It is important to guide and redirect adolescents on roles expected from them in the family and society to prevent them from making wrong choices.
A Consultant on Child Protection and Adolescence Specialist, Faruk A. Chiromari stated this while presenting a paper titled: ‘Common Problems and Criticality to Support Adolescents’, at a One-day Media Executives, Reporters and Producers Meeting on Preventing Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) and Adolescents and Young Persons (AYP) Support in Kaduna State, organised by UNICEF and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Zaria on Friday, August 10, 2018.
He explained that without guidance teenagers may become pregnant before they are ready, adding that they may also get infected with Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), as well as Te dreaded HIV.
“Find time to talk with them, let them know that there is safe sex. You have to talk to them about the consequences of unprotected sex. They may act on impulse as a result of hormonal changes,” he said.
Chiromari said that addiction to cyberspace also cuts short their physical activities, resulting in an unhealthy and sedentary lifestyle.
“Internet addiction adversely impacts academic activities. Even though they may use the internet for research and learning, they may delve into other areas. Hence do not say no to Internet, but observe and track what they are using the Internet for. You have to redirect their usage of the internet,” he said.
The expert said that no matter what you tell AYPs in schools, churches or mosques, they end up following their role models.
” Don’t let your children get the wrong role models, be their role models by being friendly with them,” he added.
He explained that aggression among boys is noticed during adolescence, when the young boys develop muscles, warning that at such times, it is expected that they are prevented from access to firearms and alcohol, as well as from violent movies.
On some clues on how to know if AYPs are indulging in drugs, he said that “When they sleep too much or too little, it means something is not right. If they are doing drugs, you as a parent might be thinking your child is always indoors and of good character. It may be as a result of drugs. Drugs can make adolescent sleep too much or too little.
“Similarly, when a child all of a sudden starts eating too much or too little, there might be as a result of drugs,” he added.
Chiromari further said that as a female child notices changes in her body, she may be worried if not properly counseled ahead.
“She may come back from school when first menstruation comes and she sees blood, she may think she is injured and may find it difficult to express what she is going through,” he said.
He cautioned against spying on children, saying it could be counter productive.
“Do not spy on your children, but let them know you are checking up on them to improve on their well being, like checking their toilets to find out if it is clean or not.”
He charged media practitioners to always be at the forefront of providing information that can transform AYPs.