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ALL IN THE FAMILY

Connecting with teens, friends

/ 05:14 AM December 10, 2020

Even if we don’t have a family business, I read your columns if they discuss family relationships,” says R. M. “I have two teenagers who keep on saying that they are stressed. I tell them that they are fortunate to have a good home and school, and that they should stop whining. I discussed your book ‘Growing Up Wired,’ and they like the stories by the students that you included, especially my son who is on the brink of being addicted to the net. I want to connect with my teenagers more. It’s not easy.”

My reply: In my books, including the latest one, “Raising Independent Learners: A Guide to Online and Offline Learning” (available on Lazada and Anvil Publishing), I included survey results and testimonies from students and parents (who are mentioned by name), to prove that with effective strategies, connecting with family and friends can be achieved.

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I am glad that your teens resonated with positive stories from students who use online resources well.

Many parents worry about communicating with their teenagers, and vice versa. In a 2016 UK survey, half of teens said they were anxious about disappointing their parents, while half of parents said their teens were exaggerating the effects of stress, and another 15 percent not believing their children.

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“Parents need to understand their teenager’s changing behavior,” says Janey Downshire, cofounder of UK’s Teenagers Translated, in the magazine “Psychologies.”

“Keep up to date with any research [such as] the teenage brain is vulnerable—due to plasticity—to addiction, and carve out time to have discussions [with them].”

Continue reading studies (including this column and my books), keep communication lines open, help your teenagers use social media well, provide unconditional love. Stay well.

Finding time for friends

“I am so busy running our family business that I don’t have time to see friends,” says A. C. “But what can I do? How can I make friends understand that I don’t have time for chitchat?”

My reply: I am guilty of the same thing. Prepandemic, my batchmates know I cannot attend reunions at night, since I have classes early the next day. However, I find time to chat with close friends, who thankfully take the effort to meet with me over Zoom.

I schedule chats and meetings with friends ahead of time, and no one is offended. Connecting with close friends is energizing and fun, so I make time for this.

Sometimes we don’t spend time with those who matter because we busy ourselves to please others, say at work.

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UK entrepreneur Shaa Wasmund suggests the 20-80 rule. Choose the top 20 percent of people who matter most to you and prioritize them. This does not mean that you should not interact with the rest, but recognize your priorities and act accordingly.

Separation anxiety

“I caught my husband having an affair, so he is out of our house,” says P. G. “My eldest son is working in our family business started by my father, and I am thankful that my husband is not part of it. My son supports me. But my Grade 9 daughter cries a lot, because she misses her father. There is no way I am allowing my ex back in the house. What can I do?”

My reply: Your daughter misses her father. Her love for him does not take away from her love for you, so do not feel threatened that she is “on his side,” and do not make her choose between the two of you.

Make clear the separation is not her fault, so she should not blame herself at all.

“A child is like a psychological sponge, soaking up the arguments, bitterness and bad feeling expressed by those around them,” says UK family lawyer Ayesha Vardag in “Psychologies.”

Even if difficult, do not badmouth your ex in front of your children. Tell them that your husband is human and has made mistakes, but that you want to be respected and secure, hence your decision.

However tempting, do not use your children as emotional leverage.

If problems persist, seek a family therapist Asap. God bless. INQ

Queena N. Lee-Chua is with the board of directors of Ateneo’s Family Business Center. Order her book “All in the Family Business” on Lazada and as an e-book on Amazon, Google Books and Apple Books. Contact the author at [email protected]

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