THE ADOLESCENCT STRUGGLE
Being adolescents to certain people means no bills to pay, no adult responsibility, no kids but being an adolescent is not rosy too for certain people from poor homes. Generally, they face much pressure. Most adults think that adolescents have nothing to worry about. They think, “Oh, you’re just a kid.” But what do they know? The truth is, they have so many decisions to make such as “Should I have sex?” or “Should I do drugs?” And then, there’s the whole issue of belonging.
It is very common for more than one adolescent to be seen together, especially in school, their homes, or at church because they share the same interest or have something in common such as sports, nerdiness, being popular, and so on. Some adolescents might not be good in math’s, chemistry, physics, sports, and end up joining cliques where they believe they will fit in such as gangsters, mean girls, and so on.
To be accepted into a clique they may be initiated into engaging in risky behaviors such as drinking, bullying, rape, and unsafe sexual acts where other adolescents become victims or targets. And such acts could affect the health of both the perpetrator and the victim causing STI, unplanned pregnancy, and low self-esteem.
But this is where the parents come in. Have you “spent time or talked to” your kids? Especially your adolescent boys or girls today?
Most parents haven’t. They neglect to pay attention to them. Their reason is probably that they are making money to take care of their (children) needs. Making money isn’t bad but spending time knowing their behavior will help you notice unusual behavior in their lives.
Adolescence is the phase I call “the phase of exploring”. This phase is also where the adolescent develops their personality from the influence of their family, their peer, environment. Adolescents who have single or both parents may begin to want to dress like mother or father, wear makeup and paint their fingernails like their mother when she is not around or around their playmates or friends, style their hair, or dress in certain ways. They may talk like their parents or become violent when they see such attitudes from their parents, even from what they watch. Some of them emulate psychopathic behavior from books they read or what they watch and would want to achieve the goal of murder or rape by making plans about who their target will be. Majorly their targets are friends and neighbors. They try out smoking, drinking, stealing, or learn to become gangs. Adolescents have access to a lot of information from magazines, newspapers, books, and especially the internet when they are alone. Most adolescents have personal phones making them have unlimited access to content rated for adults at home and even in their schools. Adolescents confide in friends concerning things that occur to them during this period because of the fear that their parents will punish them or discriminate or judge them
Parents need to be aware of what is trending in their society since these young adults are attracted to such things. Talking to them about how they will soon start growing hair around the armpit, private part, changes in their voice and body parts, menstruation, and wet dreams before they begin to experience these changes will prepare them mentally and emotionally and groom them to become hygienic and enable them to cope better with it. Their minds are curious. Answer any of their questions, even though it might seem funny like, “did we all fall from heaven”, why am I a boy or girl. Even when they ask about alcohol use, drug use, or sex, educate them about it instead of shutting them to enable them to become independent in making the right choices, avoid risky behaviors and feel comfortable and open up to you during adolescence. As children transition to adolescents, it may feel as though they are not close to their parents because they interact more with friends and want to show a level of independence, hence know about who your child is friends with and if possible hang out with their parents to know more about their background and help one another monitor their children’s activity. Have your adolescent tell you about where they will be going when they will be coming back home, what they’ll do, and with whom and about what happened when they went out. Respecting their privacy is important even if they don’t give you all the details.
And as adolescents, being in a clique is good but if you aren’t comfortable with the rules or you feel pressured, speak out and have the mind of your own and go for an alternative such as school clubs and community organizations.
So many people have passed through adolescence. Looking back, some adults have regretted the choices they made when they were adolescents, some were happy they made the right choices. But the right choice is your decision to make.