Tue, Mar 22, 2005 - Page 4 News List

Experts urge parents to talk to their adolescents

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

As teenage crime and suicide rates keep climbing, effective parent-child communications and family support are invaluable in helping teenagers deal with their problems, according to education experts.

"Today's adolescents live in a much more complex and confusing world. But many parents spend more time at work and less time with their children, which creates wider communication gaps and leaves teenagers feeling alienated," Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) said yesterday at a press conference to promote healthy family relationships.

"Teenage pressures stem mostly from relationships with family members, peers and the opposite sex. The family offers an important support system for any teenager. Effective communication between parents and teenagers can ameliorate many juvenile problems," Tu said.

In an attempt to address teenage problems and improve parent-teenager communication skills, the Ministry of Education, the Teacher Chang Foundation and the Far Eastern Group organized a series of events under the theme of "spreading the love and closing the distance."

The events include seminars and classes designed to teach parents and teenagers effective communication skills.

According to statistics released by the Ministry of Justice, around 6,300 teenagers committed crimes between January and July last year. According to statistics from the Ministry of Education, 960 violent incidents at schools were reported last year.

In addition, suicide has become one of the leading causes of death among people between the ages of 15 and 24, according to statistics for last year released by the Department of Health.

According to a report titled "The needs of Teenagers in Taiwan," which was issued by the foundation last year, more than 40 percent of teenagers consider relationships as the most important aspect of their lives. More than 50 percent of adolescents spend less than an hour a day communicating with their parents.

The series of events runs through next year. For more detailed information, visit the foundation's Web site at www.1980.org.tw.

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