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||IT TAKES TWO TO MAKE
I’m sorry to hear that you are having problems
with Sue Nee. Teenage years are times of stress
and storm. It’s the era of “The Tempest”
and we need to deal with it as a “Comedy of
Errors” in order not to go crazy. A little
humour goes a long, long way. Ha! Ha!
It is sad to note that the family fabric in some
homes is almost threadbare. Everyone blames it on
the generation gap. Bridging the gap needs two parties
to work together i.e. the parents and the children.
And it is not impossible if both are willing to
have a go at it.
Do you still remember ‘Sonnet 18’ taught
by Mrs Brohier, our favourite Literature teacher?
of Shakespeare’s romantic poems. He did not
write these poems to give to love ones on a specific
day. He’d probably spin in his grave if he
had known that people nowadays splurge lavishly
on their loved ones only on Valentine’s Day!
Well, Valentine’s Day has been greatly exploited
by companies. They hope to stir many a romantic’s
heart so that he will empty his pockets on gifts
and food for someone he adores. Such is the practice
of so-called modern people. Do we need to show love
and appreciation only on a particular day? I’m
sure you know the answer.
Love should be expressed throughout the year, especially
to our parents. We do not need to demarcate days
into Fathers’ Day or Mothers’ Day. After
all, they have toiled hard to bring us up. Say what
you may but they have also given much unconditional
love from the day we were born. So every day should
be Parents’ day, right?
There are so many ways to make parents happy. Of
course now and then you can take them out for a
special meal. However, there are several other ways
without making you any poorer. For example: helping
around the house like washing the car or cleaning
up the room; and the best gift of all is to obey
them for they probably have reasons why they impose
rules and regulations on us.
I remember what Esther told me about the answer
her father gave when she, as a child, asked him
what their religion was. Her father answered, “Listen
to what parents teach you.” Do you know why?
The word religion (kau in Cantonese) has a similar
sound as the word teach. I thought it is quite rational.
Parents would want their children to listen to them.
Coming back to the subject on bridging the gap,
here are some suggestions on what we as a parent
It takes two to bridge the gap. Now what can
the children do? They also have to be aware of
their roles and responsibilities as a member of
- Respect the children’s rights to their
own values and opinions which may be different
from yours. At the same time, state your values
clearly especially on matters regarding sex,
smoking, drugs, alcohol, money and religious
beliefs. You need to be firm in such areas but
there is no need to nag on and on. You know
we sometimes tend to go overboard.
- Take an interest in the children’s
activities without sounding like a kapochee
(nosy person)! Get to know whom their friends
are and ask your children to invite them to
- Listen actively to what your children say
and clarify what is meant.
- Find the right time to talk. Not after an
argument with the children. Pick a time when
they are calm and relaxed.
- Focus on their behaviour and not them. Be
specific in terms of issues and say how you
feel. Remember we learnt this at a counselling
course? We need to talk about our feelings using
“I” statements? Also explore their
feelings as well.
Very often, children especially teenagers complain
that we parents do not trust them enough or understand
them. They should be made known that we cannot
treat them like adults if they act like children.
- They must do their share of household chores.
Do not pamper them too much. This will equip
them with some life skills for the future.
- If they are given freedom to go out with
friends they should come home at the designated
time otherwise they should call to inform you
if they have to return later.
- Leaving a contact number and informing you
with whom they are going out will enable you
to reach them in case of emergencies.
- They should return common household possessions
to their rightful places after borrowing them
from you or other family members.
- If they borrow the family car, they should
fill up the petrol tank if it is low and pay
for damages to the car if they are responsible
for the damages.
I came across an interesting piece of writing
by Ann Landers – humorous yet it holds some
truth. Perhaps you can share this with Sue Nee.
My Father When I Was
4 years old: My daddy can do
5 years old: My daddy knows a
6 years old: My dad is smarter
than your dad.
8 years old: My dad doesn’t
know exactly everything.
10 years old: In the olden days
when my dad grew up, things were sure different.
12 years old: Oh, well, naturally,
Father doesn’t know anything about that.
He is too old to remember his childhood.
14 years old: Don’t pay
attention to my Father. He is too old fashioned!
21 years old: Him? My Lord, he’s
25 years old: Dad knows a little
bit about it, but then he should because he has
been around so long.
30 years old: Maybe we should
ask Dad what he thinks. After all he’s had
a lot of experience.
35 years old: I’m not doing
a single thing until I talk to Dad.
40 years old: I wonder how Dad
would have handled it. He was so wise and had
a world of experience.
50 years old: I’d give
anything if Dad were here now so I could talk
this over with him. Too bad I didn’t appreciate
how smart he was. I could have learnt a lot from
Like it? Anyway I’m glad you’ve given
me this opportunity to share my thoughts with
you. We must remember that good relationships
not only make life easier (especially at home)
but also makes both parties feel good. A harmonious
home environment gives a sense of security to
children and prevents them from indulging in undesirable
Well, I’ve to sit down and have a pow-wow
with Kiang. You know, he’s been offered
an ASEAN scholarship and also a berth in National
Service? Keep in touch. Your support group member
will always be there for you.
Yeap Meng Chee
Penang Family Planning Association