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Spring Hill Hosts Parental Presentation

Michelle Kriebel gives strategies on dealing with peer pressure.

Parents listen to presenter and educator Michelle Kriebel at Spring Hill Elementary School Thursday, Feb. 21. Kriebel spoke to parents from Spring Hill and Churchill Road Elementaries about parenting issues.

Parents listen to presenter and educator Michelle Kriebel at Spring Hill Elementary School Thursday, Feb. 21. Kriebel spoke to parents from Spring Hill and Churchill Road Elementaries about parenting issues. Photo by Alex McVeigh.

— Parents from Spring Hill and Churchill Road Elementary School got a few lessons in parenting Tuesday, Feb. 21, at Spring Hill Elementary School. Educator and presenter Michelle Kriebel spoke to more than 40 parents about strategies parents can take to set boundaries for their young children and deal with external factors such as peer pressure.

She started the presentation by asking parents to think back to times when they were affected by peer pressure. The phrase "everyone else is doing it" is something parents hear a lot, she said.

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Michelle Kriebel, a presenter and educator, speaks at Spring Hill Elementary School Thursday, Feb. 21 about parenting issues.

"There's a tendency for children to believe in generalization, the term ‘everyone’ can drive us adults crazy, but it's very real to them," Kriebel said.

She was also careful to point out that peer pressure sometimes "gets a bad rap," meaning it isn't always a negative thing, giving an example of her son, who wanted to start wearing a necktie, to emulate his father.

Kriebel also stressed the importance of parents using the word "no."

"If you haven't said 'no' to your child lately, you're not being much of a parent," she said. "Because if you're not modeling a way to say no to your children, it's going to be very hard for them to say that to their peers later in life."

Kriebel said that it might be easy to say no when it comes to matters of safety, but parents must look to expand their scope.

"The idea of saying 'no' is easy when it comes to telling them not to cross a busy street alone," she said. "But when it's not related to something that's a safety threat, it gets harder. It's a gray area, but it's important to remember who the parent is."

Parent Kathie Schoff said that Kriebel’s talk emphasized principals of parents that she felt it was important to keep in mind.

"I think she did a great job going into detail about how we as parents have to continually model behavior for our children," she said. "These are things that we have in our heads, but it’s always important to keep them at the forefront."

The Safe Community Coalition, a nonprofit that provides resources and programs for parents and youth, particularly in the Langley, McLean and Thomas Jefferson school pyramids, provided a grant which allowed Kriebel to appear.

"Michelle Kriebel is someone who is getting a lot of notice and has a lot of success in speaking to parents," said Nyka Feldman, SCC executive director. "Were hoping to do more programs like this in the future, in order to reach broader audiences."