By Constance Ndeleko
Teenagers over the years have been the most misunderstood people on the planet. They are often treated as children and expected to act like adults. Their opinions have been looked down upon because of the adolescent stage as most people assume they act on impulse, moods or emotions.
How often do we have a sit down with our teenage daughters and sons? How often do we have the sex talk? How often do we ask of their social life?How often do we take time and ask of the happenings around them?
According to a report by TIFA about source of information on sex; the internet stands at 68%, School teachers 63%, books/magazine 60%, friends 60%, mothers 35%, brothers/sisters 34%, Other family members 27%, father 24%, doctors 23% and others/religion 4%.This is how teenagers fend for information to survive in this world.
These numbers are alarming on how far we’ve left our children to drift off and dive into the internet to find out information that we can easily share and bring out to them a better understanding.
43% of the students know someone who engaged in sex during the holidays, with the male students (48%) having more knowledge than the female students (30%).
Most of the teenagers are left alone since the society assumes that, they’ve mood swings and their active hormones tend to give them the i don’t care attitude, which makes it a bit difficult to be approached.
More than half the students have watched pornographic content with 62% being male students and 37% female. 25% of the students have engaged in sexual intercourse with the majority of them being male. Students start engaging in sex at the tender age of 13 years.
33% of the students interviewed have no idea that having unprotected sex once can result in pregnancy. However, 60% of the students are knowledgeable about the possibility of 1st time sex pregnancy.
Being a teenager is not easy. We have to be there for these children and try to understand their world even for a second. A lot of body changes are taking place and this is the point they get to experience growth and development something that, if we don’t speak to them about tends to make them crawl in fear and even shut down blocking people from their world.
Here are some of the activities that children engage in during their holiday breaks. According to a survey conducted by TIFA.
The above chart represent preferred activities of students during school holidays; 70% stay at home, 67% club drink, 66% engage in religious activities, 63% visit girlfriend/boyfriend, 53% attend concert, 42% travelling, 37% go for sleep over and 17% engage in sex.
Teenagers are going through many issues as they transition to adulthood. Social media has raised the bar high and contributed to issues of depression, anxiety as well as poor mental health state. Community has soaked their wings , as they live teenagers in their own cocoons and strive to survive in this world.
It is not worth it for teenagers to get to learn about growth and development on social media or from other people. We need to speak to them so that we can lift their trust in us just in case they want to share their experiences.
We have to assist our children by creating an environment that is clear and free for them to communicate and speak out of what is happening around them. We need to teach them how they can advocate and stand for themselves as they build and make informed decisions in life.
When we don’t get to allow them to be vulnerable then, we will be failing on our role as caregivers. This is when they start making voidable mistakes that if only had we taken the initiative of speak to them, things could have been different.
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