As we get into a season when students are not piled with school work and have time to spend with those they love, you will return to school with fun memories or regrets.
Growing up, I was running on the wet floor. My aunt would say, "Bitangira useka bikarangirira mu marira" meaning it starts with laughter and ends in tears.
As an adult, I understand more and more what this saying means because no matter how many warnings she would give me to stop running, I only stopped in tears after slipping and getting hurt.
Sometimes we live in a moment and forget that much like Newton’s third law of motion, every action indeed does react or in our case, a consequence.
As young people from high school or university are going on break, being given free time to relax and spend time with their friends and families can open door for more and more time with their boyfriends or girlfriends.
Some parents have found solutions to this, forbidding their children from leaving the house at all.
This can be effective for some time but could influence the young person to jump the gate, invite their boyfriend/girlfriend over to the house, and more outwits they can use to meet.
Try the tips below and thank me later
1. As a parent or guardian, you can find a healthy way to occupy their time out of school like helping them find safe hobbies, games, and safe environments to replace parties and other engagements that might land them in trouble.
This way, they are not bored to find other ways to stimulate excitement in their free time that may lead to regret.
Sign them up for something fun, learning how to play an instrument, an internship may be, and such to use their time in more productive ways.
2. Spend time with your children as grown as they might be. There is no age where a person will not need guidance and love from their family.
Many go to find affection elsewhere because where they should be getting it is unavailable.
As a parent, if you are never home or make time for your children, they will be sure to find other people who will pay attention to them.
This season is meant for love and family, showing your children that you care, listen to them and pay attention to their concerns.
3.This holiday season, parents should have conversations with their children, be teenagers or mature adults in university or even graduates, and have a sit-down.
Teach them how to protect themselves because the goal is not always to protect the children but to be confident that they can differentiate between right and wrong.
Locking them in the house is not the solution but rather a reason for them to want to explore as much as possible anytime they leave the house.
Abstinence should not be the only route you present. You can hope that they are celibate, but it is still your responsibility to tell them everything with the love of a parent.
4. If you are a movie fanatic, you have heard of “the birds and bees” from most teenage movies, a title given to a conversation about sex. This can be in school or at home.
I’m not quite sure what the Rwanda version is somehow. I skipped this conversation.
I know I am not the only one that was left with questions, having parents or guardians who can answer them helps to avoid unplanned outcomes.
So, take time to explain to your children, no matter how old they are, and be open enough to welcome questions and strive to be the person to confide in.
5. For all the students and young people in general, the excitement and giddy feeling of spending time with your partner is understandable.
If you are lucky enough to find an adult comfortable enough to share their experience, you will notice a few familiarities.
A new relationship is always exciting, especially as a young person, hoping that you find your forever person, sad that some of these relationships do not last and you will avoid each other.
Allow yourself to learn more about relationships, and do not fall for pity or manipulative sex.
Your partner should not bully you into having sex if you feel that you are not ready.
No one should tell you that having sex with them shows that you care or that it will strengthen your love, or tell you that they will start sleeping around because you wish to remain celibate.
Love does not have to be physical. You can fall in love with someone through text, conversation, sharing music, and going out to eat, all while retaining your boundaries.
If you are ready for sex, let your partner know before you start acting and doing things that might scare them.
Keep in mind that just because you are ready does not mean that your partner is as well.
If you are both ready, then it is time to do the much-needed research on what to do to keep you and your partner safe.
There is a risk that neither of you learned about protection or birth control in school or at home. So, it is your responsibility to research if you have lingering questions or talk to a gynecologist.
Before this, ask yourself if you are really ready emotionally and psychologically.