Parents, teachers urged to pay equal attention to needs of adolescent boys

The Boy Child Support Care Foundation, a non-governmental organisation oriented to boys’ development, has urged guardians and teachers to devote equal attention to the needs of male adolescents.

The Foundation said that adolescent boys, like girls, were vulnerable and required the same psychosocial support as their female counterparts.

Ms Korama Yamoah, Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation, emphasised this at a session on mental health and general well-being at Kwabenya Atomic M/A Basic School in Accra.

The session coincided with this year’s International Day of the Boy Child. It was on the theme ‘Mental Health and Well-being of the Boy Child.’

Every year on May 16, the Day is observed to address difficulties that boys experience, such as child labour, gender inequality, poverty, and a lack of access to education.

About 150 Junior High School Students joined the discussion, which focused on healthy nutrition, exercise, personal hygiene, and other social and child development concerns.

Speaking on t
he sidelines of the event, Ms Yamoah noted that many public discussions were skewed toward issues affecting girls and women to the detriment of adolescent boys.

She underscored the importance of ‘keeping an eye’ on boys at home and school because they dealt with personal challenges.

Ms Yamoah observed that some single parents left teenage boys to fend for themselves because they were deemed ‘masculine enough.’

That approach, she stated, was unproductive because some children engaged in ‘appropriate behaviours.’

She urged the students to refrain from social vices like gambling and smoking and called on community members to support the overall development of the boy child.

Ms Yamoah said the organisation was forming community boy clubs and embarking on other educational initiatives to help nurture and guide adolescent boys on the right path.

Mr Ernest Sarpong, a physician assistant who led the discussion, urged the students not to ‘suppress their emotions’ and to express their grievances appropriately.

Parents, guardians and teachers should know that adolescent boys go through different transformational stages of their live… they should remember that their emotions are valid and should not be swept under the carpet,’ he stated.

Mr Emmanuel Laryea, the School Head, praised the Foundation for the effort, indicating that the discussions would be extended as teachers continued to impact the students positively.

He also urged parents and teachers to take mental health issues seriously and to engage students on the subject at a tender age, stressing that ‘When we start early, we will be able to deal with some of the deficiencies in time.’

Ms Diana Tandoh, the Foundation’s Programmes Manager, urged parents to do everything they could to assist adolescent boys grow and attain their full potential, just as girls are prioritised.

She said the organisation would roll out similar programmes to help teenage boys realise their full potential.

‘It is always about the girls and women, but it is time we level up and pa
y attention to our boy.

‘Boys need encouragement and help when it comes to mental health…They need to talk about their problems and have all the help that the girls are getting,’ she stated.

Source: Ghana News Agency