Punishing your sons for going to bush without consent can only make things worse, warns psychologist

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Young boys transitioning to manhood.
Young boys transitioning to manhood.
City Press/Lucky Nxumalo

It's not every parent who's ready for their child to go to the mountain. But as the winter initiation season approaches, unprepared parents might have to embrace the fact that their kids have decided they are ready for the rite of passage into manhood anyhow.

When this happens, in a practice called ukuziba where young boys get initiated and their parents are only informed after the fact, you might be tempted to punish your sons by refusing to buy them the new clothes they need upon their return, for example.

But resist the urge to punish, and rather support them, advises psychologist Dr Joshua Ndlela who says it is important for parents to find out why their children decided to get initiated without consent.

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