‘Well-balanced teens don’t come by chance’

KUCHING: The happiest teens are those who know the limits of what they can and cannot do, especially when the subject matter concerns sexuality.

This is the message Focus on the Family Sarawak, a non-governmental organisation, is bringing to some 70 teenagers who are participating in a two-day No Apologies workshop jointly organised with The Borneo Post, thesundaypost, See Hua Daily News and Utusan Borneo which started here yesterday.

The Borneo Post general operations manager Phyllis Wong, in her opening speech said, well-balanced teens with good moral upbringing did not come by chance, but through attentive parenting.

She said in Sarawak, births by those aged 11 to 19 years old in district and general hospitals had soared over the years and the number of cases involving abandoned babies were also worrying.

To a large extent, correct parental guidance can help teens avoid many of these pitfalls, she said.

Attentive parenting was not easy in this age of growing distractions - careers, hobbies and social events - and it was increasingly difficult for parents to make time for their teenagers, Wong said.

What more to talk to teenagers about sex, which was anxiety-provoking even for most confident parents, she added.

Wong said parents should be resourceful in the matter and consider Focus on the Family programmes which had proven itself effective in challenging teenagers to manage their sexuality in a healthy manner.

She believed that the fun and informative 12-hour workshop would be able to help teens develop the mental strength to resist all sorts of pressures to have premarital sex.

I sent my daughter to the workshop when she was 14 years old and there is a session on pillow talk that was really effective in bringing the message of the harms and risks of having sex before marriage.

And recently, Wong said she overheard her daughter telling her son about the pillow talk message.

The workshop would equip teenagers with the necessary skills and conviction to face the pressure that pull them to indulge in harmful sexual behaviour, and knowledge obtained would be beyond what was in ones textbook and classroom learning, she said.

Focus on the Family Sarawak coordinator Mathew Ling said having premarital sex had its consequences of which many had life-long effects.

Many treat sex as a desire. However, if one did not make a good decision, they could get trapped in a lot of problems, he said.

A variety of interactive activities were held during the workshop from 8.30am to 5pm yesterday.

Among them were video presentation featuring testimonies by those who were involved in premarital sex, seminar on healthy relationship among teenage couples and talks on media literacy and premarital sex consequences.

Today, the session would begin at 8.30am and among the topics to be discussed are HIV/AIDS, abstinence and marriage of which parents of the participants would be involved in the workshop.