How Teenagers can initiate conversation with their parents.

Over the past few years,they have been stories of young people who were assaulted by close family members and they couldn’t talk to anyone. Young people at their teen age are confused and need clear guidance on different issues of life.

If young people know enough to ask a question , they deserve an age appropriate answer. Young people need honest answers too.

Parents are the most important source of sexuality education. You may not know but young people are willing to ask questions and get answers. The problem is that some of them do not know how to initiate conversation with their parents and some parents don’t know how to respond when kids initiate conversation. Here are some tips teenagers can use to initiate and engage their parents in conversation.

TIP 1: Think through what you want to talk about. Do you want information, to share your feelings, do you need help or do you just need a listening ear? Make sure you are certain of what you want to talk about.

TIP 2: Pick the right timing. Find the right time when both of you are free to listen and talk with one another.Wrong timing may cause misunderstanding of the case at hand or the listener may give hasty replies. Wrong timing may even make the parent not give attention to the child.

TIP 3: Talk Clearly: State your concerns clearly. You can use phrases like, “I am thinking about…., I am worried about….., Confused about…….” Say the best you can. As you talk, your thoughts and feelings become clearer.

TIP 4: Ask for what you want and what you expect from your parents too

TIP 5: LISTEN. Final step to good communication  is listening. Listen to what your parents have to say and follow up on them. Good listening means  you focus on the other person and try to understand what they are thinking and feeling. They should be clarity for communication to be complete.

Parents in responding to questions should convey positive sexual health attitudes through your words, tone of voice and facial expressions.

 

The Child, The Mother and Sexual Abuse Disclosure.

Somthings will not always remain a secret. For everyone that is going through a phase, it gets to the time when he/she will decide to be free and the first stage to freedom starts with Disclosure.

I found out a lot of meaning associated with disclosure but the definition from www.vocabulary.com will suffice for what we are to discuss. Disclosure is derived from the French word ‘desclos’ meaning to open or to disclose. Disclosure is to “put something out in the open, usually information that was formally secret”.  Sexual Abuse disclosure is the secret of sexual abuse being exposed or told . Sexual Abuse always thrives in secrecy . Abusers use threat, fear and intimidation to keep victims bondage which gives room for the abuse to thrive. However, it gets to a time when victims find the courage to break out and speak up against their abuser. This is when disclosure takes place.

When a child discloses abuse, it is a critical approach in initiating intervention to stop the abuse, address it’s immediate effects and disclose the likelihood of negative long-term outcome.

The disclosure of abuse occurs in different levels. Most children don’t tell because they may not know the language to use in expressing themselves  or because they are afraid and are unsure if they will be believed. The children that muster courage to disclose may do so bit by bit, giving hints of the abuse or hints of something that is wrong . Some children don’t also tell because they are afraid of the consequences. When a child surmounts the battle raging in his heart to disclose an abuse, the reaction of the person he disclosed to is very crucial to the healing process of the child.

Mothers are always the first person the child discloses to, even though some may not be full disclosure at first. Mothers have been built to “know how to manage certain situations” better than men. So,it is heartbreaking when mothers aren’t available for the hurting child to get across to. Some mothers are uninformed and clueless about sexual abuse and by that, they don’t know the signs or get the clues when children need their help. A mother’s reaction to disclosure affects the child’s decision to keep disclosing , withdraw the disclosure and still remain abused. A child may lie if he/she discovers she isn’t believed or confused about the reactions following the disclosure. Mothers need to manage their emotions properly, believe and support the child to take appropriate protective actions.

In the mother’s defense, there are many conflicting emotions that will surge through the mother when she discovers her child is being abused. The mother may experience feelings of shock, anger, denial, guilt, depression at first. She may also be severely affected especially if the abuser has a close relationship with the abuser . But in all of her conficting emotions, she must know that it is first and foremost about the child. Disclosure and the events that happen after should have the child at the center of any intervention program.

Mothers should learn how to cope with disclosure. If a child discloses any abuse, you should by all means believe in the child. Acceptance and validation is all the child needs. You as the mother should never make the child feel less than he/she is already feeling. Don’t blame the child for any reasons, instead cheer up the child by praising him/her on the courage to speak up. Let the child know that the abuse wasn’t his/her fault.

Healthy mindset and emotions will help the mother to survive the disclosure process, support their child and help them to heal and recover from the process. Whereas , an unhealthy mindset and emotions will worsen the crisis and cause harmful results to the child, the mother and other members of the family.

Disclosure affects the whole family but it takes wisdom and courage to intervene and create enabling environment for the child to heal. Always remember that Disclosure and any intervention process is first and foremost about the CHILD.

 

References:

Mothers of Sexually Abused Children. www.mosac.net.

 

Do you know any child that is going through any form  of abuse and  needs to disclose the abuse?

Are you in any form of abuse and needs someone to talk to?

Are you a leader in any youth organization, schools and church and wants your children to know about Healthy body image,then send us a message or call this number: 09059606812. You can also send a message to our IG page using @lifeclasswithada.

#fortheloveofeverychild.

 

 

WHAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT PUBERTY.

It is not easy to be an adolescent or to help young people through their adolescent years. Some people have referred to adolescence as the most confusing , challenging, frustrating and fascinating phase of human development, but the stresses and disruption of adolescence are not as bad as the society and parents fear.  

Adolescence is a period of maturation which starts from Puberty (usually from the age of 10 or earlier in some people) and extends till about 16 to 18 years. Puberty is the onset of adolescence which marks physiological, physical, emotional and mental changes. These changes amount to sexual maturity which causes dramatic changes in teenagers.

Apart from the obvious changes we observe like, the growth sprout in boys and girls, enlargement of sex organs in order to become capable of reproduction, increased nutritional needs, some adolescents are prone to emotional outbursts, extreme changes in mood, fits of depression and can have hard times getting along with their immediate family members and their society at large.      

A lot of times, people always assume that some rites the adolescents pass through is an indication of  asserting their right to be free from authority and therefore they are mostly rebellious. I have not always agreed with that assertion. I knew something was behind the eratic behaviour some adolescents display. So, I searched and found it.

Have you ever paused to think that some of these of changes may be hormonal? And if they are hormonal, that means that the adolescent can be nurtured to turn out better than the misconception people have about them.

Hormonal secretions cause these physical and physiological changes that occur during adolescence. Hormones are chemical agents secreted into the bloodstream by the pituitary gland, often called the master gland, which lies at the base of the skull.  A portion of the brain called hypothalamus signals the pituitary gland to produce hormones, which in turn stimulate other endocrine glands ( the adrenal glands, ovaries and testes) to produce and secrete sex hormones. As the sex hormones enter the blood stream, changes occur in physical growth and sexual development occur (Zigler and Stevenson, 1987).

Simply put , hormones are a means of communication within the body, carrying messages from place to place and triggering changes in body function and structure (Peterson and Taylor, 1980). Now we know that the hormones send multiple messages to your brain when needed eg hunger, thirst, anger, excitement, danger, sex.

There are different types of hormones: Androgens, which is a Greek word for man, are the male sex hormones. Testosterone is one type of male hormone and Estrogen is the female sex hormone. These hormones, even though they are referred to as male and female, are present in small quantities in both sexes.  It is the increased levels of androgen and estrogen in the bloodstream that stimulates the events leading to sexual maturation and the development of male and female secondary sex characteristics.

Hormones control growth throughout the prenatal and childhood but from 7 years, hormonal level begins to rise gradually. At age 10 to 12, hormone levels become very high and puberty begins. Once the biological events are triggered , the process of puberty is very rapid and most major changes occur within three years.

I will allow you to digest the new information your brain is receiving and continue the talk in my next post. You can drop your questions in the comment box and I will respond immediately.

 

**None of these pictures are the product of this website. They are gotten from Free Online Photo sites .**

BEING A TEENAGER IN TIMES LIKE THIS.

Just in case you think being a teenager in a time like this is easy, you have to stop and hear this: It is NOT. “How can I say that”, you may ask. With all the electronic gadgets at their beck and call, the 21st century effizy, the knowledge on the increase, freedom of speech, etc, one would have thought that they will have it all easy but it is not as easy as it sounds. In fact, the presence of these things may be their problem.

If you are 30 and above, you probably grew up in the beginning of the era of technology shift as we have it now. Most of us had the ‘black and white television in a box’, a few of us had the table top or landline telephone, not to talk of a computer and an internet connection. Wow! The teenagers are having a blast right now. Inside my head, I hear them scream ‘No No No’.

It was an eye opener for us at the Children’s Week organised by my dear friend, Lady Chioma and the St Mulumba Parish, New Haven, Enugu.

As we discussed about “Being A Godly Teenager In A Time Like This” , the teenagers pointed different vices that are so rampant now like exam malpractices, teen prostitution, kidnapping, bribery and corruption, indiscipline etc. The kids feel the impact of these vices daily and they agreed that the technological gadgets are actually causing more harm than good for them. Are we now saying they shouldn’t enjoy these things that make life easier? No!

Here’s what we are advocating for:

*** These teenagers haven’t come out of a vacuum. They have adults in form of parents, guardians, teachers, counsellors in charge of them. We should take our duties towards nurturing them into responsible adults as a God given charge and do our best. We should instill good values in them and set good examples in the way we live our lives.

*** Monitor what they watch, who they move out with, where they go, what they do and what they listen to. Remember that what they fill their mind with is what they will manifest.

*** Monitor the time they spend on the Computer and the sites they browse. You mast not know it yet, but yes, danger lurks in the Cyber Space too. There are sexual predators waiting to pounce on the unsuspecting child, Cyber bullies and other Cyber crimes.

*** Above all, we can’t remove the God factor. Without Him, we can do nothing. Expose your child to godly teachings and values. They will speaks for you when you aren’t there to speak.

The foundation we build for our children matters. Nothing good comes easy but in the end, we will be grateful we did our best.

We will be glad to hear from you. What other ways do you think we can help our teenagers live responsibily in a time like this.