I have closely been following discussions in the print, social and broadcast media on the sensitive yet disturbing subject of teenage pregnancies. The discussions have attracted enormous opinions ranging from confining the adolescent girls to the house, not allowing them to visit relatives to restricting them from watching the TVs, using mobile phones, assessing internet and even visiting their friends. To me these are just but precipitating factors to an already vulnerable individual.
We ought to embrace the reality.
It may not be possible to isolate the girls from the society! It may not be possible to isolate the adolescents from their relatives and even domestic workers at home. It may not be possible to isolate these young people from their friends and is even equally impossible to separate them with smart phones, the TV and the most influential the internet!
Prevention of teenage pregnancies squarely depends on how the young girls handle these influences! They need to understand and appreciate the physiological changes that come with the adolescent stage! Studies and experience indicate that most adolescents do not have accurate knowledge about sexuality and how to deal with sexuality issues. How often do parents, teachers, religious leadership offer sexuality education to these girls? You will agree with me, rarely or never at all. These girls somehow get to learn from available sources including peers and the media! Such information may not be accurate! If they don’t learn from these sources, then Then it becomes guess work. The results are; teenage pregnancies and other related challenges!
This is a wake up call! A wake up call before all our teenagers in schools become mothers!! Let us teach them, let us give accurate sexuality knowledge both at home, school and even in religious gatherings!
Equally the young people need to be empowered with skills on how to handle the influences cited above! They need to be thoroughly trained on assertive skills and decision making skills. They need to be empowered on how to deal with peer pressure, they need to be trained on friendship formation. They too need to be empowered with negotiation skills! They need to be empowered on how to deal with adolescent relationship!
The teenager should know that they are the Chief Executive Officers, CEOs, of their future and lives! The answer to this challenge is empowering the teenagers to know how to handle these influences! The influences are there to stay! In fact, they become sophisticated each passing day!!
There is still HOPE!! Let us Empower and Mentor these Teenagers.
By Alice Songok Tenai The Writer is a Teacher, Counselling Psychologist and Mentor. Her contact: 0721688758