An article in the newspaper related incidents pertaining to this subject: A 15 years old boy committed suicide because the parents locked the computer. He is a good student but he did spend quite abit of time with the internet games. Of course we are not here to blame the parents but we are here to find out a better understanding inside the teenage world in so that we can be effective parents who communicate clearly with our children.
First, maybe the computer games is a way out for him with the busy schedule and he felt justified by using his "free time" to play. But for parents who think that he could use those time to do better in school. The big question is: Are we govern by results or allowing results to govern us?
I am not advocating to "legalize" computer games in the house. What I am saying is, if they are not allow to play the computer games, what other activities beside studying that you would allow them or would interest them? Would you as parents will bring them for swimming or have a game of badminton with them? Or you are too busy with your work and have no time except time to scold them when they are caught in front of the computer.
In yonder days, we didn't have computers but our time were filled with other activities like going to the movies with friends, listening to music or go bowling etc. Looks boring to the youngsters today, but that's how we filled our time.
Then take a look at our kids today. What can we offer them? Are we willing to sacrifice time to be with them in the activities that interest them or we kept on giving excuses (valid ones, I'm sure) for not being there for them.
Teens need to be guided not blamed or scolded for their wrongs. I believe that they are sensible and moreover with the vast exposures to the media, they somehow grow up quicker than we thought that they are. How I wish that my boy will stay the same innocent 5 years old when he first step into school. But we can't expect them to stay there. They grow and so are we.
I believe that as parents, we need to be more alert with what's happening to their world. Don't be too quick to judge their choices but guide them to make the right one.
The one important element is the element of TRUST. We must learn to trust them and allow them to make mistakes and then hold their hands and guide them back to the right path.
Imagine this scenario: The parents are never pleased with the girl and whatever that her choices (clothes, books, music) and so often scolded her for her "taste". She should wear more decently and should read classic and listen to Hillsong all the time. But these are teenagers who also have friends outside. So with each scolding the relationship got more and more sour and after awhile there's only cold war and she does not want to share anymore.
To the teens, her parents just don't trust her and she will not go to the parents if she needs help. Instead she turns to her friends who'll always have the listening ears. Imagine the crowds that she mixes with behind your back because she could not share with you anymore.
Now imagine this one: The parents always share with her and listen to her choices. Though they may not agree but they just briefly bring out their unsettled feelings over certain issues, not outrightly oppose. But they continue to enjoy the fun and intimate relationship with one another.
One day, she has a problem with choices, she felt confident to share with her parents because before these whatever she shares, her parents seem to understand. And if the parents think that this is a bad choice and make it known to her gently, she may not like it but she will listen. Why?
All these are not hypothetical cases but real cases in life. Why is it so different between the two. Simple, because one cares enough to "BANK" into her life every moment when they are together. So when the time for "WITHDRAWAL", even rebuking and not agreeing with her, she can take it because in her "BANK ACCOUNT", there's lots of credit that her parents have made before this.
Ask yourself: Is it easier to talk to a teen that has a great relationship with you or one who always sulk and not talking to you? So before you can actually decide for them what is right or wrong, make sure you spend time listening to them, spend time shopping with them and listening to the kind of music and then state your preference. They will not be offended because they knew that you'd accepted them and they could accept yours as well.
So before you want to shout at that teen of yours, count ten and think, "Do I have any more credit in her/his bank account". :-)