GABORONE – Botswana’s children want to hear more about the important issues in life from their parents. This is according to focus groups run throughout the country, which identify that children do not believe their parents speak to them as much as they want to be spoken to about issues such as sex, their bodies, violence and more.
Children, particularly those aged 9-16 years, are exposed to increasingly more media and information than their peers in the past. From here lays learnings, good and bad, on a variety of issues which influence children in their formative pre-teen and teen years; however, the role and influence of a parent is, in many ways, the best and most substantive towards meaningful growth.
A re bueng le bana ba rona.… we want all Batswana to recognise and understand that we empower our children more and better equip them for brighter futures when we take time to talk to them about the big issues. They need to hear from their parents and guardians on matters that have a significant impact on their lives. Studies show that children who are engaged by their parents in this way regularly and effectively have better adolescent outcomes.
Some of the ways parents can approach talking to children include the following:
- Creating safe environments for children to be honest and open
- Making clear that children can trust their parents/guardians
- Allowing meal-time conversation to focus on current issues in the world and the community
- Asking children what they know and want to know about sex and their bodies, about health, about appropriate and inappropriate behaviours
- Asking children if they understand their rights and sharing these simply
- Listening as well as talking, so that children feel heard
Children are more able to confidently navigate and deliver positive behaviours, life practices and futures when we create platforms for dialogue and progressive action for and with them. It is time to change the narrative our children face. A re bueng …
A re bueng is a campaign that is part of PEPFAR’s Faith and Communities Initiative, brought to us by the United States Government and NAHPA. It encourages us to have conversations that matter.