“But they just won’t listen!” How often do adults find themselves uttering this phrase? Parents can get extremely frustrated with pre-teens and adolescents who seem to tune everything out. At times, they may even think talking is not worth the time or effort. This assumption could not be further from the truth.
It is integral that parents discuss issues with their children on a frequent basis because kids ARE listening. Everything from safer sex talks to a chat about school can strengthen familial ties. A recently released article details a similar study and report release by Planned Parenthood and Teenwise, respectively, which analyze parent-child relationships and their impact on a child’s decision-making. Not surprisingly, both organizations point to the effectiveness of parent-child bonding and refer to this bond as a “super protector”. The importance of parents as role models is often understated, and whether a child lives in a nuclear family or is raised by a relative or legal guardian, those adults can make a huge difference in a teen’s life.
Children clearly benefit from parental interaction and value relationships with their role models. Involvement in a child’s life is undeniably beneficial and leads to positive consequences, but the opposite can also hold true. The article not only ties uninvolved parents to teen pregnancy, but also specifies eating disorders, violence, poor grades, and STIS as possible consequences. Most parents are keen on keeping children away from the above ills, but just as many parents feel that they are powerless to make an impact. Research proves otherwise.
The connection becomes glaringly clear as the article progresses. A survey found that 46% of adolescents point to parents as the most influential people in their lives when it comes to decisions related to sex. 20% listed friends as their number one influencers, but that 26 point gap speaks volumes. While kids might prefer to be with peers and shirk in embarrassment at their parents’ “lame” antics, they clearly look to these adults for advice, guidance, and support. Parental opinion is not only valued but taken to heart and applied.
During the teenage years, sex is foreign, confusing, and overwhelming. By creating an open, communicative environment, parents can facilitate conversations that might otherwise go unspoken. Many teens that delay intercourse or opt to use protection are heavily influenced by their parents. Openness is a key component of successful growth and maturation, and parents should not give up just yet. Keep talking, keep listening, and keep loving.
See the full article here: http://www.echopress.com/event/article/id/86954/group/Opinion/