Parents taught lesson
Straight talk on peer pressure

by Jennifer Pritchett
Northern News Services

NNSL (Feb 28/97) - "If you can overcome peer pressure, you may not have to worry about your son or daughter," says Const. Pat Aultman.

The RCMP school liaison officer made that comment during a recent parent meeting about peer pressure at St. Pat's high school.

He was one of several presenters who discussed ways peer pressure affects a student's daily life.

Parents can often contribute to peer pressure, linking direct family situations to life outside the home, said Aultman.

"We've all dealt with it when we've put peer pressure on kids to do something," he said. "What we're doing is forcing them away from us and that's bad peer pressure."

Pressure to succeed in school is a common way parents contribute to the problem.

However, good communication between parents and their children is an important tool that can provide support and alleviate some of the pressure.

"Don't get angry when kids say no -- try and explain to them how you feel," Aultman said. "They often don't have the experience to make the right choice. If they question you, answer their questions. They want to know what you think."

He emphasized the role of parents and their impact on their children's lives.

"Believe it or not, you were their first heros. You were the first ones they looked up to," said Aultman.

"You're the role model, so don't give conflicting messages -- lead by example."