For a teenager, reaching adolescence is probably the most interesting part of life. It is a period when the body, obeying the laws of nature, experiences physiological and psychological changes. It is a form of introduction to adulthood, the beginning of consciousness and personal development. The changes that occur at this stage are very crucial for a child’s total functionality as an adult, i.e procreation and independence. Hence, it is not surprising that curiosity gets the better of a teen in seeking to explore these inevitable changes.
It is saddening, however, that adults (parents, guardians and teachers), who have been through this stage before, offer little or no help to the young ones, leaving them at the mercy of puberty. Since no explanation seems forthcoming, teens follow these changes sheepishly and obey their bodies’ responses- ones which often come under brutal reprimand by parents and teachers. Subsequently, since the elders have chosen to shy away from the subject, these young adults opt to develop a philosophy of life for themselves and create answers to their lives’ situations.
The explanation for this deliberate negligence and indifference by the adults may either be that they are haunted by memories of those developmental stage or they had no one to inform them too. The latter seems more agreeable- that the answer which they did not get then, they cannot give now. And unknowingly, while thinking ignorance is good, they do these ones more harm than good. Because of this, teenagers tend to seek answers elsewhere: from peers, books and the internet, which are sometimes wrong. The answers provided by these sources and a parent’s relation with the child mostly determine the child’s perspective on life.
The sad tale of this negligence sits deep in the root of juvenile delinquency such as drugs, crime and sexual offenses. The acts, drawn from the child’s immature conclusion that come with pubertal changes, are condemnable most times, yet parents refuse to acknowledge the true cause of the problem. And if at all they do, the information the child needs comes later, after the wrong choice has been made. Explanations that ought to come during the formative years are now given when the Rubicon has been crossed. What use is it by then?
Before things get out of hand, parents, teachers and other elders in the society should consider it a topmost duty to instill in the child a sense of understanding; to help them know the consequences of their actions; how to correctly grapple with emotions; the essence of rightful living and the importance of living as responsible citizens.
Experience may not always be the best teacher. Little can be accomplished by shallow lectures and sanctimoniousness while still hiding under the scar of puberty. Learning to listen to a child’s pubertal problems always and showing care and understanding in due time will go a long way in getting this thing right.