Expounding on the issue of the death of sports being the cause of so many bad happenings in our communities, I have spoken to a few people who said peer pressure is the cause of the death of sports. Apparently, young people find themselves battling to fit in to certain peer groups so they end up doing what the group does, be it good or bad. Some take drugs and other have unprotected sex just for a sense of belonging.

This is what Isabel (12) had to say: “Peer pressure effects everyone. It can either be good or bad, meaning negative or positive. I think it teaches us how to handle the challenges we come across in life and everyone has got the right to choose. You are either negatively or positively affected. But personally I think positivity is the way to go.”

Lebogang (26): “I’m one of those who have been negatively affected by peer pressure. I had a kid at a young age. I wanted so bad to fit into their group that I forgot what the essence of respect and self-respect meant. I stepped on the toes of everyone who was guiding me to the right direction. Now I have learnt that not everyone is your friend and fitting into a group is of no value, especially if it makes you lose your values.”

The clinics in rural communities are not youth-/user-friendly. So say the residents. Mostly young people. They say you will even get weird glances from patients queued up if you go near a box of condoms and get some.

“Sometimes you are even questioned by service providers as a young person going for family planning, especially when it’s the first time,” they say.

Apparently some don’t fall pregnant young because of irresponsibility but because of society. I personally believe that if we, in rural communities, can change the way we look at sex and sex education, things will be better. I believe if we can acknowledge that things have changed, and change our perception of things like relationships, be they romantic or child-parent, we will then be able to talk to our children about things we couldn’t talk to our parents about. We can build a relationship of trust whereby there is no amount of fear that can scare children from opening up to their parents about their relationships.

Young people are not open to parents and neither are parents to young people. There is a wall that was built and it exists in every generation, creating a generational gap, opening up a possibility of a generation misguided. In our attempt to close the generational gap, we need to be aware or admit that no matter how hard we may try to raise children right, we are not their only influence. Technology plays a big role in raising our children. They practise what they see on TV. Some engage in sexual activities because they have gadgets and data bundles giving them access to pornography. I know some parents may say one can have parental control over a child’s phone, giving parents control over what the child gets to download and what they don’t, but is every parent aware of that? Not everyone is technologically wise.

We have to teach young people that they have choices. We also have to make health services easily accessible to young people in an attempt to solve the issues arising amongst young people that are destroying them. I, for one, would find it hard to grab a pack of condoms if the condo-can was in the hallway or the waiting area in a clinic or hospital.


Tell us: Do you agree that parents need to have open conversations with their children?