It does not take very long after a child arrives at Bethel for them to experience peer pressure from the other children, but not in the way you might assume! As our kids begin to feel better about themselves in different areas of their lives, they see that our programs really do work and they then encourage those around them.
This positive peer pressure tends to come from the older kids, and they naturally become leaders to the younger children. Our house parents, social workers and the teachers at our on-campus school, Bethel Christian Academy, strive to show the kids how to be good role models in both their actions and words. “We show them how to speak respectfully to each other,” says BCA teacher, Jennifer Major. As the older kids set this good example, there becomes a consistent pattern of positivepeer pressure.
One way Bethel Christian Academy fosters this is through “Restorative Circles.” Restorative circles are meant to be a respectful and solution-focused way for the kids to express their concerns to each other. Robin Moss, Director of Therapeutic Programs, says that “they learn to work it out without resorting to negative behavior.” By the kids working through their problems in the restorative circle, they hold each other accountable for their actions in a healthy manner.
Many of the kids who come to Bethel do not realize that they have the potential to succeed in amazing ways. Over time, as they see the benefit that Bethel can have on their lives, their mindset and work ethic begin to change for the better. They are motived to work harder and strive to do their best when they see their peers doing the same. The encouragement that comes from positive peer pressure is one of the main reasons that the kids at Bethel are able to overcome adversity and prosper!