Talking with Parents

April 2019

This week all schools in Kenya are closing for the first-term school break. We finished our Choice Club activities yesterday by attending a meeting with girls at the AIC Ngong School. We talked to all the 80 girls in the school. Being on break is quite exciting for the girls. When asked what excites them most, some say change of diet, others can’t wait to go home and have a hot shower- at school they bathe with cold water. Others say they miss their parents, and then there are those who shyly say they can’t wait ‘to see their boyfriends.’ We cannot deny that most of these girls are dating; most of these girls are 16 years old with the oldest being around 19. They are at an age of self-discovery; they want to eat life with a big spoon. They want all the fun things and they want to share the experiences. Sex education at this point cannot be avoided. Sex education for teens include abstinence, date rape, homosexuality and other tough topics. Dating becomes dangerous where there is alcohol or drug abuse, physical and emotional abuse, isolation from family and friends, amongst others. Some of these girls who are in abusive relationships will exhibit habits like poor performance in subjects that they earlier excelled in, change in attitude (mostly negative), binge drinking, and in excessive cases, suicide attempts. It is thus very important to teach the girls where to draw the line in relationships- this is one subject that cannot be ignored.

Most parents find it awkward to talk to their teenagers about sex, but someone must talk to them, otherwise they are bound to make mistakes. Peer pressure, curiosity and loneliness are some of the factors that steer some teenagers into early sexual activity. We remind these teenagers that it is okay to wait, there are many other ways to express affection that do not involve sex. Relying on scare tactics to discourage sexual activity is not wise. Instead it is good to listen to them, understand the pressure they are under, the challenges and concerns they experience, then advise them with the correct information. We wish all the girls well as they go home to get a well-deserved rest. We will resume the club activities the first week of May.

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