A counselling psychologist yesterday urged parents and communities to join efforts to end teen pregnancies.
Gladys Chania (pictured) from Thika yesterday said the problem is getting out of hand and society must wake up to the reality.
“Parents must start getting strict on their children. We are headed in the wrong direction if we let loose our young generation,” she said.
She told parents to talk freely to their children about sex and the dangers it poses on them.
“Developing a strong parent-child relationship is critical. If you don’t have time for your teens, they’ll seek comfort from other adults who might trick them and lead them to parenthood,” Chania warned.
She expressed concern that parents have abdicated their roles of nurturing their children. Many children end up adopting anti-social behaviour and find refuge in alcoholism and drugs abuse, she said.
“These substances greatly hurt their ability to logically think. They increase their chances of engaging in unprotected and unsafe sexual activity,” Chania said.
“Parents must start getting strict with the behaviours of their children. We are headed to the wrong direction if we let loose our young generation. I long for the days where every child belonged to society and anyone would caution or discipline children found in the wrong. Nowadays, things are different. Even pointing at them would land you in trouble. We have to bring back the ways that kept our society morally upright.”
Chania urged the government to empower people at the grassroots and tackle poverty, which has also been blamed for the rise in teenage pregnancies.
“Most teens who give birth or are expectant hail from humble backgrounds. They have been found vulnerable due to their low socioeconomic status,” she said.
If this is left unchecked, school dropouts will increase and create a society of young, uneducated parents, she said. Chania appealed to the Education ministry to come up with policies and roll out school programmes to guide learners.
Programmes like Nyumba Kumi and community policing should come up with measures to protect family lives.