In today’s world of TV and ipods talking to our children seems like dealing with a traffic jam. There is always something they are doing that to them, is much cooler than listening to their parents.
There’s no question that children are influenced by the world’s trends. Parents are forever under pressure to help their children deal with issues concerning drugs, sexuality, television, video games, the Internet, terrorism and wars. This has made raising a child probably one of the toughest jobs one has to do.
Alice and Martin Buhija, parents of teenage twins have come to terms with the challenges of bringing up the girls.
“Their questions are always changing as they grow. We talk to them about different topics when the questions come up,” Buhija said, “…the other day they asked about sex for the first time and we had to talk to them. It was hard but we knew we had to do it.”
For other parents it’s not as easy as this. Jolly Mutesi is a single mother who said that bringing up her son alone has been hard.
“There are so many things I want to tell my son. Since he is a boy, sometimes he is not comfortable when I talk to him. His uncle has become his father figure and so when those tough questions come up, I just send him to his uncle for a chat” said Mutesi.
Children growing up in today’s world are continually bombarded with mixed messages about the changes they go through. Consequently, parents have left their children’s upbringing in the hands of the school system.
Virginia Nyambura, a teacher explains that parents expect their children to be taught and advised by their teachers, yet they don’t realise that their input is also very crucial.
“During classes, children ask so many questions about so many different things that affect them and this shows that they not getting answers from home. The lessons are time bound and we just cannot answer all their questions,” Nyambura said.
She further cited that parents had the sole responsibility of relieving their children from confusion as they grow. This she said is by talking to them more.
This for children has called for a constant need for role models and counselors whom they can talk to when faced with problems or when they do not understand what is happening around them.
Annette Mukabahinda is a counselor who largely attributes parent’s reluctance to advice children on sex education, to the Rwandan culture.
“It’s a taboo in the Rwandan culture for parents to talk to their children about sexuality. This is the role of the aunties and uncles. As a result, parent’s silence has led children into trouble as they try to discover things all alone,” Mukabahinda said.
She added that, “Children look up to us for answers and parents need to be prepared and equipped to take on the challenge. There is no need to panic, just be honest and give them plain and clear answers.” The best way to do this, the counselor said is if the taking is done during the early ages.
“As parents we need to win our children’s trust from a young age by having continuous dialogue with them. When they see that you are comfortable with talking about things they will make you a point of reference for everything they encounter,” Mukabahinda advised.
By taking sex education as an important aspect of child development, parents need to go out of their way to reach out to their children.
The sole responsibility will be through building mutual trust and respect as well as bridging any communication gaps between parents and their children. Eventually children will not fall prey to the dangers that the world has to offer.