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Parental Rights and Teenage Privileges Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by MKISII, Kenya Jun 8, 2005
Child & Youth Rights   Opinions


The needs and privileges of children have received so much attention recently that the basic needs and rights of parents are ignored. As a result parents have become confused over the distinction between rights and privileges in the family. Teenagers often demand privileges, interpreting them as their rights. But these issues need clarification in our families.

Parents have the right to persuade their teenager from association with questionable friends. The choice of friends poses a common problem. Many parents have thought that some friends were leading their child astray. A typical parental reaction is to forbid the relationship. Resentment, bitterness and misunderstanding usually follow. This makes the forbidden friends appear even more desirable. Disapproval will only drive your teenager to hide their association from you. An adolescent must feel free to select their own friends. However, it is a parental prerogative to interfere in extreme cases.

Parents have the right to expect their teenager to do his best in your in school and also to insist that they complete their studies. Remember that knowledge in itself is not as important as learning how to process and use that knowledge in getting along with others as well as adjusting to one’s environment. Parents should not only encourage their youngster to complete their studies but to encourage him or her to continue their education.

It is the parent’s right to set standards concerning their teenager’s appearance. Parents of a teenager must understand that an adolescent changes the way they look and dress in order to differ from their parents and then fade into the crowd of their peers. If a teenager who embraces every new fashion with equal enthusiasm is trying your patience, exercise caution. The more you oppose each interest, the more he will pursue each one as it comes along.

As much as is humanly possible, allow your teenager to select his clothes. If their clothing is strange, group pressure from their peers may quickly accomplish what you never could. Never hesitate to stand against those things that you consider morally objectionable.

A teenager expends feverish energy in conforming to peer standards, which could be modified if he or she feels accepted at home. In seeking acceptance, a teenager adopts clothes, hairstyles, and manners that his or her parents consider immoral. If you refuse to provide the acceptance he or she so desperately needs from family members, you will drive him or her to imitate their peers even more closely.

Parents monitor the type of music being played in the home. If you try to restrict a teenager entirely from listening to their music, they will break loose. Parents should try to screen the music and affirm the principles that define approximate types of music. Even if you could control what your teen listens to at home, you cannot control what they will listen to outside the home. Certain things are beyond parental control and this is one. You must trust that you have instilled proper values during the early years and that these will carry your teenager through this difficult time period when peer pressure remains heavy. You need therefore to give guidance without sounding totally arbitrary. Naturally, a teenager’s taste in music does not need to be forced on other members of the family, and controls can be put on volume.

Lastly parents have the right to set up rules regarding dating. Parents should grant the privilege of dating only after they have examined factors like age, dependability, willingness to accept responsibility, and mature behaviour.

As a parent, help your youngster solve the root problem of dating. The more insecure your teenager feels, the more he or she is likely to seek a steady relationship in an effort to solve the problem they encounter in relating to their peer group. This issue needs a lot of care when dealing with it and should start in the child’s age. This means, sex education should be introduced early.



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Writer Profile

I am arnold ageta omayio, a Kenyan and a student in college. I joined taking it global as part of my help to the youth who are in problems especially in this era of the AIDS scourge. I live in Kenya and study at Kenya's capital city Nairobi. I think by writing articles through this organisation I can have the opportunity to reach the youths world wide.
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