Communicate with your adolescent children to prevent early exposure to sexual activities- Parents advised

Communicate with your adolescent children to prevent early exposure to sexual activities- Parents advised

The Director of School Health Education Programme (SHEP) under the Ghana Education Service (GES), Mrs Theresa Oppong has called on parents to supervise and communicate with their adolescent children to prevent them from being initiated into sexual activities by their peers at an early stage.

According to her, the lack of such supervision and communication coupled with negative parenting contributed to the adolescents being initiated into sexual activities by their peers and added that it could disrupt their education.

She reiterated the need for parents to actively play their role during their children’s adolescent stages to help shape them to secure a better future for them.

Mrs Oppong made the call in a speech read on her behalf by Mr Godfred Ceaser, the Eastern Regional Coordinator of SHEP during this year’s Adolescent Advocacy Week celebration organised by the Family Health Division of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) in collaboration with MARIE STOPES, a non-governmental organisation that advocated Choices among adolescents and the Ghana Education Service (GES) at Krobo Odumasi in the Eastern region.

The celebration was to commemorate the annual Adolescent Health Week by campaigning for an inclusive society that met the needs of Adolescents as they transitioned to adulthood and to educate adolescents

 on reproductive health issues.

Mrs Oppong indicated that the adolescent stage came with a lot of challenges and decisions that required useful information to enable them to thrive and called on parents to play their role effectively.

She said as part of efforts to improve life skills and behaviour change among adolescents, the GES has integrated Adolescent Reproductive Health issues across subjects in the curriculum of senior high and basic schools to provide knowledge, skills and attitudes required to help them cope with the challenges of their stage and also promote healthy living and responsible adulthood.

“We have also set up school health clubs, and mentorship programmes where queen mothers have a critical role to play especially in life skills and value inculcation and many other interventions and so parents also have a role that they need to play in the socialization of the child,” she said.

For her part, the Eastern Regional Director of Nursing Services (DDNS), Ellen Darkoa Asare said, the adolescent stage was a very critical stage of self-discovery where the adolescent formed habits that could shape their lifetime, adding, that it was a time when students navigated through academic challenges, formed friendship and made decision that impacted their health and wellbeing.

She said the celebration of the week allowed stakeholders to appreciate the uniqueness of that phase and to reflect on the importance of the well-being of the adolescent and called on all stakeholders including parents to help the adolescent by providing the right guidance and support to create an environment where they felt safe, understood and encouraged to make healthy choices.

She called on the management of basic and senior high schools to encourage open conversation about health, address questions students may have and ensure that they are aware of the resources available whether through sports, clubs, counselling sessions, or educational programmes to support them to thrive.

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