#WWWOPK (What We Wish Our Parents Knew) is a platform for children to express themselves, share some of the things they wish they could tell their parents but for some reason choose not to do so directly or just let us into a glimpse of their world. Let’s listen, we just might learn a thing or two. Enjoy!
According to Wikipedia, a teenager (teen) is a young person whose age falls within the range from 13-19. They are called teenagers because their age number ends with “teen”. So, that’s the official meaning of teenager, but, what’s is “our” definition of a teenager? By “our”, I mean in the Nigerian culture.
In Nigeria, teenagers are still seen as children, which in a sense we are, just with higher responsibilities. While a lot of us will deny it “forming” big boy and big girl, saying we can handle things on our own and don’t want to be treated like children, it’s not really true (did I really just say that?) At this stage in our lives we need our parents more than ever. To be honest, we will always want to be your babies, but we try so hard to conform to be acceptable in the so-called society of today, where if you want to be someone you have to have an iPhone or an apple product or you have have a certain look or a certain attitude towards some things. While we know that is very wrong, we just want to belong. No one wants to be the odd one out. Every day, more and more teens are becoming depressed and committing suicide. A perfect example of this is the Blue whale challenge. Like, who in the world will force someone to kill themselves with threats about hurting your family. There are a lot more silly challenges like this and teens just jump into them because they want to “fit in” to society.
Please encourage your teens to be themselves at all times. Don’t just constantly remind them “oh you are a big girl/boy you have to do more work now or “can’t you see so-and-so – why can’t you be like him/her? Yes we may get lazy and sloppy once in a while – when this happens, a little correction is totally in order but not that every single moment we are constantly being corrected “you can’t do that you’re older now, you can’t do this you can’t do that”. No, if all we keep hearing are complaints after awhile, we will just get used to it and even when things are wrong it won’t make much of a difference because we are constantly being told about one thing or the other that we are doing wrong.
All we really just want is to be understood and we also want to understand you too.
This article was contributed by Ikeoluwa Ali Balogun, a student of Temple Secondary School, Lagos and a RAVE DC Student Ambassador.