Thu, May 08, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Survey shows gap between mothers and teenage kids

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Most mothers may think they know their teenage sons or daughters well, but two separate survey findings show that mothers might not know how their teenage children acquire information about sex or how they handle emotional problems.

The results of a survey conducted by the Tainan City Family Education Center conducted between April 1 and April 20 with 1,000 mothers of junior high school students in Tainan show that over 80 percent of mothers of junior high school students in the city worry about how their children get acquainted with the opposite sex.

The survey released on Tuesday also found that 72 percent of the mothers believed their children would seek help from their classmates if they were going through an emotionally tough time.

However, another survey conducted by the same center among 1,164 students from 12 junior high schools in Tainan in January found that 58 percent of the respondents make friends of the opposite sex on the Internet, and that 68 percent seek help on the Internet when they experience emotional problems.

The survey, which collected 773 valid questionnaires last month, also discovered that mothers care more about their children’s academic performance than their relations with friends or mental health.

Only three of the mothers surveyed were found often to say the words “I love you” to their children. The poll also found that when mothers speak to their teenage children, the words they most frequently use are: “Have you finished your homework yet?” “Have you reviewed your lessons yet?” and “Read your books.”

Asked what they would do if their daughter were to get pregnant or their son were to get his girlfriend pregnant, 59.4 percent of the mothers of teenage girls said they would ask their child to have an abortion, while 41.1 percent of the mothers of teenage boys said they would want their son’s girlfriend to do so, the survey results showed.

Less than 20 percent of the mothers of teenagers said they would demand a marriage so that the families could raise the baby together, the survey showed.

Analyzing the survey results, Tsai Ching-fen (蔡青芬), an assistant professor in the Department of Social Work at Tainan County’s Chang Jung Christian University, said the parents of half of the surveyed teenagers were found to have graduated from university or higher education institutes.

However, less than 10 percent of the teenagers said they would discuss their troubled feelings with their parents. When confused, they mostly seek advice from teachers or classmates, or surf the Internet, watch television or listen to radio broadcasts for answers, Tsai said.

Taiwan’s birth rate among teenagers is the highest in Asia, statistics released by the Taiwan Association for Sexuality Education showed.

The birth rate fell to eight births per 1,000 teenagers in 2005, from 14 per 1,000 in 2000. This compares with four per 1,000 in Japan and 2.8 per 1,000 in South Korea.

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