How modern parenting is turning our children into creatures of lust

Teenage pregnancies are now a national crisis. It took the national exams season for Kenyans to realise that we now have a major crisis in our hands. Most of us have been burrowing our heads in the sand hoping that this issue will magically disappear while all along we might even have been contributing to the problem.

Let us start off with the simple fact that we like to ignore - our children, and particularly the girls are becoming women way faster and way earlier than they used to in the past. We all know that most of us like to deal with the ghosts from our upbringing by splurging on our children. Since most of us grew up in households where goodies such as chocolate, pizza, soda were rarely sighted, we have decided that these foods will become staples in our houses.

We refuse to entertain the thought of feeding our children foods such as githeri, muthokoi since we feel that we have come too far, made too many sacrifices for us to be eating peasant food. I hear that these ‘posh’ foods and soft living are a major contributor to our young ones hitting puberty even before they are well into their double-digit birthdays.

We are often too consumed with the rat race and/or the social scene that we have little time to ensure our children are sufficiently exercised so that the calories they consume do not become adolescent adipose.

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Hard to miss

The evidence is hard to miss - children barely in their teens who have adult-sized curves, thoraxes and behinds.

While most us acknowledge that they are growing up too fast, we become somewhat naïve and hypocritical in assuming that they will not fall prey to the usual hormone-fueled temperaments and desires. We cannot believe that our doe-eyed girls and boys at 11 or 12 are constantly thinking of sex and how to get it. Based on the recent news, it is clear our innocent children are getting more action than many adults.

To add to the above denial and hypocrisy, many of us have opted to conveniently hide behind religion and morality to avoid the real sex education conversation. It has become a tad monotonous to hear the usual lectures and liturgies about sex before 18 and sex before marriage. 

Threats of burning in hell for eating the forbidden fruit have failed to tame carnal desires of our youth - so maybe we need a new roadmap. Nowadays, parents like to throw money at the teenage sex problem as they shuttle teens through camps and workshops that promise to help teens tame their loins.

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In those rare instances where parents have the “sex talk” they still use the scary approach their parents used - sex is bad, sex will get you pregnant; focus on your education. How welcome or relevant can this be for teens who spend almost every waking moment thinking of sex or something close to it. Most of us might not like it, but perhaps it is time we did away with the morally correct advice and told the teens the real truth about sex.

We need to tell them that sex and sexual urges are wired into our DNA, and so they need to find a way to manage their desires in a way that does not lead them into emotional heartbreak, health calamities or bringing a new life (and additional responsibility into their lives).  Maybe we should become gutsy and tell them – get laid if you must but also be ready to deal with any consequences of your actions.

This teenage crisis is a rude awakening for most of us to realise that we are reaping what we sowed.

Most parents embraced the advent of PayTV and the internet seeing them as ways to keep children entertained and occupied - especially because we often get tired of dealing with our own children. Parents go to extra lengths and burst bank accounts to buy the latest fashion and gizmos for their juniors as prescribed by TV and the internet.

They like parading their Hannah Montana lookalike daughters decked in spaghetti tops and tights who have picked up the art of pouting their glossed lips better than Nicki Minaj. These same parents beam with joy during family outings when their little ones shake and twist their waists and groins in dancing competitions. Now these little ones have grown up and they are eager to put their now flexible groins into their rightful use. It should not surprise anyone that our teens see every opportunity to show off as much flesh as possible - since they learnt rather early how to ooze sex.

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We are now pontificating and expressing righteous indignation at runaway teenage pregnancies while we were willing accomplices in turning out tiny tots into creatures of lust.

No amount of reminiscing about morality back in the day or blaming others will stop the mess we are in: parents must take the lead in fixing it. - [email protected]

Teenage PregnancyParentingEarly Pregnancy