to be fair, but they also want to be liked. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your nine or ten-year old is just imagining things or that there might not be a problem if he or she is uncomfortable with something. A parent who makes it a point to communicate with the child will often recognize the effects of peer-pressure and can help the child realize that the vegetables might not have been cooked differently.

Peer Pressure Starts in Childhood, Not with Teens.


Picture Books and Eating

Elmo's hereYears ago I often saw two different but similar bumper stickers: ‘You Are What You Eat’ and ‘You Are What You Read.’

I’ve been working on a children’s picture book with vegetables as one part of the tale, that’s why this article in the Mercury News attracted me. As I read it, however, I thought of those two bumper stickers. So, for me that’s the theme of the article and the two bumper stickers come together.

You eat what your read.

You read what you eat.

Three books featuring food are discussed: “Yummy Yucky’ about foods that are yummy and foods that are not. Unfortunately, the yummy foods tend to be sugary. The second book is a Sesame Street book, ‘Ding Dong Elmo’s Here’ has the Sesame Street puppets looking at platesful of mostly fruits and vegetables. The third book, ‘The ABC’s of Fruits and Vegetables and Beyond’ is actually an alphabet where the author’s intention was to get children familiar with the vocabulary of healthy eating.

When my daughter was seven she was afraid to eat mushrooms and beans because a friend had convinced her that both of them were ‘dirty.’ It took us a little while to convince her that by the time we cooked them they weren’t dirty anymore. The point is, though, that children are influenced by what they are told about food and books have a part in that.

What will it be in kid books: cupcakes or carrots?

12 Cute Letters From Kids to Veterans

These are more than cute, these are special.

christmas letterI don’t know how our troops feel about letters like these, but when I was in the Army I saw only a handful of letters like these. They came in one envelope and it was the only time during my three years that I saw any letters from children back in the States. I was in Germany so maybe the guys in Viet Nam saw more of them, but probably not very many. The value put on being in the military back then wasn’t anywhere near as great as it is now.

The letters were passed around and most of the guys laughed at them, at the naiveté of the third graders, at their poor spelling and grammar. I thought that was a shame because some of the guys who were laughing were probably embarrassed because they couldn’t spell much better, perhaps not even as well. Of course we were all pretty young and naive ourselves and unable to really understand the curiosity and concern those children were expressing.

The letters didn’t impress us, didn’t touch our hearts. We saw them as just one of those class projects designed by well meaning teachers to kill for students who had no real understanding of what they were doing. We were asked to pick out a letter and respond so I quickly found one I liked (“Do you like football?”) and wrote a nice letter inviting another letter, but I never saw one. I sometimes wonder if the child ever saw it.

I hope the guys who see these letters are touched by them and ignore the spelling and take into account that these are children writing, children who probably do care about them.

12 Cute Letters From Kids to Soldiers.

Kids hooked on iPads: Technology addiction, or poor parenting?

child using iPadA four year old spending more time with an iPad than playing outside, a three year old playing games on an iPad while riding in the grocery cart, wonderful or not?

It used to be that parents were admonished for turning on the TV and plunking their kids down in front of it. The same goes for using any other form of technology to take the load off of parenting and ‘getting the kid out of your hair. Continue reading