A Tiktok video circulated on social media of three schoolgirls in uniform, probably in high school four or six, recording themselves and warning married women that they would be coming to their husbands after the holidays.
In some WhatsApp groups I belong to, it got some married women talking, with some rejecting them and others challenging them. Some men in the groups were naturally (predictably) excited. The girls might or might not have bluffed for fun, but they may not be fully aware that HIV/AIDS is still around. I want to believe the first.
Holidays can be stressful moments for all parents, especially when the children return from boarding school. They’re probably used to an empty nest, but now they’re back and space is being shared again. How do you stay healthy and give them the vacation they deserve?
After watching this video I thought for a moment that these girls probably don’t have parents to guide them or if they do they are uninvolved or if they are involved they have given up and if they have given up, don’t they know what their daughters do depends on… As teenagers try to find a foothold in their growth process, parents need to get involved smartly and creatively. They internally ask questions, and while you, as a parent, are not their first port of call, they need to know that you are available to listen to them, just in case. Engage them and intentionally spend some time with them and invest in getting to know them on a personal level. Remember, it’s not just about bodies; they have feelings and thoughts.
Help them acquire a skill
Vacation is a long time wasted doing nothing. Why not keep them busy with productive endeavors that channel their youthful energy while they master a skill? Pay for a swim class, music lesson, or boot camp, or if you have a business or job that gives you some freedom to have them present, hang them up when you go to work. In some cases, if you can, find them a small gig that will earn them some money so that when they move to the next level in their academic life, they can support themselves from their savings for at least a while.
Children on vacation can be a nuisance in the community if left unregulated. They can hang around for no particular purpose because they have plenty of time on their hands. If you have been to Kampala during the holiday season, you will notice crowded streets and shopping malls during this time.
Regulating your freedom means setting limits. For example, give people who are almost or around 18 a degree of freedom to go out with their friends on the condition that they have done some chores, are away for specific reasons, and will be back by around 6 p.m and they should let you know where they are at all times. Also, set rules to keep your home clean (they can be messy, sloppy, and disorganized). But remember, it’s Christmas time, the happiest month of the year, and you don’t want to stress them out when they come home to rest and have fun.
Don’t let the maid do all the housework. You’d better give your children some work too. They won’t always have someone working for them (at your expense), but they will always have some work to do for themselves. Kids work well with routines, so schedule them into a daily rhythm so they take turns doing chores each day. Give them some autonomy to make decisions about their home, such as what meals they eat.
Teenagers tend to have big appetites because their bodies are growing fast. They need a lot of nutrients and energy to maintain them. You want them to eat a balanced diet and be happy at the same time. Since they often look for good food at home, one way to do this is to stock up on non-perishables early enough so that you can always supplement them with perishables as you wish.
Create a budget and stick to it
Holidays can cause your spending to skyrocket if you don’t plan well. Times are tough and every cent should count. Teach your kids how to save money on appliances, utilities, groceries and laundry. We are church people so some relatives find this time of year a good time to visit. You may want to include them in your budgeting or, if you are unable to, politely decline. Also keep in mind that your kids will be promoted to the next grade and that means it will cost you more money so it is in your interest and theirs to be frugal.
If you live in communal spaces such as apartments, staff quarters, estates, or rental apartments, there is a lot going on behind the scenes in those places that could harm your children, such as rape, defilement, drug and alcohol use due to peer pressure. Always warn and warn your children about potential dangers in the neighborhood.
For example, teach them not to visit their friends of the opposite sex unaccompanied or at inconvenient times, and reject anything that goes against the values you always taught them at home. Also get to know her friends and her parents; it is a safety net for affected children and parents.
Don’t forget that you need plenty of self-care this season because stress can be real if not managed well. Balancing work and family is not easy. You don’t want to burn out. Go out with friends, go to the gym and spend your private time alone. Your children will thrive if they have a healthy parent.