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Let your kids talk about their relationships

By Vision Reporter

Added 26th August 2006 03:00 AM

WHAT would you say if your teenage daughter told you: “Mummy, I have a boyfriend.”? Many mothers develop goose pimples at the thought of their daughters being intimately involved with the opposite sex.

WHAT would you say if your teenage daughter told you: “Mummy, I have a boyfriend.”? Many mothers develop goose pimples at the thought of their daughters being intimately involved with the opposite sex.

WAGWAU JAMESA - Parenting

WHAT would you say if your teenage daughter told you: “Mummy, I have a boyfriend.”? Many mothers develop goose pimples at the thought of their daughters being intimately involved with the opposite sex.

There are cases where parents have confronted their daughters’ boyfriends. Some parents are so harsh that their daughters would not have the courage to say they have boyfriends. Would blowing up in rage help the situation?

Adolescence can be a challenging time for both the young people and their parents. Girls are especially vulnerable and parents often feel the need to keep an eye on how they relate with the opposite sex.

Mercy, a lawyer, says worrying about a teenage daughter is inevitable. “It would hit me with shock because I would worry about the possibility of sex being involved. But I would still sit and discuss the issue with her.”
Some mothers say they would not be shocked.

“I would try to be very friendly to the girl. In fact, parents who get wild make girls to hide themselves,” says a mother. She says it is bad for a parent to overact because it closes the door to further communication.

Janet Nyakaana, a counsellor at Naguru Teenage Centre, also believes girls should not be made to feel guilty about having a boyfriend.

“I would empower my daughter by discussing with her the consequences of such a relationship. By time a girl becomes a teenager, parents should have discussed with her issues about sexuality and relationships,” says Nyakaana.

James Gardner in his book, The Turbulent Teens, says the possibility of a teenager getting involved in sex is a key concern to most parents. Many parents feel their daughters are especially too vulnerable to be taken lightly.

Florence Magembe, the director of Pearl Institute of Cosmetology, Nakulabye, says she would encourage the relationship between her teenage daughter and a boy as long as sex is not involved. “I would advise my daughter to always meet the boy in a public place to reduce the chances of sexual involvement,” says Magembe.

Counselling psychologists recommend the following tips:
  • Do not blow up. Find out what kind of boyfriend your daughter has. Are they just friends or intimate lovers?

  • Listen, dig deeper and find out more. When a girl says she has a boyfriend, it could be a cry for help. It might be another way of telling you as a parent that things are getting out of hand to a level she cannot understand.

  • Casually suggest inviting the boy over with some other friends so that you can get to know him better. The meeting does not have to be formal. Teenagers will relate more responsibly if both families know about the relationship. The exposure gives your daughter’s boyfriend more accountability than when they interact secretly.

  • Tell teenagers that intimacy brings problems that they should watch out for and handle with care. Girls should freely interact with all boys without ‘specialising’ or being ‘owned’ by one boy.

  • Getting too harsh with a girl might push her deeper into the arms of the boyfriend.

  • Responsible birds do not abandon their nestlings to fly on their own. Be there to guide your daughter. The best way to do it is through open channels of communication.

    jwagwau@newvision.co.ug
    0772-631032

    Let your kids talk about their relationships

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