PALAPYE: Pre-schools have been identified as one of the factors that contribute to children’s early involvement in sexual activities since it leads to early child separation from the parents.
The ministry of health (MoH) revealed this on Wednesday during the community leadership (Dikgosi) sensitisation workshop here.
When addressing Dikgosi, Lesego Mokganya from the Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) department stated that early separation with children by sending them to pre-schools contributes immensely to children getting out of the way and knowing about issues of sex at an early age. She said that a child should grow in a community.
“In the past, children went to school at the age of seven, at that age they were already taught principles by their parents, including other relatives from the extended family like uncles and aunts. Each family must have principles, so I call upon Dikgosi to go start building such principles at their families first before they can spread the message to the community,” said Mokganya.
She further encouraged the community leaders to start parental classes at their respective villages where they would call upon social workers to help them address the community on such issues.
She said they must discourage issues such as idleness whereby children are hired as housemaids and not allowed to engage in any household chores. She said young children who are raised like that could never learn anything since they cannot work.
Dikgosi were also urged to discourage giving children pocket money which parents do not take responsibility to ensure that such money is used wisely.
“As Batswana we don’t have principles in our families. We like copying what other people are doing although we belong to a country with a very rich culture. Charity begins at home. some children are raised in towns and parents would leave such children with televisions and cellphones; hence children will watch anything that they wish to without any restrictions from parents including pornography,” she added. According to Mokganya, children must be raised by their grandparents since they are old and wiser. She said one of the problems that the country will face is infertility since parents do not care
“These days women with men’s hormones are many and vice versa because parents fail to control what their children eat from an early age. That is why homosexuality is spreading in the country. As leaders of the people go and research about these hormones and let’s guide our children. United we stand, divided we fall,” Mokganya said. Another health worker, Gosata Gaeleswe from Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health said parents must discuss issues of sex with children as early as possible to avoid questions. She said in most cases children are not given a chance, but when they ask about such issues parents shout at them. “Open up to your children because once you deny them the chance to speak about issues of sex with you, they would consult their friends who would encourage them to experiment,” she said.
On their part, Dikgosi emphasised considering culture when raising the children. Most of the community leaders expressed unhappiness towards how today’s parents deny grandparents chances to raise the children.
Kgosi Mosalagae Galebone of Jamataka had this to say: “We must put God before everything and parents must come out of the comfort zone. These days children know everything so parents should as well open up to them and avoid secrets. Let’s put things straight but knowing what our culture dictates.” Another Kgosi, Mokhutshwane Sekgoma from Serowe also encouraged parents to raise their children in a cultural way but he wanted to know what the community leaders had done to ensure that where technology impacted the children there had been a difference.
Dikgosi were of the view that things have gone out of hand with the youth, but said things were messed up by the parents who could have taken responsibility to ensure that they raise children in a cultural way. They also outlined separation of parents and raising children as single parents as one of the reasons that lead to problems.