Communication specialist and the editor of Teens Magazine, Mrs. Mercy Adjabeng, has advised that the approach to addressing adolescent upbringing should be a holistic one and not just centred around the adolescent alone as has always been the practice.
Mrs. Adjabeng noted that over a period of time the focus has always been on the adolescents, forgetting the role of the parents and teachers in the upbringing of these teenagers – hence the need for them to be empowered.
According to her, there is a lot of information that needs to be provided to teenagers on how to manage the obstacles through their transitional period – yet some of these teens do not get in touch with it. She said the needed information has to be provided to the teens first, then followed by those that matter in their daily life.
“If we do not provide the needed information for them, first of all; and then secondly for the parents, because they are supposed to be closer to them and with all those that deal with them – teachers, pastors, Sunday school teachers – all of them must be informed,” she said during a discussion on the topic ‘Challenges of Today’s Adolescents’.
Mrs. Adjabeng disclosed that her interaction with some teenagers as part of her plans to tackle adolescent issues exposed her to information that left her in a state of shock – describing the situation as being very dire.
Of Ghana’s thirty-one million population, 14.7 million are adolescents between the ages of 10-19 years according to the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS).
Touching on adolescents battling with Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), she explained that a lot of them are not aware they are living with these infections – which were not contracted through sexual activities but through mother to child infection.
“Do you know that there are a lot of adolescents living with HIV? A lot of them are living with it, and for some of them it is not because they were promiscuous. A lot of them contracted it before the mother to Child Prevention Programme was instituted, so they got it from their mothers,” she noted.
She added that some of these adolescents are in school and need to be on medication, but they are leaving without receiving any treatment. She reiterated that keeping them informed as to what to do is very key.
Mrs. Adjabeng called on the adolescents to allow peer pressure to bring out the positive things they possess, and make a difference with their talents rather than getting influenced negatively.