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Love Life encourages parent-child dialogues

A group of youths in Johannesburg south between the ages of 15 and 24, shared their views on what hinders them from going to their parents with their daily issues.

The importance of being empowered to better discuss issues affecting individuals in their daily lives is essential to healthy parent/child relationships, also building the capacity to have a positive influence in shaping behaviour.

Youth focused organisation Love Life hosted the Born Free Dialogue (BFD) programme on September 6 at Rosettenville clinic, with the aim of encouraging communication between parents and their children, enabling them to open up about a range of important topics.

“Born Free Dialogue is an event that brings the parent and their children together to talk about issues affecting them on their day to day life, thus helping to bridge the gap,” explained Love Life groundBREAKER, Sindi Ntwayaborwa.
A group of youths in Johannesburg south between the ages of 15 and 24, shared their views on what hinders them from going to their parents with their daily issues.

The programme was designed to assist parents to efficiently demonstrate supportive parenting while enabling them to communicate openly with the youth about sex and other sensitive issues as well as to know how to give young in their care a sense of belonging, identity, purpose and in influencing the values that shape attitudes and sexual behaviours of different generations.

Rezona Muller (24) said that it all depends on the issue to be discussed and how she feels the information to be shared will affect her relationship her parents. “I wouldn’t say that I have an open relationship with either of my parents but there are certain things that I can discuss with them. Opening up changes the whole aspect of how you and your parents see each other.”

Rick-Ashley Thomas (24) is a father to two girls aged three years old and one-year-old from different woman. He believes that the best method of parenting is the methods which were used to bring up the older generation.

Keshny (16) and her friend Kecia (15) say that they wouldn’t dream of talking to an adult about their day to day issues because they believe adults have a tendency of passing the information told to them in confidence, on to other people, thereby creating an uncomfortable atmosphere for most teenagers.

Suzie van der Merwe, a parent from Townsview, said that she wants an open relationship with her children, almost like a friendship. Although Janet who is a parent of a Grade 1 learner from Townsview Primary School said that her daughter could talk to her about anything as long as it is limited to serious issues such as bullying or physical abuse, but when she’s a teenager she wouldn’t want to hear about relationship problems.

It is imperative that parents, also guardians, of minors are aware of the major issues that children are faced with in school, at home as well as in other environments which they are subjected to. Child Line listed bullying, corporate punishment, pornography and child pornography also ‘sexting’ as the major issues affecting children.

Knowing exactly what to look out for can make a great difference when a parent or guardian makes an effort to have those serious but informative talks with minors and teenagers. It’s been revealed on the Child Line website that recent reports on cellphone ‘sexting’ activities by young people suggest that parents and young people are ignorant of the fact that taking a sexually suggestive or semi-nude picture of oneself and sending it via cellphone to friends amounts to the creation, possession and distribution of child pornography.

According to Child Line, learners as young as twelve years old are reportedly exchanging salacious pictures and messages through their cellphones. Young people may think ‘sexting’ is fun but the consequences can be quite serious.
Should a person distribute nude pictures of underage children, you could be charged with distributing child pornography and also labelled as a sex offender.

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