Absence of Patriarchal Figure Affecting Behaviour of Adolescents


Marge Roper of the Counselling Service, National Family Planning Board, has said that the absence of a patriarchal figure in the home, is contributing immensely to the increasingly risky behaviour of adolescents.
Citing research, the Counsellor told JIS News, that while the adolescent years are challenging and often characterised by identity issues, sexual activity is likely to start earlier in children with absentee fathers.
She also noted that boys with absentee fathers “usually start smoking earlier, start having sexual activity and engaging in delinquent activities earlier,” than those who live with both parents.
“Sometimes we tend to look at them as being bad and doing things that they ought to know better than doing; but really, sometimes they are at a disadvantage, because they did not grow up with a father and did not have that male dominance in the home,” she explained.
The Counsellor said that girls also need to have that dominant male figure in their lives, to help “reassure them and to teach them how they really should be treated by a male.”
Many adolescents, she pointed out, tend to grapple with identity issues, as they search for a sense of belonging, adding that this sometimes causes them to become vulnerable and fall prey to negative peer pressure. This situation and others, she said, place them at a higher risk. In girls, she noted, such negative influences might be in the form of early sexual activity, which sometimes lead to teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
To reduce such high risk behaviours, the Counsellor is urging teens to “find someone in whom they can confide to discuss their problems and desist from engaging in early sexual activity.”
“Talk to them about the way you feel and help them to help you to strengthen your self image and help you to feel positive about yourself. Find the positives and enhance them,” she advised, adding that, “early sexual activity does not help in any way. You may end up feeling more terrible than before.”
Located at 5 Sylvan Avenue, Kingston 5, the Marge Roper Counselling Service, targets persons in the reproductive age group. It provides them with easy access to information and counselling on Family Planning and Family Life Education issues.

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