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Parents, church urged to care for vulnerable teens

Published:Wednesday | June 11, 2014 | 12:00 AM

PARENTS ARE being urged to be more tolerant towards their children who may fall within vulnerable groups in society.

Speaking with The Gleaner following a Church Leaders and Pastors' HIV Conference held recently, Juliet Hall, discrimination reduction technical officer at the National Family Planning Board, said there have been cases where teenagers are left homeless as a result of being diagnosed with HIV, along with encountering other critical issues.

"Some reports that we have received show that once a child has reported that they are HIV positive or that they are gay, they are kicked out on the streets. For many youths, this has been their reality because of the stereotypes associated with those issues," Hall said.

She added: "The home should be a safe space and parents should know how to deal with their children. If you find out that your child is participating in an act that you don't necessarily agree with, the response should not be to put them out. Instead, that child needs to be sensitised as to the risks associated with a particular action, and work with them accordingly.

"By putting that child out, that's no way of showing love, and caregivers must understand that teenagers go through different stages. And whether or not these cycles have to do with deviant sexual behaviours, we must be able to deal with our young people."

Stopping discrimination

She also called on the Church to do more in curtailing discrimination in the society.

"As a church, we also need to encourage and sensitise members on social issues. I'm not saying that the Church has tolerated this behaviour, but I don't think the Church is addressing it, and I believe they can play a more vibrant role in the issue of discrimination," she said.

Hall also called for special attention to be given to men in the country in helping them to overcome fear.