Teenagers and Relationships

October 5, 2016

“My friends do not understand me; they think I am proud, and so they tend to ignore and isolate from me. They make me feel left out, and I feel like I must work extra hard to impress them to be allowed in their circles. Being in school is hard and not having good friends makes it worse. I wish they could understand how lonely I am. I need to feel loved and wanted.”

This was from one of the Choice Club members when we were discussing relationships with peers, parents, family members and school authority. What can be done to help these girls?

Relationships are very complex for girls from the ages of 14-20; they are at a stage of self-discovery and most find it hard to relate to their peers, parents, school authority and handling relationships with boys. The majority of these girls will tell you they don’t know where they fit in, and they are doing everything possible not to feel left out. Too often, they will get into trouble in the process of discovering where they belong.

It is important for the girls to cultivate good relationships when they are at school. There are advantages of having good friends and every girl needs one.  School can cause a lot of tension for the girls especially due to peer pressure, bullying, and being bound by rules and regulations which most students don’t find favorable. Dealing with the high expectations placed on them by their parents and teachers adds to the list of their frustrations. It is, therefore, necessary for the teachers, mentors and parents to change our attitudes towards the students which will better position us to engage with, understand and support them. Mentoring this generation plays such a critical part in their development and is a large responsibility. We must be forward thinkers who think about where this generation is heading ‘as well as’ where they are currently standing. It is important to teach them how to cultivate good relationships.

Healthy relationships are important. There must be honesty, respect and loyalty, areas of shared interest, trust, and consideration, amongst other characteristics, for good relationships to endure. When we spend time helping this generation, cultivating more positive character without judgment, the response is highly favorable. Good communication skills, good moral examples, and sensitivity to the needs, are some of the ways to win these teenagers over. The teenagers need to feel that someone relates to what they are going through and is willing to walk with them when they need help.  This can be done by steering clear of making their decisions for them, so that we can, rather, focus on helping them align their choices with the aim of empowering them and ‘helping’ them make wise decisions. Good decisions will help the girls undertake right actions that will create good, healthy outcomes.

We advise the girls at the Choice Club to choose their friends wisely, people bond by spending time together. Hang out over the weekends or plan activities and implement some projects together whenever possible. You do not have to live in each other’s pockets but make sure you spend some quality time together to nurture the friendship. To be a good friend does not cost much, all one must do is make sure you can both trust and emotionally support each other. A friend is someone who walks in when others walk out. A friend is a gift. Stand by your friend and avoid saying negative stuff behind their back, be a friend.

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