When Your Child is in with the “Wrong Crowd”!


As children grow up, they want to experience things on their own, they tend to take a step away from their families and parents and lean on their peers. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. If children are friends with encouraging and positive peers, this transition from family to friends is easier for parents. However, if the child’s peers are up to negative behaviour and considered the “wrong crowd”, parents have worries about the welfare and well-being and success of their child and their future. Parents are scared of what their children may do when succumbed to the pressures of their peers. (Brown, Mounts, Lamborn, & Steinberg, 1993)

There are potential warning signs in which parents can tell if their child is hanging out with the “wrong crowd.” There are several aspects in which you can tell your child is being negatively influenced: on a social level, academic and school level and physical appearance. (Warning Signs Your Teen is in a Negative Peer Group, 2011) Firstly on a social level, children may stop hanging out with normal friends and begin into fraternize with peers that are unfamiliar to parents. Children may also begin to be withdrawn from once ordinary family life, and spend a lot of time alone in their room. Secondly, on a school level, parents may be contacted by their child’s teacher, due to a difference in their child’s classroom behaviour, academic school performance, and possible change in peer groups. Thirdly, a big indicator of when a child is hanging with the “wrong crowd” is physical appearance. Parents may notice their child is not only acting differently – such as rude language or unordinary behaviour – but also looking different. Children may change clothing, hair, makeup and many other areas of their physical appearance to be accepted into their new peer group. (Warning Signs Your Teen is in a Negative Peer Group, 2011)

Now that we have discussed the warning signs of a child potentially hanging out with negative peer groups, we will now go over ways how to keep your children away from these negative influencers. Although, it may seem easier to parents to snoop around their child’s room or personal journal about any experiences with a new peer group – that is anything but the right choice for parents to make. Parents should first off, talk to their children, make sure that they know that they are there for them in any circumstances. Take your child on a dinner date, or to get ice cream and just talk to them. Don’t bluntly open with, “So have you been doing anything you know you shouldn’t, with your new friends?” Don’t open with that at all. Ask about how school is going, the good the bad. Ask if they are looking forward to anything with in the next few weeks. Talk about familiar friends and how their lives are going. Ask if they are making any friends. The key here is to get information subtly from your child, to not scare off your child closer to the negative influencers. If possible, encourage your child to bring new friends over to your family house for dinner or just to hangout. Even if your child is hanging out with these negative influences, it is better it be under your supervision, then out somewhere else. (Fitzgerald, 2013) If your child has become an entirely different person, complete with a 360 in personality and behaviour; it is important to establish ground rules for your child. Make sure you set specific rules to encourage positive behaviour or discourage any unwanted, negative behaviour. (Fitzgerald, 2013) It is important for parents to monitor their children’s behaviour, at home, extra curricular activities – for school, as the teacher to update you on your child and their behaviours. Above all, let your child know that you love them and trust them and you believe they will make the best decisions in difficult circumstances.

It is crucial that once parents see the potential warning signs of their child being put under negative influences; that they take the necessary steps to protect and encourage their child, so that they make the right decision when it comes to peer groups.


Brown, B. B., Mounts, N., Lamborn, S. D., & Steinberg, L. (1993). Parenting practices and peer group affiliation in adolescence. Child Development, 64(2), 467-482. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/618318773?accountid=14391

Fitzgerald, C. (2013, January 12). How to Lure Your Teenagers Away From the Wrong Crowd. Retrieved December 3, 2014, from http://www.livestrong.com/article/560077-how-to-lure-your-teenagers-away-from-the-wrong-crowd/

Warning Signs Your Teen Is in a Negative Peer Group. (2011). Retrieved December 4, 2014, from http://aspeneducation.crchealth.com/articles/article-peer-groups/

Cohabitation: The Pros and Cons, but mostly the Cons!

Disclaimer: In no way do I intend for this blog post to upset, diminish or hurt any individual’s beliefs of cohabitation. I believe people should be able to express themselves and their own beliefs without being penalized. I do not wish for this blog post to be taken the wrong way or for I to be taken the wrong way. These are MY views of cohabitation and I believe they are the right way for MYSELF to live; but for others my views may be wrong, and that is fine for them to believe, they should live how they feel THEY should. If you feel cohabitation is right for you, then by all means cohabitate; but these are my views of cohabitation and in no way are they to hate on other’s views.

Marriage was once seen as a sacred and important commitment; however, now it seems like more than ever, couples are resisting the pressures of marriage and moving in with one another without the marital strings attached. This non-marital commitment is known to many as a “trial marriage” or cohabiting.  It has become a regular occurrence for couples to cohabitate, before marriage or in some cases instead of marriage! In the United States alone, cohabiting has increased more than 1500% within the last 50 years. (Jay, 2012) Cohabitation is a widely known topic of controversy among many individuals young and old. For the sake of this blog, I will be briefly discussing the overall benefits of cohabitation in the eye’s of a cohabitator. I will then, provide the drawbacks of cohabitation in the eye’s of christian beliefs and other’s who do not believe cohabitation is for them.

Of course, like most things, cohabitation has its benefits to those who partake in it. (Although, it is crucial to understand that these benefits may be temporary and short-term; opposed to long-term benefits that most cohabiting couples look for. But that is an issue for another day.) Living together before marriage can have its benefits; such as getting to know your partner on a deeper level. It provides an inside view of how your partner will act and behave in the privacy of their own home. (Battista, 2013) You can learn a lot about a person when living with them; their strengths, weaknesses, annoyances, and even their weird quirks. Cohabitation is not only a way to get to know your partner, but also as a help to those in financial need. Cohabiting means that there are two people in a household, which then means an additional financial income and more financial stability. (Battista, 2013)

Cohabitation sounds wonderful and all with the obvious benefits of gaining a better understanding of your partner – honestly who wouldn’t want to know what their partner does behind closed quarters?! – as well as the extra financial relief. However, cohabitation has numerous negative aspects that need to be brought to light. Negative outcomes of cohabitation such as an unsatisfied marriage and potential divorce are known as the cohabitation effect. (Woods & Emery, 2002) For some – myself included – religious beliefs play a huge role in the topic of cohabitation. Many believe that the christian views of cohabitation are seen as a big ‘no-no’ and that God will wreak unimaginable havoc on the lives of those who ‘live in sin’. Yes, the bible views a man and a women living together before marriage as a bad thing, but God only wants what is best for us, he knows what is best. Cohabitation is never specifically mentioned with in the bible, but there are loads upon loads of bible verses that regard areas of cohabitation – such as being sexually intimate with your partner before marriage – as sin. Some might not see sex before marriage as a horrendously bad thing; in fact I’m quite certain that many view it as an ordinary occurrence. (Which is completely fine for them to believe) However, my personal view is that God placed these verses strategically to help us to refrain from sin and help us against unnecessary heartbreak and heartache about sex before marriage. For some of those who are not religious, this might seem silly, but my beliefs are that God knew all the problems that intimately cohabiting could cause. The physical effects of possible STI’s or unwanted pregnancy could happen; the emotional effects of guilt, worry, and heartache because the relationship didn’t work out could also potentially occur due to cohabitation. These are some of the many reasons why God wants us to wait to be intimate and to not live together until the marriage vows are said. Although this might seem absurd, to those of you who don’t believe in God, there is plenty of research that suggests the negative aspects of cohabitation. The New York Times (2012) discusses that couples that cohabitate before marriage are actually less satisfied within their marriages and more likely to end up divorced from their cohabiting partner. They also found that those known as ‘serial cohabitaters’ – those who have cohabitated with more than one romantic partner – and cohabitating couples that have varying levels of commitment actually are at most risk for relationship quality that is poor and relationships that eventually end in dissolution. Research at Mcgill University also suggests how cohabitation in itself is unstable and that it causes more risk of relationship dissolution among those who take part in it. (Menard, 2011) Clearly, cohabitation has been researched enough to see the negative effects it has on relationships.

Whether you chose to cohabitate or your beliefs have given you a different frame of mind, take what you will from this post, it is clear to see the obvious positives of cohabitating. But nonetheless, in the eye’s of another their are always the cons. As I said previously, cohabitation is not for everyone, it depends on your views and situation. It is not anyone’s responsibility but their and their partner’s to understand and determine a decision whether or not cohabitation is a suitable choice for them.


Battista, M. (2013). Pros and Cons of Living Together before Marriage. Retrieved November 2, 2014, from http://datingwithdignity.com/2013/02/pros-and-cons-of-living-together-before-marriage/

Jay, M. (2012, April 14). The Downside of Cohabiting Before Marriage. Retrieved November 2, 2014, from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/opinion/sunday/the-downside-of-cohabiting-before-marriage.html?pagewanted=all

Ménard, F. P. (2011). What Makes It Fall Apart? The Determinants of the Dissolution of Marriages and Common-Law Unions in Canada. McGill Sociological Review, 2(4), 59-76.

Woods, L. N., & Emery, R. E. (2002). The Cohabitation Effect on Divorce: Causation or Selection?. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 37(3-4), 101-122.

Helping Immigrant Children Adjust

Preparatory Summer School for Immigrant Children and Youth

The New York Times’ “Calling All Refugee Kids

The New York Times released this video, along with a slide show [which can be accessed here]. This video explores “The Refugee Summer Academy” that allows immigrant children from South Asia and Africa, to learn about the modern culture of Manhattan, as well as schooling and education system. (Calling all Refugee Kids, 2012) This summer academy has been around for a whopping total of thirteen years, preparing immigrant children and youth for what to expect in ordinary school life; with academic class in the morning schedule and art classes in the afternoon. It is such a great way for those in need, to have access to understanding their new culture.

This short four minute clip, shows that with the help of the host-country immigrant children and youth can beneficially learn not only about their new culture, but also what the expectations and rules are for them once they begin school. (Calling all Refugee Kids, 2012) This video shows the extent to which immigrant children are exposed to the new culture and potentially why they adapt faster to their new cultural than do their parents – who might have less exposure to social situations such as this.


Calling All Refugee Kids . (2012). Manhattan, NY: The New York Times.


Immigrating: A New Culture for Parents and Children


Acculturation Differences in Immigrant Parents

Adjusting from one’s original practices and beliefs to an entirely new culture can be an unnerving and potentially frustrating process for immigrants. However, immigrating as an individual opposed to a family immigrating is a completely different story. As an individual immigrant, you really only have to worry about your own new cultural goals. Which could be your own employment, housing, food for yourself, as well as other aspects. On the other hand, as a family immigrating to a new culture, it is no longer just your own individual adjustment you need to worry about. Now, it is about how other family members adjust to their host-country. As a parent, you must do everything in your power to care and nourish child, with any means necessary. (Brooks, 2013) As an immigrant parent the acculturation of yourself and your child, might interfere with that desire to encourage and care for them in the best possible way; but nonetheless you must do what is best for your child.

One of the main reasons for moving to a new country is that parents want to give their child a better life. Parents do their best to provide for their children in their host country, but much of the time parents struggle with unemployment, underemployment and holding multiple positions. Although the parent is trying to help their children, the time searching for jobs, working many jobs or no job at all can actually hinder their children. (Tyyskä, 2008) Immigrant children may actually feel neglected by parents in situations like these. Parents can become frustrated with the lack of employment and tension may arise in the home. Children’s rapid adaption of the new culture may also lead to tensions in the home, as some immigrant parents might see this acculturation, as their child abandoning their original culture and believe it to be disrespectful towards them. (Direnfeld, 2013) Tensions can also occur when parents and children might begin to see language differences – as children adjust quicker due to being exposed to their new cultures’ values and behaviours in settings such as school or possibly a new friend’s house. (Fung and Lau, 2010)

Although immigrant parents have difficulties with adapting to the culture of their host-country, their children adjust much ore rapidly to the cultures norms, practices and beliefs. Immigrant children become so familiar so much faster than their parents do, that they actually become what is known as language brokers – which are children of immigrants who help heir family to understand the new language through translation and interpretation. (Morales, 2005) Language brokering for their parents and other individuals could potentially lead to a child who is proud and excited to help their family – especially when they cannot help themselves. Sometimes though children feel their immigrant parents or family members as a burden, because they are always translating everything and not being able to figure out for themselves; as well as not doing what the child wants to do. (Weisskirch, 2013; Tyyskä, 2008) However, Weisskirch (2013) found that young adults belonging to immigrant families and who practice language brokering, felt positive about helping their families and in turn had higher self-esteem and self-efficacy. Weisskirch expands by discussing how the act of language brokering is not a burden for these children; but more of a routinely aspect of what immigrant children do for their families and that it actually benefits the children by giving them a sense of purpose, capability and happiness.

Immigrant parents might have a difficult time adjusting to the new life that they chose for their family But if parents encourage their children and participate in new cultural practices and norms, tensions and issues within the immigrant family could potentially lessen. (Direnfeld, 2013) Although, both parent and children immigrants acculturate contrastingly and use their new culture differently; immigration is a great way for those families or parents in need to find a way in to a welcoming culture and a better future of their children.


Brooks, J. (2013) The Process of Parenting (9th ed.). Toronto, ON: McGraw-Hill.

Direnfeld, G. (2013, January 1). Issues for Immigrant Parents and their Children. Your social worker. Retrieved October 1, 2014, from http://www.yoursocialworker.com/p-articles/immigrant-family-adaptation.pdf

Fung, J. J., & Lau, A. S. (2010). Factors associated with Parent–Child (dis)agreement on Child behavior and Parenting problems in       Chinese Immigrant families. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 39(3). Retrieved October 1, 2014, from                       http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15374411003691693

Morales, A. (2005). Language Brokering: An Integrative Review Of The Literature. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 27(4). Retrieved October 1, 2014, from http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0739986305281333

Tyyskä, V. (2008). Parents and Teens in Immigrant families. Canada Metroplis. Retrieved October 1, 2014, from                                 http://canada.metropolis.net/pdfs/Pgs_can_diversity_parents_spring08_e.pdf

Weisskirch, R. S. (2013). Family Relationships, Self-esteem, and Self-efficacy Among Language Brokering Mexican American               Emerging Adults. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 22(8). Retrieved October 1, 2014, from http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10826-012-9678-x