Teenage and early adulthood are absolutely challenging stages of development. At this point, young people thrive more on imagination than reality. In most cases, the thrill of sex tops the list of priorities to the extent that early marriages take place against the wishes of parents.
Young people imagine that copulation is the equivalent of food that would be served three times a day like antibiotics when they have a consistent partner. Boys at this point have no idea that the sex drive of a woman is directly dependent on her general wellness physically and mentally.
If her stock of favourite lotion is exhausted and there are no resources to replenish it, she is likely to slip into a prolonged headache that will only be cured by the next sight of money. Conjugation is therefore frozen until then.
Identity is a crisis at this stage with peer pressure swaying the young minds from end to end like a pendulum. Girls rush into early marriages in the hope to push for freedom from home. On the other hand, boys can opt to engage in drugs in a bid to express manliness and rebellion.
The fragility of children at these stages throws most parents into a state of confusion bearing in mind that there is no single workable template to follow. Some give up on their own children and let them chase their short-lived fun knowing there is regret waiting at the turn but being too helpless to intervene. Two things at the very centre of rebellion by teens are freedom and sex.
All parents know that there is the need to build a culture of discussion with their children and they grow up to ensure that there is free communication on all fronts. The problem however is that the transition from a candy-thirsty baby to an independent young adult happens in a flush that everyone is left confused on how to move forward.
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While the parent may still be saving harder topics to tackle at age sixteen, they wake up one morning and find out that the child is not only sixteen but also carry a twenty-year-old brain that has not been conditioned as planned.
We are shocked that the calendar designed to periodically calibrate the child age-wise has been overtaken by twenty-four months and there is a sudden critical need to make up for the time lost. Yet in reality there is no time lost, the children just mature a little too early these days.
We can blame it on the uncontrolled content available for their consumption all over the internet or just throw our hands in the air and admit that they are different from us.
Having noticed shocking trends of developments in the modern age, it is important for parents to build an engaging culture that would test what the children are ready to talk about. Oftentimes, if open discussions are opened they are likely to pop up with revelations about the latest discussions in their peer groupings. Rather than setting up a rigid schedule for their imagined maturation process, spontaneity is the new normal.
They could for example involuntarily offer information about a boy shaming a girl that stained her skirt during a PE lesson from which you might gather that they are already talking about menses at school and how to handle it.
This is the time to opportunistically unleash the parental wisdom we have gathered in the many years under the sun, even if it had been saved for 15 yet the opportunity comes at nine. Because it occurs inadvertently, the discussion is bound to fit in seamlessly regardless of how uncomfortable it might appear. A case of striking the iron while it’s still hot.
By setting time deliberately to engage them, we can be guided on how to shuffle our lectures and content to fit into their developments. It is a case of hanging a thermometer in their radar all the time to gauge their surroundings.
Children, for example, start asking for details about divorce when they are barely ten years old and can hold a mature conversation about gender roles and parity by the time they are ten years old. In a nutshell, every day or week counts, and parents should endeavour to initiate open talks with the children to establish where they stand in their development and what information they are ready to consume at any one time.