Breakup Doesn’t Mean War

before-and-after

I celebrated my birthday today and I received calls/messages from my ex girlfriends wishing me a happy birthday with a few prayers sprinkled in. The relationship I have with my exes transcends beyond the normal an-ex-is-an-enemy mentality. I check on them once in a while and still call them the pet names I used for them while we were dating (works for me, mustn’t work for you).

The animosity shared between former lovers post breakup is alarming. Former soul-mates hating each other even with more passion than the love with which they had for each other. It’s no secret that I am all in favor of an amicable/mature/respectful/civil breakup if and when necessary because life is way too short to hate/dislike/despise people especially those you loved in the first place.

Enough of the bitter breakups, he broke your heart when he cheated on you with your best friend, its had to take but instead of seeing the cup half empty, I encourage you to see it half full. Alternatively, see it from the angle that he did what he did now, exposing his true self and helping you dodge a bullet (commitment or marriage) because “one day he’ll realize he lost a diamond while playing with worthless stones” – Turcois Ominek.

I have said times without number that the biggest problem most ladies have before entering a new relationship is ending the old one on a soar note. That’s where the popular “all guys are the same” mantra emanated from and this attitude would give the unfortunate new dude a false start with the task of cleaning up the former guy’s mess while building his. Remember, “sometimes good things fall apart for better things to fall together” – Marilyn Monroe.

Guys aren’t immune to heartbreak themselves and a few have gone on to wish evil on a former lover because she betrayed his love and violated his trust. It might hurt but breakups shouldn’t be brutal, it shouldn’t. Remember, a breakup shouldn’t spell doom for a friendship, never slam the door on a past relationship, settle like two grownups, close the door gently and move on.
Note: The friends after a relationship rule doesn’t apply to those that were in a bad, abusive, and tense relationship. In that case, it is better to forgive and MOVE ON but do not hate or wish evil.  Also, most people are too eager to be friends after a breakup which is a bad idea because the atmosphere immediately following a breakup is too emotionally charged for it to happen right away, if at all. It is always better to be alone (not friends) during the healing process and then work towards becoming friends if need be.

Reference (Note):
http://totalsororitymove.com/
http://www.yourtango.com/

10 Reasons Nigerian Women Rush Into Marriage

marry me

It seems no matter how much a Nigerian lady has achieved, the millions she has in the bank or the impact she has made, as long as she’s not married, she’s incomplete. Sometimes I ask myself if a Nigerian woman has no identity outside marriage. The desire to fill this void has led to the crave desire to be identified as a Mrs. Below are a few reasons Nigerian girls rush into marriage.

1. Family push: It is believed in the African context that a girl must be under a guardian, either her father or her husband. This belief system encourages forces encourages a single lady to live with her parents till she gets married (the idea of a single lady staying alone is frowned upon in Africa). To this effect, as soon as a father is done taking care of his daughter up to University level, he eagerly waits for another man (future son-in-law) to take over from where he stopped. In Africa, the question “when are you getting a job?” is popularly asked the boys after they finish school while the “when are you getting married?” question is for the ladies. Such pressure from parents and family have made Nigerian girls treat marriage like some politicians would politics: a do or die affair.

2. Weddings: To most guys, weddings are expensive and mostly unnecessary but to a lady: her wedding is the most important event in her life. You need to see a Nigerian lady preparing for her wedding like she was preparing to go and meet her maker in Heaven. The wedding gown has to be top notch, the cake has to be to her taste, the decoration has to be exquisite, the food has to be delectable, the MC has to be funny, the hall has to be up to standard. Everything about a wedding ceremony better be to the Bride’s taste or there is gonna be problem. The sooner she experiences the joy of the most special day in a her life (asides childbirth which comes with its dose of pain) which of course is the wedding, the better.

3. Friends getting married: When a lady of marriageable age gets an invite to a wedding of a friend of hers, forget the smile you see on her face, she’s jealous on the inside that she’s not the one. Girls hate been invited to weddings of their friends when they can’t even hold down a stable relationship. To make matters worst, her younger sister just got engaged, that’s what I call PRESSURE. No lady wants to be the last among her click of friends to tie the knot, so when the closest guy to the altar proposes marriage, she knows he’s not the one but she thinks to herself. “Well, what’s the worst that can happen”.

4. Financial security: Oil price is falling, the Government is struggling to sell crude oil at the same level and price they used to. The Naira is falling against the Dollar, the economy is dwindling, graduates are flooding the already saturated job market making jobs harder to come by. Lady accessories like makeup, shoes and hair extensions are even getting more expensive. To top it all off, fathers are beginning to give their daughters the I-have-finished-with-your-education-you-are-now-on-your-own look when they ask for upkeep money.  The Government is not helping, the economy isn’t looking up, even the parents are proving stubborn. What’s the next step to financial freedom to many ladies: marriage.

5. The Mrs Clang: A lady while contributing to a radio show recounted her experience with the receptionist of a firm she visited. In her own words (paraphrased of course), “I went to an office complex to see a friend, the female receptionist was so rude to me that I wondered if she thought I was her oga’s mistress. Then unconsciously while answering a call that came through with my left hand because I was carrying my handbag with my right hand, she must have sighted my wedding band. After I dropped the call, her countenance suddenly changed, she apologized for being rude and said she didn’t know I was a married woman….”.  Africa especially Nigerians have a great respect for married women if not for anything but for the fear of the unknown (what if her husband is an army general or a police superintendent..lol). It’s no secret that the wedding band on a woman’s finger carries “power”, no wonder the rush for one.

6. Biological clock is ticking: One of the reasons for the mad rush to get hitched is the “biological clock” excuse. Men according to women are gifted with the ability to reproduce at any age while ladies have as many reproductive years as the evil menopause allows them. According to the biological clock, at 25 she’s ready for marriage. At 30, she’s ripe for marriage. At 35, she’s too ripe for marriage. At 40, she’s is getting too old. At 45, menopause is closer than marriage. For a man on the other hand, as long as he gets married before 50, he’s fine. The biological clock has indirectly caused ladies to speed up their marriage plans.

7. Lack of career direction: I remember listening to a program on radio on my way to work one day and this young undergraduate was asked where she saw her self in 5 years. Her answer was “in 5 years, I see myself as a supportive wife to my husband and a wonderful mother to my kids”. How clueless and directionless can someone get? Instead of aspiring to be someone with impact, someone with a dream, someone with career direction. Her dream and purpose on Earth is to be a wife and a mother? That’s all? That’s the problem with most Nigerian women, as soon as they finish school and before getting a job, finding a partner and settling down is first on their list of aspirations. Very sad.

8. Pregnancy: I attended the wedding of a work colleague to his beautiful bride. I was too engrossed with festivities and didn’t notice the protruding stomach of his wife. After a friend (a girl of course..lol) pointed it out, I thought to myself “No wonder, this marriage felt kinda rushed”. Nevertheless, nothing was going to stop me from enjoying the wedding. The saddest way for a woman to get married is out of “pity” because of pregnancy or childbirth. But that hasn’t stopped many young ladies from getting pregnant for a man before he even proposes. The idea that pregnancy will finally make a man commit to marriage is not always true. Ask 2 face’s baby mamas.

9. Ignorance about marriage: Every lady out there wants to get married but only a few are aware of the rudiments of marriage. Only if a lady knew what it takes to get married, the sacrifices she will have to make, the freedom she will lose, the restless hours of cooking, cleaning and taking care of a man, the sleepless nights where sleep instead of sex is on her mind, if only a lady knew all these, most would chill and enjoy their single life before getting married.

10. Fear of heartbreak: The heartbreaking story of a young undergraduate taking her life after her lover jilted her and married another lady comes to mind while explaining this point. When a lady dates a man for over 5 years, commits her body and even her soul to him. It is only natural for her to expect to get married to him. The fear of something going wrong would hunt her until she gets that engagement ring.

rush and settle

 

 

Further Reading: 10 Reasons Nigerian Men Are Afraid Of Marriage

10 Reasons Nigerian Men Are Afraid Of Marriage

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Nigerian men have a knack for marrying late and on average a Nigerian man gets married at the age of 34. Its also rumored that they are afraid of marriage with the following 10 points among the reasons why Nigerian men marry late.

1. Bride price: It’s no secret that marrying a girl in Nigeria is trickier than it used to be. In the olden days, you can’t over tax your in-laws for your daughter’s hand because you both are village champions and know the depth of each other’s pockets. You over price your daughter for my son, I’ll do the same for my daughter when your son/uncle/nephew comes for her hand in marriage. Nowadays, in-laws have no pity on prospective suitors with their overzealous bride prices. The bride price itself isn’t the issue but the goods you will purchase for the elders/village chiefs/gods are. There is a popular rumor that girls from South Eastern Nigeria marry late because of the excessively high bride prices placed on their heads. Its only a rumor so relax.

2. Cost of feeding an extra mouth: When a man sits down to take stock of his monetary value just before getting married, the realization that he is no longer feeding one mouth but two (and that’s before the kids come along) paints a grim picture in his mind. Whereas ladies getting married don’t have to worry themselves about taking care of the family or keeping up with that 9 to 5 job, the man on the other hand has to take the above and much more into consideration before taking the plunge.

3. Wedding costs: Have you ever wondered why the grooms aren’t always smiling at Nigerian weddings? You guessed it; their money is involved. Nigerian weddings have gone from crates of mineral, plates of rice and a few guests to cartoons of expensive drinks, assorted varieties of food and a hall filled with hungry guests. If it costs almost N100,000 to make up a bride on her wedding day. I repeat “make up”, I didn’t say fly her to Paris. Making up a bride gulps such annoying figures, then imagine what buying/renting a wedding gown, decorating the hall, food, drinks etc would cost. No wonder Nigerian men think twice before getting married and I don’t blame them.

4. Lack of freedom: Getting married for a man involves giving up that much desired freedom. Men grew up with thoughts of emancipation from their parents. The type of life where no one dictated where you went or what you did with your time. You could visit a friend and sleep over, drink at a bar till morning, go clubbing, travel whenever. Getting married for a man involves loosing the freedom he so fought hard for. He can’t do as he pleases anymore but has to consult with madam. That thought scares a man to pieces.

5. Commitment to one woman: Men are polygamous in nature and most don’t even try hiding it. Men claim to be following in the footsteps of their forefather “Solomon” in the Bible. As bachelors, women abound and as the saying goes, “there are many fishes in the sea”. Marriage is a covenant between a man, his partner and God and frivolities like multiple partners is very illegal. This means a man that decides to get married and remain faithful is faced with the realization that the woman he has chosen to settle down with is the ONLY woman he is permitted to “settle down” with (literally). That’s a hard one to take for men. Mostly Nigerian men.

6. Children and extra expenses: Raising a baby is EXPENSIVE and would damper the hopes of any prospective father. The costs of formula, baby food, nursery furniture, clothes, car seat, stroller, childcare, medical expenses would make any man shudder. Then throwing in the mind provoking “diapers” into the mix would make a man think twice about getting married let alone having a baby.
According to a report on Encomium, the cost of raising a child in Nigeria from pregnancy to Nursery two level is between N160,000 for an average parent to N890,000 for middle class parents. Have you ever wondered why our parents had up to 9 siblings while living in the village and parents of nowadays have between 2 to 3 kids. Wonder no more.

7. High standards (no wife materials): When an eligible bachelor is asked why he isn’t married, the most popular excuse remains “I haven’t found the right one” or “there are no wife materials out there”. The problem with this excuse is that not only is it false but it is exactly what it is; an excuse. It seems to me that Nigerian men date women with good standards but as soon as marriage is concerned, those standards are no longer enough. There are millions of good girls in Nigeria but most men aren’t serious with them. Men are looking for ready made wives, the ones with chef like skills in the kitchen, a good job, a sister in church and a freak in the bed all wrapped in one. The problem is that most women don’t come packaged, a man finds a woman and molds her into his desired wife. Nigerian men are either too lazy or too impatient to mold a wife material and go around claiming there are no wife materials. Get a girlfriend material, turn her into a wife material and marry her. Simple.

8. Low standards (of the women): The biggest problem women have with Nigerian men is becoming wives before getting married. Our ladies have this knack for giving their men everything they should be giving him in marriage. She sleeps with him, she takes care of his house, she washes for him, she cooks for him, she virtually does everything she should be doing for him in marriage. Which man in his right senses would rush marriage when he’s getting all he needs even without proposing. Think about it ladies.

9. Career obstacle: Most Nigerian men have this mindset that they need to be established before getting married. You hear excuses like “I need to set myself up, make enough money, climb up the career ladder before getting married”.  Men with such ignorant thoughts haven’t read the passage in Proverbs 18:22 which says “A man who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” The key word is “obtains favor from the Lord”. Marrying right instead of being a burden should be a ladder to greatness. Now you have a business adviser, a confidant, an accountant, a lawyer, a banker all for free.

10. Working class woman: Nigerian men have gotten wiser and don’t aspire marrying a liability of a wife. No man wants to plan and fund a wedding himself, he desires the input of his working class fiancee. Taking care of himself is bad enough but taking care of himself and a woman is another dimension all together. Every smart Nigerian man wants to get married to a working class woman to help cushion the financial strains marriage would cause. Their quest for a desirable, working class woman keeps them in the bachelor class for longer than expected.

 

Further Reading: 10 Reasons Nigerian Women Rush Into Marriage

Photo credit: http://www.vanguardngr.com

Vote of thanks: Onyinye Agusi for assisting with the draft of this article. Your input is very much appreciated ma.

30 Parental Principles For Bringing Up A Child (Part 1 of 3)

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Adolescents have their personal issues all together as documented in the article “Adolescents and Their Challenges“. These problems could be elevated or for lack of a better word “softened” if these adolescents have been guided through life with certain parental guiding principles. As the good Book says “Train up a child the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
Therefore I present to you a few of the principles either used by my parents, the parents of a few friends, researched online or read in books.
Remember there is no set-in-stone rules/tactics/techniques/formula to raising a child but at least these could be used as pointers in the right direction.

1. Be your child’s best friend: Your children should be free enough to tell you anything and everything. Your kids get back from school, you should be like “my love, come tell me what happened in school today” and she should be free enough to tell you how Stella in class fought with Bimpe over Steve or how Kennedy is asking her out or how Rose doesn’t want to be his girlfriend. Everything under the sun should be freely discussed.

2. Allow visitors: Allow friends visit your children especially girls and be nice. Its almost an abomination in many African homes for boys to visit girls while its a normal thing abroad. Limiting female visitors for your girls will make them go out to see her “male visitors” and that’s looking for trouble. Allow your kids entertain visitors at home where you can monitor them secretly of course.

3. Deep up their talents: Education is inferior to talent, make their talents work for them. If Tiger Wood’s father was a Nigerian, he would probably have become a Doctor or even an Engineer, and the World would have lost an amazing golfer. Tiger’s father saw his interest in golf at the age of 3 and helped him nurture his talent and now, he’s arguably the greatest golfer of all time. Enough of the go-to-school-get-a-degree-get-a-job mentality, nurture your kid’s talent, even if its dancing, he might be one of the World’s amazing dancers.

4. Make your kids start earning wages very early: Free gotten money is not appreciated. If you give your kids money anything they ask for it and they won’t value money but you make them work for it and they will value it more. Teach your kids hard work and diligence by making them earn. Make them wash the car, clean the house, baby sit their younger ones, make dinner and pay them for it. You will have entrepreneurs in the making living under your roof.

5. Don’t be a beater, be a teacher: Instead of beating your kids, use other methods. I remember growing up, my parent’s disciplinary methods were polar opposites. Where my father used words, my mum used her hands. Where my father scolded, my mum spanked. My mother was who you would term a flogger, she had all types of canes from thin to fat canes in all corners of the house. You misbehave and before you say Jack Robinson, she’ll beat sense into your head. My siblings and I called her a witch behind her back and even doubted we were her children a times. Her disciplinary methods had their benefits but when your kids become afraid of you, it is not worth it. We were afraid of her but we love her to death. Be more diplomatic with your kids, flog only once in a blue moon, scold and deprive them of their freedom to teach them a lesson.

6. Don’t compare your kids: So your first son Ikechukwu is the most brilliant child in his class while your last son Emeka is not doing so well in class. Instead of encouraging Emeka to be better, you keep nagging at him, comparing him to Ikechukwu. Remember every human on earth including identical twins are different. Learn to recognize the difference in your kids and quit using comparison to dampen their self esteems.

7. Don’t have a favorite child: The truth about having more than one child is the fact that it is almost impossible to love each equally. Every parent has a favorite child or children. Never ever make the mistake of making your favorite obvious. Treat them equally.

8. Appreciate and reward hard-work: One of the needs of humans is the desire to be recognized. Your kids need to be recognized and rewarded accordingly. Don’t take your child’s efforts for granted. Be courteous with your kids. A parent should never be too big to say thank you to their kids, use words like “you did a good job” and buy them their favorite ice cream when they behave.

9. Teach them survival skills: In most homes especially African homes, we have what I’ll term “gender responsibilities”. The girl cooks, cleans, washes and takes care of the home while the guy does the manly stuff like wash cars, repair broken stuff and watch football. Enough of this archaic type of upbringing that makes grown up men unable to cook for themselves and girls unable to fend for themselves. Bring your children up equally, everyone cooks, everyone cleans, everyone washes cars, everyone sews, everyone repairs broken stuff and your kids would adore you for these life lessons in the future. As Chimamanda Adichie once said, “I have never taught it made sense, the ability to nourish one’s self (cook) in the hands of others”.

10. Teach your children respect for elders: I was greeting a friend when her children were starring at me, she then proceeded to tapping the kids with the words “greet Uncle”. “Good Afternoon Sir” they replied. Commendable as this may seem, your kids should never be reminded to greet elders (older folks). Even in their sleep, they should be greeting elders they see in their dreams.

 

Continue Reading:
30 Parental Principles For Bringing Up A Child (Part 2 of 3)
30 Parental Principles For Bringing Up A Child (Part 3 of 3)

30 Parental Principles For Bringing Up A Child (Part 2 of 3)

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Adolescents have their personal issues all together as documented in the article “Adolescents and Their Challenges“. These problems could be elevated or for lack of a better word “softened” if these adolescents have been guided through life with certain parental guiding principles. As the good Book says “Train up a child the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
Therefore I present to you a few of the principles either used by my parents, the parents of a few friends, researched online or read in books.
Remember there is no set-in-stone rules/tactics/techniques/formula to raising a child but at least these could be used as pointers in the right direction.

Previous dose:
30 Parental Principles For Bringing Up A Child (Part 1 of 3)

Continuation:

11. Teach your kids sex education as early as possible: As early as 2 years, a child should be taught which parts of his/her body are private and should be kept out of the sight/reach of others (including cousins/uncles/aunties/neighbors). About 80% of children are molested by people they know and 90% of them don’t even know what’s right or wrong. Teach them that anytime someone touches them wrongly, they should report to you and you can take appropriate action to avoid stories that touch.

12. Right hand or nothing: There is nothing more disrespectful than giving or receiving things from anyone (a senior or a junior) with your left hand. The only time anyone is allowed to use their left hand (left handed or not) is if the left hand has been cut off or occupied. Teach your kids NEVER to use their left hands when interacting with people.

13. Courtesy is inexcusable: I’m sure this has happened to you before, when you give a child a gift and she/he takes it without showing gratitude. Then the guardian/parent has to thank you on the child’s behalf or say “Junior, say thank you”. Your child should never be caught been ungrateful. Taboo.

14. Never fight/quarrel in front of your kids: There is something psychologically damaging about parents constantly fighting/shouting/calling eachother names in front of their kids. This is inexcusable for a parent. You have issues with your spouse, take it outside.

15. Never lie for/with/in the presence of your kids: I’m sure as an African you would remember this popular lie told by our parents. It goes thus:
*knock knock knock*
Papa: Angela, go and check who’s knocking on the gate.
*Angela goes to the gate and returns*
Angela: Papa, its Uncle Timothy.
*Papa remembers he’s owing Uncle Timothy and replies to Angela.
Papa: Tell him I am not at home.
Angela: Uncle Timothy, papa said I should tell you he is not at home.
…and this parent wants truthful kids when he’s already training them to be liars. Don’t lie for your kids and don’t lie to your kids.

16. Raise Spiritual kids: As a Christian family, early morning and late night devotion are not optional but mandatory. Pray and study the Word of God with you children on a daily basis, give them assignments, let them lead Praise and Worship, make sure they attend Sunday School and acquire Bible cartoons/movies/books for them. Help them grow spiritually.

17. Keep them fit: The issue I have with elderly people is the fact that they begin exercising when they start ageing. Exercising should be a habit and parents should teach their children to keep fit from an early age. As soon as they can walk, they should start exercises appropriate to your age. tis builds stamina, speed, healthy bodies and good self esteem in them.

18. Teach your kids how to love/support/help each other: Sibling rivalry could be beneficial to the development of children but when sibling rivalry takes a dangerous turn is when kids start competing for everything on the home front without little or no regard for each other.

19. Teach your kids to overcome stage freight: A survey conducted by a research institute in the United States found out that people were more afraid of standing in front of a crowd than death. Stage freight is paralytic in nature. Even celebrities still battle with a bout of stage freight once in a while. No one fully overcomes it but people have learnt to manage it and make the most of it.
Children should be taught how to stand in front of a crowd and not be afraid. From an early age, they should stand in front of their classmates/schoolmates/family/church members to recite poems/read books/teach etc and as they grow older, it becomes a part of them.

20. Teach your kids to cook: “Cooking, by the way is a very useful skill for anyone to have. I’ve never thought it made sense to leave such a crucial thing, the ability to nourish one’s self, in the hands of others.” – Chimamanda Adichie. Girls have been taught how to cook by their mums while the boys watch TV with dad. These young boys grow up depending on girls to cook and these girls have spent more time making themselves look better than cook better. What if from childhood, the boys and the girls were taught to cook for themselves?

 

Continue Reading:
30 Parental Principles For Bringing Up A Child (Part 3 of 3)

30 Parental Principles For Bringing Up A Child (Part 3 of 3)

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Adolescents have their personal issues all together as documented in the article “Adolescents and Their Challenges“. These problems could be elevated or for lack of a better word “softened” if these adolescents have been guided through life with certain parental guiding principles. As the good Book says “Train up a child the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
Therefore I present to you a few of the principles either used by my parents, the parents of a few friends, researched online or read in books.
Remember there is no set-in-stone rules/tactics/techniques/formula to raising a child but at least these could be used as pointers in the right direction.

Previous dose:
30 Parental Principles For Bringing Up A Child (Part 1 of 3)
30 Parental Principles For Bringing Up A Child (Part 2 of 3)

Continuation:

21. Teach your kids the language: Some people call it a blessing, others call it a curse but the uniqueness of most African countries especially Nigeria is the multifaceted nature of languages/cultures. On the flip side, the Western culture is slowly out phasing ours. A worthy example is the Igbo culture. The Igbos have migrated from the South Eastern part of Nigeria in search of greener pastures especially in the South West (Lagos), North Central (Abuja) and South South (Rivers) parts of Nigeria. Their move has invariably and unconsciously downsized the amount of Igbo children that know and speak their language. More Igbo kids speak English and even foreign languages like Yoruba better than they speak their mother tongue. This is alu (abomination in Igbo language). Your kids should know your mother tongue and a few other additions languages. It will be helpful to them in the future. Trust me.

22. The names you call your children: Nigeria’s immediate past President is a testament to the impact a name can have on someone’s life. A man from no where uses rides on good luck and becomes President of whole nation. Don’t give your kids names because they sound cool or a celebrity has the same name. Research on a name before you give it to your child because like it or not, names are very important. Remember the angel told Mary and Joseph to specifically name the Messiah “Jesus”, not any name they wished.

23. The names you call your partner: A colleague at work told me an adorable story of how his daughter calls him “my love” because his wife calls him that. The 2 year plus girl upon repeatedly hearing her dad being called “my love” by her mum, innocently assumes that’s daddy’s name and calls him “my love”. Some wives call their husbands “daddy” while some husbands call their wives “mummy” in front of the kids and that’s admirable. Don’t call your partner by their names or use names you won’t be proud of hearing from your children’s mouths.

24. Teach your kids to swim: I was at the pool some days back and saw this parent bring her less than a year old daughter to learn to swim. A lesson that child would value for the rest of her life. If you have ever visited the Southern region of Nigeria popularly called the Niger Delta, you will discover that most kids have their bath in the river and swimming has become a second nature. Swimming isn’t just a wonderful form of exercise but a major survival skill that could help save that child or help that child save someone in distress. Teach your kids how to swim.

25. The truth about the truth: My dad always told my siblings and I while growing up that “even if you kill someone, tell me the truth, don’t lie”. The Bible puts it in a subtle way “the truth sets you free”. Sometimes the truth gets you an ass whooping but bringing up a child afraid of the consequences of telling the truth would give rise to politicians. Try punishing your kids for telling lies and not telling the truth.

26. Stop the boxing matches: Most men that end up battering/slapping/beating their women saw their dads do it to their mums. Most women that end up disrespecting/talking rudely/insulting their men saw their mums do it to their dads. Remember insults charity begins at home. Children learn by example, be that example. Treat your spouse like royalty and they will treat theirs like royalty. That simple.

27. Education isn’t restricted to school: Your children should be taught that going to school alone doesn’t mean one is educated. The mechanics, the shoe makers, the plumbers are not school educated but self educated. They know what they know better than the average person because they chose to learn. Teach your kids to learn new things with their spare time and praise them for every new skill learnt.

28. Eat the vegetable: This lesson reminds me of my mother and her vegetable cruelty. My mother knew vegetable was good for the body (in her words, vegetable gives you blood) but she also knew we hated eating veggies. So what she would do is to literally “force” us to eat it. She’ll say “so you finished eating the chicken and you don’t want to finish the vegetable shey?..oya sit down there and finish it osiso (fast in Igbo Language). Maturity has now taught me the importance of vegetable in balancing a diet. Some things aren’t always going to be convenient but tech your kids not to do what’s convenient but what’s important.

29. Cleanliness: Cleanliness is next to godliness was one of my teacher’s favorite “Bible” quotes. I have grown to understand that there isn’t anywhere in the Bible where it was quoted verbatim in that manner but I also appreciate the importance of that one quote. Teach your kids to be clean. Bathing and brushing their teeth twice a day isn’t negotiable. Keeping your room clean is mandatory and keeping your appearance neat is paramount.

30. Teach them to abhor waste and greed: It’s no secret that spoilt kids treat with levity what other kids would cut an arm to have. Children should be taught not to waste food, clothes or even water. Because you can always have it doesn’t mean you should take it for granted. Your children should also be taught to value everything they have and not selfishly desire what someone has. Such desire would make a girl crave for the designer shoe that her friend has, save up enough money to get it, finally get it and not even wear it more than once.

Adolescents And Their Challenges

The Relentless Builder - Portrait

Growing up as a little boy, life was more or less stress free. Not only did I not to have to bother myself with working for my upkeep (my parents were glad to help out in that aspect) but the hardest thing I had to do then was to read for those annoying exams and come home with a befitting result card. Life couldn’t have been better with this care free life one lived as a child, not having a care in the World about keeping up appearances, working hard to make money, looking good or even taking care of the home. Life was good.
Life with this laize faire attitude continued up until the morning that I consider changed my life forever. I woke up on this beautiful morning about to prepare for school when I noticed a sticky white substance on my pyjamas. I was about 11 or 12 years old. I had (after asking my friends) just witnessed my first wet dream and saw my first sperm and that realization that I was finally a MAN changed my life forever.

As an adolescent, I faced many challenges from accepting the rapid changes in my body to recognizing and respecting the opposite sex. Below are a few problems I and other adolescents face:

1. Recognizing body changes: A boy suddenly goes from having a childish voice to a more masculine bass voice. He wakes up everyday to realize that his manhood or should I tell it boyhood because of his age is getting bigger day by day and pubic hair is beginning to sprout and surround it. His chest is beginning to get broader and hair is growing around it like weed on a plantation. These changes coupled with the increase in testosterone levels connives to give a young boy sleepless nights and arouses the question “what’s really going on?”.

2. Independence: Life with a disciplinarian mother was like walking bar footed on a ground with broken bottles hidden in unsuspecting places. You take the wrong step and you get what African’s call “an ass whopping”. Mum wasn’t all that bad, she was adorable must times but the quest to become a “big boy” who couldn’t be flogged anymore plagued my young mind more times than I could remember.
As adolescents, the crave for independence, the kind of independence an ill prepared Nigeria demanded from United Kingdom. The I-don’t-think-I-am-ready-but-I-want-out type of independence plaques every adolescent. We craved for the right to be treated as semi adults, to make our own decisions, to come back home late, to sleep whenever and play video games forever.

3. Peer pressure: Peer pressure is simply influence from members of one’s peer group and it’s no secret that this has led a countless number of adolescents to committing social vices. Although peer pressure could be termed positive wherein influence from members of one’s peer group causes ripples of positive effects in a teenager, its negatives clearly outweighs the positives.
As a teenager, the upright upbringing of my parents and my resolve to make them proud gave me this disciplined and not easily ‘swayable’ nature which helped me evade the negative tentacles of peer pressure. I was deemed a weakling because I refused to experiment with smoking and other vices. Many adolescents don’t have such resolve and have been caught pants down committing atrocities like drug and substance abuse that even some grown ups would be ashamed of.

4. Acceptance: The bittersweet recollections of life in boarding school still lingers in my memory. One aspect I readily recall was resuming to school from home one new term with half a box of provisions and staring at my roommate with his two boxes full of provisions and wondering if his parents loved him more than mine loved me. “How come he had so much more provisions than I did”, I recall thinking.
To add insult into injury, his “pocket money” was over 5 times mine. It took sometime for me to accept that our families had different financial standing and as the saying goes “all fingers are not equal”.
Most adolescents have struggled with acceptance on issues like the financial capability of their parents which has resulted in seeking money elsewhere and have gotten themselves burnt in the process. Other areas teenagers have struggled with acceptance include their body physique, their looks, the height, their complexion, their sporting ability and many more.

5. Self image: Adolescents that have struggled with acceptance have also struggled to maintain a positive self image. Cases abound where teenagers tend to seek self affirmation from the opposite sex and would do anything to feel important and loved instead of loving themselves first. With this quest for “outside love” comes a great risk of hurt which could result in heartbreak which could lead to depression and in some cases, suicidal thoughts.

6. Career direction: Most adolescents grow up without a distinctive plan for their lives. All they know is that they want to grow up, get some education, make some money, live independent, have families and live happily ever after.
As a teenager, I grew up watching sports stars like David Beckham and Kobe Bryant make so much money and bask in the euphoria of stardom that my quest to become a sports star grew but after staring at my thin frame in the mirror at my old age, I realized sports wasn’t for me. The next best thing was Engineering, Medicine or Law or even Politics which were and still are the most cherished professions in Nigeria.
Choosing a career path out of the above was as tricky was choosing what to eat from a 5 star buffet but my determination to learn how to make things work prompted my decision to study Engineering. Most teenagers aren’t always this lucky and this debacle has led to countless sleepless nights, wrong career choices and failed courses.

7. Spirituality: Children are usually brought up in the faith of their parents/guardians and have no choice but to follow suit. These adolescents no matter their conviction or spiritually inclination risk being labeled a rebel if they as little as entertained the idea of changing their faith or denomination. A girl who is more comfortable wearing trousers is forced to wear skirts because according to her parents “its a sin for a girl to wear trousers in our church”. This problem has affected many adolescent’s spiritual life and life in general because they are forced to abide by rules they don’t believe in.

8. Divided homes: One of the hidden but definitely the biggest problems adolescents face while growing up is what I’ll term “the divided family” syndrome. This ranges from wrestling parents (the type that fight with each other every single day) to Mike Tyson fathers (the type of men that beat their wives at every provocation) and ultimately to home fronts without either of the parents.
Put yourself in the shoes a little girl growing up into a lady but living with just her father and two male siblings. Your parents have been living separately with daddy left to take care of you. You continuously face girl related challenges and there it mother figure to confide in. Another example is that of a boy living with his mother and three younger siblings. He’s facing girl and sex related issues with no father figure to provide support.
Parenting is usually a two way thing, no parent has the monopoly of child upbringing skills and would usually require the help of the other partner to bring up their children. But when marital crisis brings an abrupt end to this Heavenly partnership, it takes Heaven’s help to remedy the situation. To further buttress the importance of joint parenting, a 1994 study by Winsconsin juveniles and a 1987 “Survey of Youth in Custody” will be taken into account. While the first report concluded that 67% of juveniles didn’t grow up with their married parents, the second came up with even bleaker findings, which stated that 70% of youths in custody in the U.S did not grow up with both parents.

9. Undue attention (for girls): According Amaka, an undergraduate studying Economics in Delta State University, “Growing up as a girl was baffling to say the least”. She continues “Life as a little girl was fun and being the baby of the house got be pampered with favors and helped me escape punishment times without number. As a 13 year old skinny and smallish girl, I was not as physically mature as my mates of the same age and that bothered me as first because I taught I was abnormal but after speaking to my parents, I saw it as a blessing in disguise. Whereas my mates were getting unduly approached and pestered by boys and older men, I was left alone to read my books. It all changed as I approached 15 years and my body features started sprouting as if awoken from a deep slumber. This made me an envy amongst fellow girls and caused an increase in the stares received from boys/men. This unwanted attention bothered me and upon consultation with my elder sisters decided to “grow into the attention of men”. I am of the opinion that many young girls have been overwhelmed by such attention and without proper guidance have made mistakes.

10. Sex: One of the most critical issues bothering adolescents is sex related. For this chapter, we will discuss 5 categories and 4 sub categories.

A. Sexual feelings: Adolescents grow up to discover that they are becoming attracted to the opposite sex in many different ways. The feelings seem to be getting stronger as they get older and if unchecked could lead to:

B. Premarital sex: Due to the sexual hormones ravaging an adolescent’s system, the undiluted display of sexuality in movies nowadays, public display of nudity as a perverted form of fashion and the lack of proper sex education, adolescents run the risk of experimenting with sex from an early age. This could lead to:

C. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD): As a result of lack of sexual awareness, these adolescents tend to experiment with sex without taking precautionary measures which could lead to contacting STDs like gonorrhoea, syphilis and even HIV.

D. Pregnancy: Again due to lack of adherence to preventive measures while having sex, adolescent girls are susceptible to getting pregnant out of wedlock which could result in one or all of the following:

I. Childbirth: A little girl without the mental and physical maturity of a grownup is forced by her mistakes to mother a child. A task she is evidently ill-prepared for.

II. Shame: The shame that accompanies teenage pregnancy is enormous in Africa. Most adolescent girls are impregnated by teenage boys who either deny paternity or aren’t prepared to become fathers themselves. The parents are often too ashamed to be grandparents so soon and treat the young mother with disregard.

III. School dropout: Such premature mothers are forced to drop out of school in order to give birth and nurture the child to certain age which would affect their upbringing and career prospects if not handled properly.

IV. Public ridicule: Teenage mothers are often ridiculed in public and termed wayward and promiscuous and in the African context would find it harder to get married to a suitor for marriage because most families would kick against single mother spouses for their sons.

E. Abortion: A scared adolescent girl discovers she’s pregnant and fears the damage it would have on her parents ad family opts for abortion which could result in one or all of the following:

I. Physical scar: Depending on the authenticity of the medical license of the doctor tasked with the undertaking the abortion procedure with most simply “quack doctors”. If the procedure is not managed properly, the womb of the little girl could be damaged leading to problems with childbirth in the future.

II. Mental scar: Many girls have admitted crying out of regret for aborting a child. The mental torture remains with them for life and could lead to suicidal thoughts or an unhappy life.

These problems associated with sex has led to shattered lives and even aborted dreams when not handled properly.

Adolescents are precious and should be handled as such. For continuous study, read:

30 Parental Principles For Bringing Up A Child (Part 1 of 3)

30 Parental Principles For Bringing Up A Child (Part 2 of 3)
30 Parental Principles For Bringing Up A Child (Part 3 of 3)

References:
1. Survey of Youth in Custody, 1987 by Bureau of Justice Statistics.
2. Family Statistics of Delinquents in Juvenile Correctional Facilities in Wisconsin by The Department.

Photo credit:
http://www.therelentlessbuilder.com

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