Parents taught how to engage with children

SIYAVUYA KHAYA

Parents in Joe Slovo, Langa, have heaped-praise on a partnership between the Basedi organisation and the City of Cape Town’s social development department for empowering them with critical parenting skills.

On Saturday April 30, a group of children and parents gathered in Joe Slovo to mark the end of a six-month family strengthening programme, which equips parents with communicating skills, ways to engage with their children on matters relating to sex and sexuality, and better ways to instil discipline in their children.

It is hoped that the programme will prevent children from engaging in sexual activities at a young age.

It also encourages parents to be more involved in their children’s lives and establish a strong relationship between the two parties.

Phakama Yako, founder of Basedi, said the organisation was established last year to respond to an increase in teenage pregnancies, in Langa.

She attributed the increase to a lack of communication between parents and children. and said most parents were still reluctant to talk with their children about sex.

“I have found that many children would opt to seek knowledge from their peers because they were too scared to seek advice from their parents.

“Too often the advice the teens share among themselves is not really empowering them. But they would often encourage each other to engage in sexual acts under the term experiment without fully understanding the consequences,” she said.

“I think out of 10, only one parent would sit down and talk openly about this issue to a child.”

Ms Yako said the programme was solely dedicated to girls and women, adding that often girls were discriminated against when they fall pregnant.

She said most parents were sceptical about the programme and did not know how to approach the matter and discuss it with their children.

“Many parents fear that if they open up about this issue, they would encourage their children to experiment and think the best way to deal with this issue is to keep quiet and cross their fingers that their children would not fall pregnant.

“We need to talk about these issues because children these days are exposed to lot of things. Lack of knowledge would push them into the wrong direction,” she said.

Ms Yako added that parents needed to advise their children about the changes that would occur in their bodies and explain to them why they are suddenly growing body hair.

Nandipha Masina praised the initiative, saying she felt better equipped to advise her two daughters about puberty and sex.

“My eldest daughter is 12 years now and she is at that stage where she is growing pubic hair and growing breasts and this programme came at the right time for me.

“I always regarded this issue as a very sensitive topic, especially in front of my children, but now that I have gained more knowledge it is not difficult to talk about it,” she said.

Siphosethu Sobazile, 12, said she was grateful to have been part of the programme.

“The programme has taught us to focus on our school work and avoid being associated with friends that have bad influence and it has created a better relationship between me and my mother,” she said.