Teen Social Problems

February 2020

Schools have been on a short break this past week and as the students went home, it was important to remind them about the risks that are out there. Boarding school can be boring for a teenager and any break in-between is always very welcome. Most of these girls, especially those in Form 2-4 are in relationships. As we tackle relationships both at home and at school, dating cannot be ignored; risky behavior at this age can affect the girls, and so making the right choices is key.

We had a question and answer session before the girls went on break, and in all the schools, the girls asked a lot of questions regarding relationships with the opposite sex. Every year we have new girls joining these schools and the message remains the same, responsible behavior and life choices. Dating at an early age has its risks. Younger adolescents are still developing their sense of self and learning about their likes, dislikes, and values. Younger adolescents also are more susceptible than older adolescents to peer pressure. Peers play an important role in influencing adolescent decisions about risky behaviors like having sex.

Pre-teen dating, especially for girls and especially when sex is involved, is associated with depression. Inequality within a relationship and poor treatment by a partner could well lead to depression, but the source of emotional difficulty could also come from outside the relationship. Very young girls who date often come from families that are struggling and may begin relationships already vulnerable to depression. There is also some evidence that depression leads young girls to seek relationships.

As parents and role models, we want to protect our teens and keep them healthy, that includes talking with them about relationships and about sex, so that they don’t feel pressured into it before they’re ready, and so they know how to prevent pregnancy and STDs when they are ready. Many parents do not talk to their children about sex and sexuality because they think that the topic is taught to their children in school. The majority of parents shy off from this topic but with all that is happening around us, especially due to social media, parents need to be more engaged with their children.

The parents, therefore, need to:

Talk to their teen about what constitutes a healthy relationship. Healthy communication, mutual respect, trust, and kindness are just a few of the things that should be at the center of a healthy relationship.

Being curious about the teen’s relationship without being overly intrusive. Ask questions about what their daughter gains from the relationship as well as what she offers.

Provide the teen with plenty of positive attention. If she feels close to you, she’ll be more open to talking about what’s going on when you’re not present.

 

We reminded the girls that every action has a consequence. If you aren’t mature enough to handle the potential consequence (pregnancy, STDs, heartbreak) — or your partner isn’t responsible enough — then you aren’t mature enough to do the deed.

The teenagers also deal with social problems both at school and at home. Bullying and peer pressure is experienced outside of school, too, and one needs to have confidence in who they are so that they can stand firm against the bullies. Body shaming has also become very common. Skin color is also another reason for bullying. Darker girls are using bleaching creams to look light; they believe a girl is more noticeable and attractive if she is light-skinned.

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