Teenager Issues and What Parents Can Do

What is happening in our world when our children are behaving as if life can easily be snuffed for a measly amount? I know that we have become materialistic but is that we are teaching are children too? That they can easily sell any of their vital organs in exchange for the latest gadget? Or that they can take the life of another person simply because you want to play videos? Who do we blame in these cases, the parents, the government, the media, or society? Are we as parents so busy with work, with friends, with our constant shopping, and has no time for our children?

Work is important but not everything. Real friends will be there if you need them, they also have a life and you don’t need to constantly be together. Shopping is not only expensive but also time-consuming when what you get are frivolities and not essentials. Why not take the time to bond with your children and do some things together, instead do some online clothes shopping together? That will give you the time to get to know each other, specifically his or her likes.

I was horrified to hear that a 17-year old Chinese teenager, Xiao Zheng, sold his kidney so he could buy an iPad 2. He could not afford to buy it but then a broker contacted him online and offered to help Zheng sell his kidney for 20,000 yuan (about $3100 or 132,794 Philippine pesos).

On April 28 Zheng went to Chenzhou City in Hunan Province for the kidney removal surgery arranged by the broker. He was paid 22,000 yuan after his right kidney was taken out at the Chenzhou No. 198 Hospital. He was paid 22,000 yuan or 146,074 pesos after the surgery. When he came home with the iPad his mother questioned him where he got the money to buy the new gadget and was forced to admit he sold his kidney. Upon hearing this, the mother immediately informed the police. Unfortunately, they could no longer locate the broker and when the hospital was questioned regarding the surgery the police were informed that they had no knowledge of the surgery though they did admit having contracted the urology department to a business man. In fact, the hospital is not qualified to perform an organ transplant and because of this, Zheng has since had post-surgery issues.

That night, I immediately had a talk with my son. We have always had these kinds of talk since at 13 he has access to a lot of things online and I have been very particular with him about the need for privacy and security. I certainly pray I have impressed and inculcated my son not to be too materialistic…and though he also wants to have the latest he knows that it is not the priority in our family. But I only get to be with him for 12 hours and most of them are spent sleeping. So when I read things like this, several cases of suicide pacts between friends, killing to feed a video game habit, teen drug addiction, it breaks my heart.

My knowing these things is not enough for me. There is a great need to share and talk it out with my son and so far he gives me sensible answers to the numerous what-ifs I give him. Discussion starts with me giving him that what-if this thing or that thing happens to you, what would you do? This allows me to get his grasp of the situation, how he views things, what he values more, and what he will do in a situation. Then we will discuss the why’s in case he still has questions or needs clarifications. And the one thing that I try to impress on him is the importance of talking it out with me or anyone in the family no matter how trivial he may think it is. Or even if he thinks I may get mad because at the end of the day we lose more by not knowing the important issues and how important the issue is relative.

According to the welcome page of Talk to Them: The relationship between parent and child is one of the most rewarding and challenging parts of life. We all want to have healthy, happy children, but sometimes it can be difficult to know how to help our children be healthy, happy teens. Often, parents think that when it comes to their child’s decisions about relationships, alcohol and other drug use, their opinions don’t matter. Luckily, that’s not the case! By talking with your child, you can influence your teen to make good decisions and avoid risky behavior that can short-change his or her future.

Talk to Them is one website where a parent can get a lot of help and tips how to make it easier to talk to your children. Talking with them need not be a production, it can be brief but an ongoing conversation….let me reiterate, a conversation and not dictation, a recurring dialogue between parent and child that will build a close and lasting relationship. Our teens want us to talk with them and listen. Let us not talk to them only when they have done something horrible. It gives them the idea that we will only take notice when they do bad things. I am not saying this because I don’t make mistakes. I am not perfect but in fairness I am constantly trying to be a better parent – a single one at that.

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