The Central Regional Director of the Department of Gender, Mama Awotsu Adzagba II, has asked parents to develop cordial relationships with their adolescents to be able to protect them from risky sexual decisions and behaviours.
Mama Adzagba noted that many of the adolescents wished for more cordial and interactive relations with their parents and guardians rather than acrimonious ones which she noted tended to push them into often dangerous relationships.
Mama Adzagba made this known when she was speaking with the Community Parents Advocacy Network Group (COPNAG) at Ajumako Bebiani in the Ajumako Enyan Essiam (AEE) District.
The COPNAG is a parents network set up with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to help improve parent- adolescent relationships to help build stronger family bonds and consequently better communities.
She said parents must not only ensure that the physical needs of their adolescents were provided but also support them with their psychological and emotional needs.
Mama Adzagba observed that many adolescents had fallen victim to sexual abuse while others continued to suffer in silence because parents did not have good relationships with them.
“Many of our daughters are being sexually abused by men they trust and are suffering in silence because they cannot communicate these to their parents. This must be corrected, and as parents we must get it right," she stated.
Adolescent stage critical
Mama Adzagba said the adolescent stage was critical and it was important that parents learnt new ways of dealing with adolescents that would enable them to open up to them.
She further urged parents to desist from sending their pregnant adolescents to stay with the men who impregnated them, saying that amounted to child marriages and was an offence under the law.
The Central Regional UNFPA Focal Person, Mr Alan Paintsil, for his part, advised the parents to ensure that all their children of school age were enrolled and supported in school.
He noted that education made a great difference and was a status leveller, saying as natural custodians of their children, parents owed it a responsibility to support their children’s development and well-being.
The AEE District Director of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Mr Alex Kobina Afful, urged the parents to report all cases of sexual abuse against their children to the police for redress.
He said children had the right to life, education, socialisation and opinion and advised parents to create healthy environments where children were free to express themselves.
A nurse from the AEE District Directorate of Health, Ms Alice Ansong, encouraged parents to be mindful of their children’s reproductive health and hygiene as they transited from childhood to adulthood to help avoid health problems in future.
There was also another meeting with the COPNAG at Ajumako Besease where parents pledged to amend their ways and adopt a more open relationship with their adolescents.