Listen to your children

Most people can remember some hard times from their youth, but today there are even more sources of stress for children: an increasing number of marriages end in divorce; both parents often work; alcohol, drugs and cigarettes are more readily available, and the pressure from peers to engage in sexual activity is significant.

Besides creating unhappy children, stressful conditions can result in physical illness or emotional problems. One of the most important things you can do to prevent this is to encourage a child to express his or her feelings. Communicate with your child from the earliest years on, and you can not only prevent many problems but also greatly minimize those that do occur.

Spend quality time with your children and become a good role model. Play with them. Take them outdoors. Read to them and with them. Share a joke. Encourage them to participate in physical activities at school and in the neighborhood. All these will go a long way to keeping communication open and the “generation gap” at bay.

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