Tuesday, August 18, 2015

MUST READ: The teenager and the challenges of sexual pressure

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A good percentage of our teens and young adults today are under the siege of sexual pressure. Many willing teens and young adults easily give in to the pressure of sex and not because they actually bargained for it or were in full support of the sexual experiencing they were having. But it has been discovered that lack of good parenting and mentorship have led many of our young stars into undue negative early sexual exposure and disaster.

Parents and guardians, in a bid to balance business and parenthood, fail in their responsibilities towards these young ones.

Continue reading after the cut.....

The negative media influences (Internet) cannot be over emphasised. It is from the internet these teens and young stars are polluted as many of our teens get hooked to porn sites as early as age 10 and sometimes below. Masturbation, pornography, sex chatting have now become the order of the day among these teens. It is from internet that these young ones are pressured into bad gangs, sexual perversion etc. Research has shown that many sexual activities are pre-programme into all children’s games, phones, ipad, iphones, Facebook dating etc. Then again, the violence-saturated media leads to the ever-increasing acceptance of violence among our young adults.

I am of the opinion that parents and guardians should do a bit more on sex education than they have done. Then, we would be able to salvage our teens and young adults from this impending sexual disaster.

But the greatest challenge is actually how to start this sex education.

Many well-meaning parents want to know the best approach they can adopt with their teenagers when they want to introduce and discuss sex and sexuality with them. Talking to your teenage child about sex and puberty can be quite challenging as some parents even avoid the topic completely because they are ignorant of their teens budding maturity, exposure and even the extent of what he or she knows already.

Others have the concern that talking about sex and their teens’ body change would lead to early experimentation. Some other parents hesitate to start the conversation out of unnecessary fears, as such, leaving their teens to chances. I think it is not safe for parents to leave children to chances while wishing all would be well. Why not effect the changes you want to see in them?

A sex therapist expert says sex education is easier passed to the male teen than the female teen. This is the more reason a teen girl should be taught way ahead of her male counterpart. As soon as a girl- child reaches puberty, you should not delay discussing sex and puberty any longer. Many teens turn to friends and the media to get answers, much of which may be way off base. You might be surprised to know that although teens report getting most of their ­­information from the above two sources, the number one source they would wish they could go to with questions is ‘you,’ their parents.

Besides, refusing to talk about puberty and sex doesn’t make the potential problems go away. Seventy -nine per cent of adolescents report that they have had sex by age 10, and by their senior years, the number would have even jumped to 87 per cent. Talking about sex with your teen won’t cause them to explore their sexuality. In fact, some studies show talking openly and honestly about sex could help prevent unwanted teenage pregnancy. When it comes to talking about sex and puberty, don’t think of it as one big, difficult conversation. Instead, think of it as a series of conversations that should take place throughout their teen years. Do not shove so much content on them at one sitting than they can absorb and process. Offer information in snippets, as you give them time to think and invite them to ask you questions.

The first step is learn how to encourage them to share details about their lives with you, no matter how embarrassing. Starting off with girls especially needs some level of smartness. You can start by indicating that you are not sure if she has started puberty and sex education in school or you can ask her if she has started menstruating. The truth of the matter is many teens hide this information from their parents.

While you open up such talks, observe their body changes. For most girls, the development of breasts is the first sign of puberty. This development can be an awkward time if you haven’t talked to her about this yet. Development begins with breast buds, which are lumps just under the nipple that can be tender. It is normal for one to develop before the other. As breasts develop, the area around the nipple (areola) will darken and hair can grow around it. As breasts development continues, growth can be uneven. This is normal and the size difference tends to decrease throughout development. If breast development occurs quickly, stretch marks may form. This is normal and they usually become less obvious over time. While for most boys, the development is more obvious in the change in their voice, it gets deeper and they start developing armpit and pubic hair.

Along breasts development, the young girl gains body fat and her hips widen, which sometimes may lead to weight gain. Your daughter may be concerned that she’s gaining weight, but explain that she’s just gearing up for a growth spurt. Girls need healthy weight gain during this time in their lives. Be careful not to make them feel pressured to diet. Remember that how you feel about yourself will be reflected in how your daughter views herself, so be mindful about what you are communicating about body image. While for boys, there may not be obvious change in weight, rather, they may just grow taller with long bones.

Half of all girls in Nigeria today get their periods before their 11th birthdays; 70 per cent by age 13, and 88 per cent by age 15. While some girls can’t wait to start their periods, others may feel afraid or anxious. To add to their anxiety, many girls don’t have a complete understanding of their reproductive system or what actually happens during the menstrual cycle.

Tell her how long a period normally lasts and how often they occur. Tell her that her menstrual cycle would likely last for seven days or less. Her period may be irregular for the first few years. Once her cycle becomes regular, most girls get their period every 25 to 30 days. Some get them as frequently as every 21 days or as infrequently as every 45 days. Let her know what to expect.

With boys, the testosterone gushes out fast with higher pressure making them to be aware of their sexuality. This testosterone sometimes causes them to experience night emissions; this is the natural way the body regulate the level of semen and sperm cell in the scrotal of the boy. Note please that night emission is not the same thing as wet dreams. While night emission is done without any human effort or assistance, wet dream is a fantasy imagined.

You can explain that during her period, hormones can cause nausea, cramping, and diarrhoea. Explain sanitary products to her. Explain the different options and discuss the pros and cons of each and show her how to use them. Talk about the odours and discharges between periods. Explain to her the discharge from her vagina is a way of naturally cleansing itself. Teach her to wipe from front to back after using the bathroom to avoid vaginal or bladder infections. Explain the reasons why she has to change the sanitary products. Let her know that the use of toilet rolls for menstrual period is the reason for many onsets of chronic itching, yeast infection, some types of toilet infections and some forms of pelvic inflammatory diseases.

Explain the differences between normal vaginal discharges and infectious discharges. Caution your daughter against using feminine sprays. This is not the ideal time to tell them not to be close to a boy or else they would get pregnant, NO! Tell them the truth about the beauty of sex and the proper place for sex which is in marriage and that sex is not meant for teens and young adults however raging the passion for sex may appear. Tell them that the ability to become a pregnant mother or ability to be a father is not the same thing as been mature enough to shoulder the responsibilities of parenthood.

Do not paint a distorted picture that sex is bad. Tell them sex is a sweet beautiful thing that happen between you and their dad or you and their mum and that they were the products of mature sexual relationship as it were. Let them know that the perfect, conducive and appropriate place for good sex is in the marriage and tell them the everlasting benefit of sex within the marriage confinement.

- Funmi Akingbade / Punch

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