Hey guys, we are in our hub again, the Diary Of A Naija Teen and today, we will be looking at 5 things Nigerian teenagers need their parents to know and understand badly.
Growing up is filled with so many ups and downs, maybe not as much as the adults need to do but of course, as teens, there are ups and downtimes too. While parents think of feeding and clothing us, the teens think of being the best of themselves we can be, without having to inconvenient their parents. While the adults are focusing on their relationships and life goals, teenagers are also struggling to set aims and objectives for ourselves, maybe on a slimmer horizon, but yes, they are thinking of the future too.
Amidst all of these, however, one key thing that should importantly exist between our Nigerian parents and their teenagers is the right understanding. We need our parents to know certain things and react in certain ways and so if we do some things, their reactions should be based on that understanding.
Nigerian parents are really known for the strictness, the religious impartation, the ‘I’m doing all these for you’ attitude and the ‘I’ve been in your shoes before’ scenarios. But really, are these what the teens need? What if they want the parents to see them in another light and understand that things and times have changed and so what they went through may be coming upon the teenagers with another degree of intensity? As a teenager, I had my space where I think of life and fantasise about what the future will be. Sometimes, I want to give a reaction but I can’t simply because the Naija grandmother is there watching, guiding and grooming me. So many false thoughts and beliefs about me but deep within me, I know this is not it. What hurts more is the mention of ‘we self have been kids before and we were not like this‘, OMG! It is really unfortunate. I grew past the teenage period fast and now, I have more understanding of life and what the parents tend to do, but still, it is sometimes not worth it.
Recently, a mom reported her teenage girl and one of the things the woman was saying to the girl is the same that was said to me a few years ago and I wondered, “Do parents still see this thing like this?, Gosh!” Whether it is the society that imposed those thoughts on their minds or past experiences, there is still one room they should give – the benefit of doubt! So, quickly, let’s see five things I as a teenager wanted to and that every Nigerian teenagers badly want their parents to know.
1. It’s Not About Sex, Boyfriends Or Girlfriend: so, what that woman I mentioned earlier was telling the girl is ‘oh, so you have started having boyfriend and having sex already? That’s why you think you are old enough to be rude and not take instructions???‘ The same was said and thought about me and it should be out already, really! True, we have friends, crushes and feelings but NOOOOO!, we are not the way we are because we are having sex or having boyfriends and girlfriends. Sometimes, teens do not even have such on their minds and are not thinking about it either so it is really sad the way they get accused of these things. Parents only think this is real because they see other people’s kids who are wayward and they think the same applies to every teenager. No, it does not, so, most times, it is not sex or boyfriends or girlfriends… And not all the boys or girls you see around them is asking them out or is their lover, some are just cool friends that they share intimate things with. Making those ones comfortable around you is an added advantage if you need your teens to trust and be free with you, Please do understand these 🙏🙏!!!
2. Pressing Phones Is Not Just For Fun Or Meaningless: I, like every other teenager, loved to press phones ooo, chei. Yes, we can pres phones for Africa but then, what we do on phones is more then parents think and imagine. If you have lived with a grandma like me as a teenager, you must feel this heat more. for someone like her who just receives and makes calls, pressing phone is a disturb to the phone. Many thanks to smartphones that have become something we can’t live without in this century and parents are beginning to catch the virus too. Nevertheless, they still have issues with teenagers being glued to the phone.
Phones have more features that can help get answers to the scenarios that teens may not play before their parents, it is a stream of knowledge and the internet, is so important to that too. So, parents, pressing phone is not just about talking to one boy or one girl but something more. Of course, teens can get to do some things that may not be meaningless to parents but in the stead of making them feel bad about pressing phones, why not educate them on morals that will make them conscious while pressing the phones?
3. We Need Freedom, We Have Opinions And Feelings Too: a typical Nigerian parent wants to regulate what his/her teenager thinks, feels, say and do. They may be younger than you are but ma’am and sir, that doesn’t make them less humans. Please give them the freedom to express their choices and preferences and please, try not to invalidate their feelings. This may so damage their sense of belonging and self-esteem among peers, it gives a feeling that whatever they say or do is wrong. And so when with their friends, other family members or even those who may want to take advantage of them are around, they find it hard to feel good or express themselves. Whether they are having a crush or feeling somehow, please understand they are just functioning as humans, the same way you have feelings and all. Attend to their feelings the best way you can, be sensitive, guide them, let them have free will to do what they love, have honest conversations with them about the things of life (sex, dating, relationships, etc) and be caring. Then, let them make their mistakes and learn from them by themselves, that way, they understand and value what you say to them better.
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4. It Is Not Intentional: One of the things that characterise the teenage years is love for adventure and spontaneity and so at these ages, kids tend to be more inquisitive and daring. It is not as if they want to be disobedient or they intentionally want to be rude. I could remember my grandma is always saying, “this thing has been so long before you were born and you this small girl want to change it.” Yes, they have been in existence, we just want to know “why is this so? Is there any other way to this other than the same that has been practiced over the years? What will happen if it is not done the same way it has been done over time?” And to be sincere, all of these get more intense simply because parents choose to hide certain things from the teens and make it seem sacred. If you explain the way you can and not shun them out whenever they ask about things, then you may just be satisfying their curiosity to an extent. They are just curious and adventurous!
Then, there is usually this feeling in teens that parents do not understand what they are going through and they do not know what they (teens) know. It is teenager exuberance and nothing else, that is why your teenager may tell you you are old fashioned or not in town. At the teen age, they usually feel they know all and anything that goes against them is usually seen as an enemy. So, in the stead of shunning them, rather be their guide and make them see that life goes beyond the teenage exuberance in the most loving way possible. We hope this is not too much to ask.
5. Trust Them, Believe Them: Finally, at the teen age, it is assumed that teenagers are keeping things to themselves and do not want to be open with their parents. This, is majorly because of the way parents tend to react to things their teens tell them and that sends a thought to their minds not to say more to avoid Naija parent see-finish! Now when they become conservative, they sometimes tell lies to cover up the real things they have in their minds and when parents find out they told lies, it is another saga. When your teens reach out to you, know that they must have summoned so much courage and so, give them that applause and cool feeling. Then, trust them and believe them. Though you may need to make your findings and clarifications about things, making them feel loved go a very long way. Once, I summoned the courage one day to report to my grandma how people are lying against me about dating one boy. She believed and we talked over it not until one woman (her friend) from church showed up to feed her with lies – how she’d seen me with the boy and all 🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🤦♀️. The worst thing of all is that my Grandma believed her 😱😱😭😭 and came back to meet me with, “so, these are what you do behind me in Church“.It really made my efforts to talk to her futile and was so disheartening that she didn’t believe me and truly, the woman lied! Believing other people over your kids is saddening and may not want them to be open with you, so try as much as possible to. Even if you find out their account of the story is real, show your disappointment but don’t let them have this ill-feeling that you will never believe them again. They don’t tell you lies all the time, remember. We really hope you understand these things and they improve your relationship with your teens. Till next Tuesday when the Diary Of A Naija Teen comes your way, stay twinning with your teens and bonding!
Do you have more things you want to tell your parents? Send them in via the comment section below (you can write anonymously) or send them to [email protected] See you, next week! Photos Credit: Getty
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