There is a growing trend amongst teenagers now, more for those living in the villages than in the cities. Babies are making babies. Statistically, teenage pregnancy has been on a rapid increase globally so it’s not just a demographic issue anymore.
Modernisation sure is a factor, young people these days are not as naive as they use to be in the 50s, 60s or 70s. The social media, the playground of all young people have become a major challenge. The unstable economy, instability in the polity, the crazy level of unemployment, have all contributed to the rising statistic of teenage pregnancy. In all of this, parents are at the centre of it all, parents scratching to make a Living and trying to stay afloat, making little or no time for the child. Parents whose priorities have changed, who leaves the nurturing of the child to the house helps and parents who are too old school to make their children their friends.
In the 60s even a good labourer or mechanic who had a small family unit had better quality time with his children coz the environment then was more stable before the chaotic playground called the Internet.
It is a shame that our culture does not really encourage children to be friends with their parents so sex is never discussed. The child is left to figure out sex education from his/ her peers. Parents are usually too bashful or far too shy to discuss sex with their children. Most parents apart from totally avoiding the subject, see it as a no go area, expecting the child to remain innocent till he/she gets married. Hummmmm really. It is clear that there is a lot parents and their teenage child can do to reduce teenage pregnancy. However, statistics has also proven that most teenage pregnancy, are from children born out of wedlock or to single parents.
The most important thing a parent/parents can do to prevent teen pregnancy is to be involved in their teen’s lives. Make time for your teen, talk to them like you would to a friend. Be friends with your child, we make a gross mistake in thinking that teenagers are to young to grasp the meaning and intricacies of life, how very old school that mentality projects. You must get interested in whatever your teen is interested in and if they have no interests, help them find some! So many parents don’t want to face this reality but unfortunately nowadays, children are having sex earlier than they used to. It should not come as a shock to you that the average 13year old child may already be experimenting. There is no proper way to have this kind of sex education discussion with your child than to just have it! If a parent builds and cultivates a good and open relationship with their child, it will make this kind of conversation easy. Teenagers who openly communicate with their parents are less likely to become teenage parents.
Once a child knows and feel that they can come to you with anything, believe me, they will tell you everything and you may probably end up their best friend. Am talking from the strength of my experience with my own children. Teens want to know the facts so they can *make a choice. *Part of these facts include the your value or the family value. You can most help your teen by giving him/her the facts on sex, teenage pregnancy and relationships by sharing your values and expectations.
I am blessed that my children come to me as a friend before a father. Sometimes visitors to the PunkPalace are more or less inspired by my relationship with my kids. I use to be afraid of my late father many moons ago, till the day he told me how proud he was of me, since then we became very close friends. You may ask, at what age do we start to initiate this kind of discussion with our children. I would say, even as early as 8 or 10, as soon as you see your child getting more interested in their body parts, know that the time has come. How to initiate the topic? There is no other way but in your own style and language talk the talk. Don’t let outsiders do that for you.