Your children need you

Many parents are concerned about their children these days. Newspapers show dozens of kids sunk in drugs, of girls who abandon their newborn babies in a garbage can or of hearing your kids are having sex in times you were just starting to date. Obviously, you, as a parent, want to help your children to stay away from all these daily little disgraces. To this aim, we talked with a group of teenagers coming from different homes, social circles and levels of education. And I think we have an answer for you.

All the teenagers we interviewed —fortunately— told us exactly the same things. For a start, that they are aware that the world has gotten pretty insane lately and that evil things are happening around them, even to their closer friends. So, parents, you do not need to think dealing with these topics will be a big deal. Just approach to your kid and be frank. He already knows you are concerned about him.

The second thing was more important one, however. Teens agree that the solution to all these problems is not at school but in you. Fabiola told us: "For me, it's a pity to know that Claudia (a friend of her) is having sex with her boyfriend. I know they love each other and that they consider it normal; but, you know?, I know Claudia since we were eight. I know her parents work the whole day and that she's alone at home when she's not doing homework with me in my house. She feels lonely, and I'm sure that's why she's doing it. I have my mother all day at home, and, though I have a boyfriend, I don't feel the need to... you know... do it".

Take into account that Fabiola has just turned 17 years old.

A remarkable experience

George and Gloria had two children. As they grew up, they decided to be frank and open with them; which was a blessing in the long term.

George and Gloria talked their children about sex when they got into puberty, but it did not stop there. Sex became a topic which to joke about, to laugh about and to talk freely about. Reward? Full trust.

Gloria said, "I once caught my son masturbating in his bedroom. He was 14, he had a porn magazine in his left hand and his right hand holding his full erection... ha, ha, ha!". "What did you do?", I asked. "I just told him: 'I am a woman, too'. It was enough. He did get embarrassed at the moment, but later he apologised and I never saw another porn anything at home again. Sure he have masturbated again, but at least I never noticed again. If I had made an scandal, I am sure the story would have been very different".

A few years later, something similar happened. Her son came back home late so she asked, "Where have you been?". "The truth? In a hostel with my girlfriend". "Wow! What an answer, boy! So how was it?". "How was it!? Nothing happened, mum. Well, some things did happen, but we didn't do it at the end". "You didn't? Why not?" "I noticed she didn't love me as much as she said. She was just feeling lonely and thought that doing it with me, she'd feel better". "Oh, dear, I'm sorry to hear that". "Mum, please... I felt so used to day that I'm just want to go to bed. Sermons tomorrow, OK?" "OK, son... I just want you to know I'm proud to know you're a very good man. Go".

"Guess he smiled when he heard you say that".

"Yes he did".

"Any problem with drugs?"

"Lucky me, not... but they are young, so it may happen sooner or later. As a father, your job is to teach them what is right, what is wrong and how to deal with dangerous situations. Further than that, you can only trust. But I have learnt that it is very important for your kids to know —not to imagine or guess, to know— you trust them". That's the key.

Knowledge + Society + Relationships