It is traditionally and historically expected from Moroccan children to obey their parents and show respect to them no matter what, especially among conservative families and communities. Unfortunately, this respect and obedience usually exaggeratedly turn into a form of reverence to a point of drawing a barrier between the two parts, one that averts efficacious instructive, educative communication.
Raising kids requires incessant listening, negotiating, guiding, explaining, convincing, observing, monitoring, mentoring, among others. A large number of Moroccan parents, however, mistakenly draw red lines between them and their kids with respect to particular topics such as relationships, love, sex, religion, and other taboos. The kids, therefore, grow up ignoring several crucial facts mandatory for their personality growth and for life as a whole or they find out about them from other sources -in an altered way sometimes- namely, from friends, websites, personal experiences, etc.
Massive numbers of children and teenagers in particular encounter countless situations in which they find themselves not knowing how to deal with them such as sexual desires and needs, as when they feel attracted to someone or when someone is attracted to them, or when they question God, religion, injustice, certain seemingly weird religious rituals, and the like.
There happen to be cases in which all that a kid needs is merely a single tip, as when a young little girl (from a conservative family) is having her periods for the first time. It is inadmissible to learn that in such situations many girls in Morocco find no one to tell them what to do.
The presumable social repercussions this flawed relationship could engender are calamitous, with an immense risk of these poor kids ending up victims of child abuse, rape, molestation, abduction, or getting into prostitution, organized crime, inducement into religious conversion, or religious extremism.
The rates of child sexual abuse in Morocco, for instance, are scary. A 2015 report by the coalition against sexual abuse of children (COCASSE) has found that 70 children are sexually abused every day in the North African kingdom. A report published on voanews.com estimated that single mothers in Morocco abandon over 6,000 babies at birth each year, giving birth to deeply graver social problems.
Many people erroneously presume that this flawed relationship based on shyness and taboos stems from religion. A quick review of Islamic religious teachings, though, reveals that Islam, which is the predominant religion in the country, endorses openness, dialogue, and audacity in dealing with sex, love, beliefs, etc. Numerous hadiths reflect this openness. A lot of which address the issue of sexual intercourse in marriage, how to start it, and how to end it as well! For instance, in a hadith, the Prophet said: “No one among you should have sex with his wife like animals; rather there should be a messenger between them.” When asked about the messenger, he said, “It means kissing and talking. The Qur’an even mentioned sexual positions! Islam openly addresses love, physical attractiveness, puberty, menstruation, marital infidelity, fornication, prostitution, homosexuality, how to perform ablution from impurity, etc. All are tackled in the Qur’an and the hadith.
So, where do these taboos emanate from? The answer is plain to see: culture. Those taboos are cultural, not religious. The Moroccan cultural perception of the parent-child relationship bars parents from broaching those topics with their kids.
Very seldom do we encounter Moroccan parents who maintain open and forthright relationships with their children. Most of the time these are parents who have been influenced by good, profoundly well-established values either through education, reading, or social interaction with people from Western societies, usually. People adopting such openness are actually shielding their children from the aforementioned perils and providing them with the tools by which they can defend themselves and enjoy a lifestyle that disregards taboos. In fact, these open-minded parents are producing mentally stronger and emotionally well-balanced future citizens.
There is an enormous need for Moroccan parents to open up. Those taboos ought to be addressed. Moroccan children need to be sexually educated, specifically. They need to be able to discuss taboos freely. Schools and the media have to play their informative and educative roles regarding this issue.