For any parent, the idea of their teenage kids having sex is simply revolting. But if a recent report in the Sunday Nation is anything to go by, the problem is getting bigger with time and parents and the society as a whole have to confront this uncomfortable thought head on. Kids are having sex from as young as 13 years of age. The morning after pill (Emergency contraception) is the fastest moving over the counter drug in pharmacies especially over the weekends and on Mondays. That means they’re having unprotected sex. And they don’t need prescriptions to get these drugs. There’s the even more chilling allegation that there are fake pills in the market. That would in turn give rise to illegal backstreet abortions.
So teenagers have no business having sex but they’re having it anyway and then resorting to harmful and dangerous methods to prevent pregnancy. Why they’re starting to have sex so early is material for a whole different post. What is clear is that the abstinence before marriage gospel is mostly ineffective. It has been ineffective all these years for teenagers and older people alike. Obviously the gravest danger of unprotected sex is HIV. But it seems the kids are not looking at it that way.
There’s a bold concept among some parents out there. They know their youngsters are hormonal and are sexually active but other than adopting a hard stance which does not seem to work at all, they have embraced their daughters’ sexuality and are guiding them through birth control and condom use. Those who trust that their daughters are in a monogamous relationship have put them on the pill although condoms are most encouraged. Are the comfortable with that? No. Are they accepting the reality? Yes. The argument here is that they’d rather their kids had safe sex with their blessings and advice than unsafe sex under dangerous misinformed notions from fellow teenagers.
Judy (Not her real name) is such one parent. She had her first daughter at the tender age of 16 and she says she’d comfortably put her daughter through birth control at the same age. Not as permission to go out and have sex but as a safety measure so that the girl does not go through what she went through. She says that as a parent, she’ll feel more at ease knowing that her child is practicing safe sex under her guidance.
As another parent puts it, ‘I would not be comfortable with it because sex is not a decision that should be taken lightly. For the most part (and there are exceptions to everything), teenage boys and girls are impulsive and easily persuaded. There are too many young people getting pregnant and STD's. If teens were more responsible, there wouldn't be such a high rate of pregnancy and STD. So, I would not be comfortable with my teenage daughter having sex’.