2018 has been such a year. Am not talking about all the corruption scandals that make you switch off your TV during News hour. NO! I want to talk about a bigger scandal that steals the future of our girls in this country. Teenage girls who are just in primary school denied their childhood and converted into mothers before their time. According to the ministry of education, at least 449 girls have missed their National examination (both KCPE and KCSE) due to pregnancy related matters. The worst cases is when girls give birth on exam day. And this got me thinking, where have we gone wrong as a society?
This took me back to when I was a teenager. I remember my parents more so my mom playing a key role on sexual education. Not a single day did she not tell me to abstain from sex and just focus on my studies. She even had a role model for me of a very successful lawyer by the name “Hannah” from her village who kept boys at bay from her early ages until she graduated from Nairobi University. I think this got into my brain that I was able to overcome the peer pressure of all my neighbours who had boyfriend and girlfriends then. I remember the advert running on TV those days about “NIMECHILL” and I would use that slogan to keep off any boy.
Speaking of adverts, I don’t remember seeing condom adverts when growing up. Perhaps in the news when the government was distributing condoms for free to kick-off AIDS. While I have nothing against condoms I strongly feel that they are being over advertised. So much so, that my one year old daughter already mumbles as the “wearing socks” advert is running. This is my opinion about the advert, “Its okey to have sex as long as you are using protection” Why can’t we have adverts about abstinence running in our mainstream media?
Back to sexual education. Am not an expert on this matter. But as a parent, I feel it is my responsibility to educate my daughter on this issue. What I have learnt being a parent is to do everything even when I feel uncomfortable. It is not about me…but the wellness of my kids and their generation. If I chose to stay silent on sex education because am shy and uncomfortable when talking to my child about it, am creating a knowledge gap. And guess what, it is not going to empty forever. Your child will seek information elsewhere from anyone anywhere and you will not be in control of what they learn.
Just think of the whole parenting journey from changing diaper, being peed on, wiping vomit, training toddlers to wipe their bum after pooping all those thing are not comfortable. But we do it anyway because we love our children. We don’t do it holding our breaths, covering our noses, looking on the other side or putting all the emojis on the face. We do it with love as if it’s normal. If your teenage son come asking you about wet dream, or your teenage daughter asks about missed period because they are irregular what would you do? You don’t dismiss them or show your freaking face in their presence. If you do that, they will never ask you again. And you know what, them not coming to you doesn’t mean that they won’t ask someone else. They will turn to the internet or their peers. What you need to do is be calm and composed and tell them the truth. Age-appropriate truth! Once you are done explaining, you can go lock yourself in a room and have your freak out sessions. And don’t give them a book! They need your word. They need your assurance, they trust you than anyone else in this world.
But why are parents afraid of talking sex matters with their children? Well, most parents think that having conversation about sex with their children entice them to have sex! The opposite is true. Why do you keep reminding them of doing their homework or house chores? Do they love books because you tell them about it? So it is with sex education, having conversation about sex doesn’t trigger them to go practice it.
When holding these conversations, it don’t need a PHD in sexual education or public speaking skills. You don’t need to dress up like you are about to have a business pitch or go to that special place in the house where no one can ease drop the conversation. You don’t even need to start the topic like “ We need to talk”. Starting the conversation like that scares the children and they fail to open up. I recommend you have this discussion in the middle of normal activities at home like when cooking, on a road trip or during dinner. ANY TIME ANYWHERE! Please don’t tell them about MOMMY AND DADDY…no no no. They don’t like hearing that. Just let the conversation flow…just be honest…just tell them the truth and set the bar high. Simply because if you don’t, someone else will take over…and I think you won’t like it. If every parent played their part on this matter, we wouldn’t be having teenage pregnancy. Share this article with fellow parents. Let them take charge for the sake of our girls future
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