June 2009
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Day June 20, 2009

Should teens be given contraceptive advice?

The question posed is only a tip of the icebug.  The bigger question is:  Should we as parents talk to or teach our children, especially teenagers about being sexually active? And contraceptives become part of this question and/or answer.
Seriously, this is a topic many of our great grand parents and possibly parents never had to worry about.  For example in my culture, the measure for a young girl to have involvement with a man was when she had her first period.  Then the parents and relatives would know she can rear children and got her a husband.  Sex outside marriage was unheard of then.
Then came the missionaries.  They opened up schools first for only boys.  Then when the boys were men and ready to marry, they had to marry illiterate girls/wives.  Then they extended the schooling and opened up schools for girls as well. My mother went to some of the schools but did not stay long before the pressure to get married was imposed on her in the culture.  My father on the other hand went very far because boys were not inhibited like girls.
When my mother had us, her creed in my family and my father’s was education, education, education and learning for life.  As farmers we invested everything earned into education.  There was no free education then.  No one talked to any of us about being sexually active or not.  We all knew however that to stay in school, boy or girl especially girl YOU HAD TO ABSTAIN and focus on the education your parents are paying for.
Realistically, young people ages 15 to 24 already have the urge to be sexually involved; some even earlier.  Yet the pressure to stay in school, go to college and be able to be earning adults is on them as well.
If this was an ideal world, I would love to tell my 15 year old to abstain; 24 year old to abstain till you get a job and find MR. OR MISS RIGHT, but that may not do either of us any good.
I strongly believe that Mothers and Fathers, should teach the children first the importance of education by sending them to school and instisting on super grades.  Then as they grow before age 15 talk about the attraction between girls and boys and let them know it is normal part of growing up but——————– with school and future carrier they are better of abstaining.  Then they are guaranteed two things no reproduction and the responsibility that follows and putting a stop to career dreams.  Then, the parents can also add, if you absolutely have to be active let us know, so we can give you some help like contraceptives.
But they need to know, that the contraceptives are not safe. Sometimes one can use them and still get pregnant.  Again the best deal is abstainance.  Both girls and boys need to know that they cannot keep having sex with everyone they date.  Just how many partners will they sleep with before they say I do?  They also need to know the deseases involved when people get sexually active.  You would even show them pictures if YOU can find them.  For girls contraceptives could interfere with child bearing at a later age.  A girl having sex at age 15  or even earlier, while the body is still growing add on the chemicals/contraceptives; it could affect their ability to reproduce down the line–could become infertile [off course the pharmacuticals will never tell them this]  You the parent must bring it up.  There is also a possibility of having children with defects.  I have watched American women who have children late in life have children with all kinds of syndromes.  No one will tell them it could be the contraceptives they have been on for years.  It is my guess work.  On the contrary I have seen girls dropping out of school and having children early.  The children are healthy unless the teen used street drugs, but the teenage mother is ignorant/illiterate, and has to go back to school to provide a future for the child and herself.  Prez Obama wants many of them back in skilled schools because they are on welfare burdening the taxpayer for so long and making more babies to have a bigger check.
Basically, my people, there are no easy answers to this question, but the longer you the father and the mother can manage to impress upon your son or daughter to abstain the better off they will focus on their future.  If they have to get involved, knowing the risks first hand from you the mother, the father is phenomenal.  Forewarned is forearmed.  It helps with morals as well.  If a young man or woman gets active so early, in life just how many people would they have taken in secret before they say I do?  And what is the guarantee that they will be faithful to one man or one woman having gotten used to advanturing so early in life with all types?
Well, well! Snap out of it!  Who said parenting is easy? Get on it and do your best, dear father, dear  mother.  It is still doable.  YOU are doing it and no one expects YOU to be perfect.  Just do your best, starting today.
Have the best weekend ever!  If YOU are a father, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY THIS WEEKEND! We appreciate what you are doing, raising your children for tomorrow’s Uganda.
Assumpta Mary Kintu
Ugandan in USA
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