DEAR HARRIETTE: I need some help addressing the topic of peer pressure. I'm a single mom, and I toil to raise my child to be grounded and to love the Lord. At my daughter's school, a classmate asked her to smoke a cigarette, and my daughter refused. She then went to tell her teacher. Over dinner, my daughter told me what happened, and I was proud that she said no.
My daughter is 13 years old, and she is a good girl. I know I will not be able to see her every move when I'm not around, but I want to make sure she does not succumb to peer pressure. -- Concerned Mom, St. Louis
DEAR CONCERNED MOM: You are on the right track, and your daughter just put an exclamation mark on it!
Your job is to give your child the tools to make good decisions when you aren't around, by thinking through any situation and considering the pros and cons. This doesn't mean that she will always make the same decisions you would make.
At this stage in her life, she should have a fairly clear view of how she would respond in different situations, based on all that she has been taught and has experienced. But you still have time to correct her course, if needed. Continue to present to her a variety of challenges that she may encounter, and ask how she might respond. This type of exercise is most helpful if you can actively listen rather than simply tell her what to do. You want to learn how she thinks. Remind her that just because others make different choices doesn't mean that she needs to follow them.
I teach my daughter, who is 8, that every family has its rules and ways of living. We don't need to evaluate or judge their rules. Our role is to follow our own guidelines because they empower us.
Continue to empower your daughter. You are doing a great job!
DEAR HARRIETTE: I'm a manager with a financial company, and I need some help encouraging my team. We just finished our busiest time of the year, and our department did not reach the sales goals that were set for us. My team members are now showing a lack of interest in coming to work, and I need to find a way to lift their spirits. I have a great team, and we work in the most challenging department of the company. I need help. -- Frustrated Manager, Jersey City, N.J.
DEAR FRUSTRATED MANAGER: Especially in a down period, it is important for leaders to find ways to show their teams their potential. Do the analysis and let your team know that success is around the corner. Remind team members that the opportunity is before them to make record sales. Encourage them constantly. Create activities that show you care about them and provide incentives, if you can, to make success more appealing.