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Young people need help

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By Yetunde Arebi

Hi, With the turn of the millennium, so many things have also taken a turn in our lives, yea society. Sex once discussed in hushed tones is now being hawked on the streets. Everywhere you turn, you see sex staring you in the face.

Nigerian youths

And it is not sex as we used to know it. Or perhaps, some of us are a bit naive. The first time I saw the word ‘fisting’, my brain failed to process it. It took my then 19 year old son to explain it to me. Now there is a name for all kinds of sex, from what they say is kinky sex all the way to the abominable, such that things once perceived as inappropriate or impossible have now almost become the norm.

It has even become trendy for us to identify and associate with these acts in order to be considered cosmopolitan and enlightened. For, once upon a time, homosexuality (gay and lesbian sex) was taboo, a desecration of the land.

Sodomy, incest and bestiality were once scaled as high level dehumanisation and immorality that must be atoned for. Today, the story has changed. We are now negotiating for rights to be left in peace to openly practice these abominable acts.

Religion used to be our ‘hide all’ secret place where we raise our values to the alters, albeit behind one finger as our hypocrisy stinks to the heavens. Unfortunately, this has been desecrated too as the hot topic for discussion on the pulpit and other worship centres is now sex. How to have great sex!! Though we love to pretend as usual that these messages are reserved for the singles and married, our conscience and intelligence tells us that these messages are accessible to all, both young and old regardless of any status.

Our focus has shifted from the messages of salvation and preparation of the soul for the afterlife, to mundane earthly issues, many religious institutions even crossing the line of decency. Or how would one describe that went down with Bobrisky at a coronation cum fund raising event organised by a mosque in Oyo state.

In the video which went viral for a few days, the MC/Imam/Alfa at the event extolled the virtues of Bobrisky who donated a whooping N500,000 to the project, and telling us that the guy is only plying his trade. The Mosque forgot about Islamic teachings at that moment. It also forgot the impact such a comment could have on the general public and indeed our young ones.

Yes, in our hypocrisy we forget that children learn more from what they see adults do rather than what they are told by adults to do. We ask them to close their eyes or turn away from the television screen when programmes with sexual contents are aired, simply because many of us do not know how to use our TV remote controls effectively, (setting parental control) or are too lazy to be bothered switching it back and forth. So, we safely assume (for the sake of our own sanity/hypocrisy) that the children would adhere to our instructions when we are not around and stick only to the cartoon channels. Unfortunately, many parents don’t even know that not all cartoons are suitable for children viewing unsupervised.

With our knowledge and approval, our underage kids, some as young as 10 years are on several platforms on Social Media, especially Facebook. They sign in as adults and begin to make friends with all manner of strangers, sometimes adults who their parents don’t even know about. Here they have unhindered access to information much out of their scope and can freely discuss adult issues. For many of these children, their knowledge of the world is far beyond their ages and sometimes, our own comprehension. Though as parents, we love to pretend that our children are the best behaved, innocent,    pure, little saints and incapable of doing wrong, except when influenced by other people’s bad children. Pray, who are these bad children?

However, a couple was woken up from their parental slumber recently when the mother arrived home earlier than planned to find their quiet, loving 14 year old son, so engrossed in masturbation.    Recounting their astonishing experience in a message posted on WhatsApp, the mother said she almost killed herself on discovering her son’s new past time game.

According to her, “he was moaning and licking his fingers and the wall. He would rub his penis on the wall. I also noticed he had beside him a bottle of coconut oil I had been looking for. He kept putting the oil on his penis”. This lady described herself and her husband as godly parents who had brought up their children very well and wondered where they had gone wrong in their parenting.

On questioning, the young lad had this to say according to the mother. “After praying with him, we asked him how he knew about masturbation. He said he watched pornographic movies on our phones. We were shocked. Hubby flew into a rage, but I calmed him. I told my son how, since we didn’t have pornographic movies on our phones. But my son said he watched it online through the browser on our phones. He said he usually went into his bathroom to watch it to avoid us and his little brothers and he had been doing it for three years.

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I was surprised. No wonder, he disappeared all the time. I remember certain times we would be looking for our phones. So it was all our fault that we didn’t buy him a phone, yet we gave him unlimited access to our phones”. Fortunately for the family, the father is a medical doctor.

So he immediately sprung to action, examining his son. “Hubby   came to our room later and told me he examined (he is a doctor) our son’s penis and he noticed the veins are already weak due to constant mishandling and that our son confessed that he was already addicted to masturbation. We decided to take him through counselling and prayers to help him stop”.

I hope this young man would be healed of his addiction without too much damage. The truth is that we cannot stop talking about all these issues with our children. Their sources for information on almost any subject are so wide unlike in our days. And above all, we must say it to them as truthfully as possible.

If the above family was lucky to walk away from their experience without much scars, the family in the next story were not. I stumbled on them at the hospital a few weeks ago. It was impossible to pretend not to hear the discussion and the issue of dispute. The woman, obviously the mother of the little girl aged six that had been brought in for examination, was wailing and accusing her husband of ruining her life and that of her daughter.

Initially, I thought the man, whom I later discovered is the husband of the wailing lady and father of the little girl, had sexually abused her. But I soon got the gist. The young boy sitting beside the man, coincidentally also aged 14, was the culprit.

He’d confessed on interrogation and based on the statement of the little girl, that he had been having sex with her for several months. The little girl had also revealed that she was not the only one as the other girls were active participants.

The little girl revealed that he told her he was teaching her what she would be doing with her future husband. The sad part of the story was that all four kids involved are siblings. The first three children were from the man’s estranged wife while the little girl is the child of the current woman of the house. As expected, she refused to be pacified, declaring that the boy could no longer live under the same roof with her and her child.

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It was not my call as I had gone to the hospital with my own problems. But I could not help but think over the unfortunate situation. The dilemma of a father faced with the decision that may have adverse effect on the family over what could have been avoided. Justified as the new wife might be, for she has a responsibility towards her little daughter, she might not be able to carry out her threat for some reasons. Besides, were the boy to be her biological child, would she disown him for his actions?

The boy might not know any better since he’d been sexually active with his two younger sisters prior to introducing his half sister to the game. I think more than anything else, the boy needs counselling. He needs prayers and he needs to be educated about sex, responsibilities and societal expectations.

He needs love and genuine parental bonding to help him through the change period. The good thing being that they are all minors, else he could be accused of rape.

With the manner sex is ravaging our homes, communities, breaking trusts and destroying relationships, it is high time we take another look at what we are doing as a people and as parents. The need to know cannot be over emphasised, just as there must be targeted counselling on the implications of sexual activities. Children already have too much information at their disposal. You will be surprised what a typical three year old knows about sex already.

What she does not know is how to harness all the information, interpret and use it to protect herself. We cannot afford to put parenting on autopilot any more. Young people are now endangered species, all thanks to us. There is almost no safe haven anywhere. At the schools, they are prone to abuse from teachers and care givers.

At the places of worship, pastors, alfas and imams prey on their faith to molest them. The home is sometimes not better as some parents have fallen from the place of grace that God placed them. And out there is a society ready to devour. Nevertheless, the ball still rolls back to the feet of parents and guardians. We must help these young people.

Do have a wonderful weekend!!

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