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Donahue: Self-confidence is best defense for kids

April 4, 2013
By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer , Estherville Daily News

Want to give your kids the tools they need to stand on their own - and resist peer pressure toward bad behaviors?

Then build up their self-confidence.

That was the message youth pastor Mike Donahue had for parents at the Family Resource & Reading Fair Thursday night at Estherville Lincoln Central High School.

Article Photos

Motivational speaker Mike Donahue talked to parents in his presentation, “Walk a Mile in Someone Else’s Shoes”, during the Family Resource & Reading Fair Thursday night at Estherville Lincoln Central High School.
EDN photo by Michael Tidemann

Donahue noted two "governments" in our schools - the administrative government and the social government. And it's that social government - run by kids - that can often exert the greater pressure on kids to conform.

"That system in a school is a really strong system," Donahue said of peer pressure from kids who today are finding new ways to bully each other - one of the most insidious of which is texting.

"They're being harassed with words," Donahue said.

Every day, kids are "walking on a stage", said Donahue, and many elevate their presence by demeaning others.

It's the job of parents, though, to install an intrinsic value within their kids to resist peer pressure.

"You'd be surprised at how many kids don't know their true value," said Donahue, adding that in middle school and high school it's very difficult for kids to be an original.

"Copies don't like originals," Donahue said. "They like everybody to be like they are."

It isn't easy being a kid. Values kids learn at home will be challenged every time they walk down the hallway. But if kids stand their ground and know they're loved and know their true value, they'll be a lot better able to resist peer pressure, Donahue said.

And he turned away the moniker of being considered a counselor.

"I don't deal with people's heads. I want to deal with their hearts," Donahue said. "It's what people are feeling on the inside."

Bullies actually don't like themselves. It's only by bullying others that they're able to raise their own self-esteem, or "trying to get their value up", Donahue said.

"We've got to be building our kids up," Donahue said. "They're afraid to dream."



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