Balance is key in raising teens

PETALING JAYA: Parents of teenagers have to balance the need between giving their growing children more independence and still giving them enough tender, loving care, says Focus on the Family Malaysia curriculum manager Joshua Liong.

Liong said it was important for parents to recognise that their children were growing into adults.

“We cannot treat them like kids anymore, as the more we treat them like kids, the more they are going to rebel.

“So we need to give them greater independence but at the same time, still give them unconditional love and tender, loving care,” he said, adding that this was where many parents think that they are “at the losing end”.

Speaking at yesterday’s StarLIVE talk on “Parent-Teen Relationships: Bridging the Gaps”, he said understanding was the key ingredient to a successful parent–teenager relationship.

He said teenagers were going through a phase of critical growth.

“It is an exercise of bridging the gap between the parents and the teenagers.

“The key words for this are understanding and communication,” he said.

He said surveys have shown that most teenagers actually think highly of their parents and enjoy the time they spent with them.

“They want to establish autonomy in their life but that doesn’t mean that they no longer need their parents,” he said.

He added that it was important then for parents to be good listeners and good role models.

A lighthearted moment during the talk was when Liong thanked the teenagers who were accompanying their parents.

“To the teenagers, I want to congratulate you on your courage to be seen with your parents in public,” he said.

Lily Lin, 50, was glad to have attended the talk.

“It was beneficial. He has affirmed what I believed in regards to family matters,” said the housewife, who added that she wished she had brought her teenage son along.

For IT executive Afif Kamal, not being a teenager nor a parent was no barrier for him to have learnt from the talk.

“I want to learn how I can improve myself and how I can give back to my family,” said the 26-year-old, adding that his parents were unable to attend as they were on holiday abroad.

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