Well! Enough of postponing.
I look at my 8 almost 9 years old daughter's melancholic and innocent eyes. My heart breaks with love. I observe her interests; she loves to read and play SIRO. I want her to remain a baby a little while longer. I abandon the talk I have been preparing to have since she refused to have me bathe her ages ago. Her teacher's accusing words ring again in my head “You parents are not talking to these kids! Hamuoni wanakuwa wakubwa?!!!”.
I shall begin. Not today though. One more week of waiting will not hurt or will it?
Next week, Saturday evening to be precise, I will call her to my room; or should I arrange for a daughter-mother Sunday afternoon date? You see! I am still postponing getting to the point. I shall give the talk yes and No, I will not talk to her about menstruation, tits, boys, sex, self-esteem, body-image, peer-pressure, pregnancy! Those are innocence breaking points.
I will start with safer grounds: Hygiene and Grooming. Now that sounds like something she has interacted with already. Please be gentle with me. Although I am a nurse and a public health practitioner, I still feel unprepared for the task of raising up a woman. I am grappling with the what, when and how to have “difficult” conversations. But why can it not be as straightforward as conceiving, attending pre-natal clinics, Lamaze classes, shopping, bringing them home and taking them for immunizations, breastfeeding for several months?
My son turns eleven in a few months. He confessed to me that he doesn't want to get into puberty. He has been listening to us, hearing people talk about and reading about puberty, he is decided that it cannot be a good thing for him. What of all the “hard-headedness” that comes with it? He hears that the hormones can turn even the most obedient, most disciplined boy into a monster who does not listen to authority. He is afraid that he will no longer be recipient to hugs, cuddles and kisses. “Mummy, you know I have realized that I do love hugs and cuddles. I wish I can be a child forever. Nowadays, I even look forward to receiving them from my grandparents”, he says. My heart breaks again, I have waited too long to find out the best way to support his transition into a teenager.
I do not wish for my children to learn from their teachers or their peers first about growing up. It would break my heart if they grew up wondering why their mother was too shy to tell them everything. I acknowledge my inexperience and wish to acquire the knowledge, wisdom, experiences and guidance of those who have gone ahead of me and successfully raised their pre-teens and teens into responsible healthy adults.
I wish to invite you to join me in this journey of raising our pre-teens and teens. This experience is for you if you wish to be proactive and have a hands-on approach to building a healthy meaningful relationship with your pre-teens and teens. If you are jittery about letting other people ‘talk’ to your child for you, then this program is for you. We are creating a community of parents who are not afraid to take the lead in imparting key life-skills and a solid emotional foundation for their pre-teens and teens. We are going to listen to, learn from and ask questions to a team of child psychologists, teachers and older parents and even the children themselves of what more we can give to our pre-teens and teens. Welcome to the Parenting Support Series and let us do this!