MOM’S CORNER : Puberty: Time to Talk

Some parents shy away when it comes to addressing their children on puberty and sexual maturity issues yet it is inevitable. A friend of mine complained that some of the ongoing AIDS campaigns and the fight against cross-generational sex are quite embarrassing. I was tempted to agree with her but remembered that it was the parents’ silence that had brought it to this.

Some parents shy away when it comes to addressing their children on puberty and sexual maturity issues yet it is inevitable.

A friend of mine complained that some of the ongoing AIDS campaigns and the fight against cross-generational sex are quite embarrassing. I was tempted to agree with her but remembered that it was the parents’ silence that had brought it to this.

You are there enjoying a meal with the family and the radio suddenly yells about condoms and their advantages!

Not only are the children hearing about sex for the first time on radio advertisements, but they are being encouraged to use condoms and the like without their parents’ consent.

I believe the campaign was carried out after an exhaustive research and am sure the views of parents were considered but I believe that as parents we can beat the radio to counseling our children.

Parents in the traditional African society never had to single-handedly shoulder that kind of responsibility as the society at large was responsible for that.

When children reached puberty, hence a ripe marriage age they were sent off to their aunties (in the case of girls) or to age group seclusions where they would get the relevant education they needed to prepare for maturity.

This is where rituals like circumcision, or teeth removal for some tribes, would be conducted on the young adults giving them a sense of maturity and responsibility over their own lives.

This may not be applicable today but it served its purpose at the time and saved the parents the heavy task of facing their children with sexual matters for discussion.

However, the parents still had dominance over their children at any age because most of the lessons were obtained from home and anything had to be done with their consent.

Back to the present time, everything is formal and no one really has time for their children leave alone somebody else’s. Sex education is compulsory in most schools but is it really effective?

Why are our children especially those at secondary schools becoming more and more independent and unruly?

I am shocked to learn that most of our girls end up as housewives or, if they are lucky, at university on their spouses’ sponsorship.

Few are taking advantage of the government university scholarships available and a good number are neither married nor at school.

This means that parental control if any is no longer effective because I cannot think of a parent who would willingly marry off their daughter at 18 or 19 without a university education! I can only think of one reason for that; pregnancy!

Well parents, if we do not take up our responsibility of constantly advising and minding our children’s welfare, it will be taken up by sugar daddies and mummies for that matter.

The campaign against cross generational sex is aimed at stopping this vice but I believe we are the ones with the upper hand in controlling our children’s behavior and we have the capacity to do it because it is a God-given responsibility.

Contact: danbella@yahoo.com

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