TEENAGE PROBLEMSExplaining about sex to the teenagers is a major problem for all parents. Besides, there are several other problems that also need their attention. Parents must help their children understand. and address these problems at the same time.

Friendships amongst the same sex, with the opposite sex, bringing friends home, going to movies and on outings, dating, staying out late and similar issues are a matter of concern for all parents. These issues also include the child’s wardrobe, the kind of clothes one should or should not wear, accessories to be used with the clothes, the need for a mobile and a personal vehicle or using the family vehicle and even sharing a vehicle that need to be addressed.

At home, important issues include the need for personal hygiene and cleanliness, doing one’s laundry, keeping the room clean and tidy, maintaining one’s clothes and other possessions, etc. Also important is the need to help at home, in the kitchen, when guests visit or in supporting the parents with chores to make their work lighter. The use of the family telephone and keeping the bathroom clean is also an issue of concern.

Attitude towards spending money is a sensitive issue because with a larger social interaction, one desires more money, but the parents might not be in a position to oblige for several reasons. Finding part-time work to supplement the pocket money should be encouraged because it helps teach the necessity to work. The youngsters are better able to understand the relation between work and money.

It is not easy to recommend standard methods and procedures that parents can use to help address many of the problems or issues, which have been pointed out. Parents who have been able to establish good communication channels with the children at an early age find it easier to continue effective communication to address the issues together.

To make things easier for both the parents and the children, families that communicate we” amongst themselves evolve a code of conduct, which must be honoured by everyone. While there will have to be some flexibility in such a code, the basic value system adopted must be common for everyone

Parents are always concerned about the friendships their children develop. The best rule is to develop friendships amongst friends who have a similar background. In addition, parents should encourage the children to bring their friends home so that several people can screen them in a homely atmosphere without anyone taking offence.

Children must inform the parents where they are going, with whom, for what and when would they return home. If they will be late, who will escort them? In the event of any delay, the parents must be informed.

Some families also insist that the parents must know when a child brings a friend home for a meal. They must also know when the child goes to a friend’s home for a meal. These are simple matters which may help to sort out the problems.

A youngster should never offer to host a party at home without the permission of the parents, who must know who have been invited, for how long the party would last, and what would be role of the parents. There should be no smoking or drinking in the home. The music and the games the children play must be in harmony with the established norms and values that are acceptable to the parents.

The use of the telephone, mobile and the family vehicle. could be a cause of concern for the parents. These are for everyone to use within limits, and not to be monopolized by anyone person in the family. There is no harm in explaining this to one’s friends.

As regards spending money, it is in the interests of both the parents and the children that one lives within one’s personal limitations. When children want to spend more, they must economise in current household expenses or earn through part-time work.

With every person being unique, one cannot exactly foresee the kind of problems that might emerge, as the children grow up. The best thing that parents can do is to be patient and tactful and ensure that the channels of communication are always open. Parents who enjoy the confidence of their children are better able to guide and help them.