Boy-Girl Relationships

February 15, 2021

Having conversations about sex, relationships and communication from a young age makes it possible for children to feel comfortable talking about their feelings and relationships in their adolescence. Not all teenagers do, but most teenagers experiment with sexual behavior at some stage. Giving them clear information on safe sex, consent, contraception, and sexually transmitted infections means they are equipped to be safe. Plus, having this conversation early and more than once, means you can also talk about unwanted sexual behavior and peer pressure.

A lesson on boys and relationships would have been a topic that most girls would avoid in the past, but not today. Girls are struggling with relationships; they want to keep their boyfriends, at whatever cost, and mostly they suffer the consequences. Teenage pregnancies are on the rise. Most girl schools are asking for help on educating the girls on the need for abstinence; the girls, on the other hand, want to be taught about contraceptives and safe days. A number of schools have had to send girls home, so they can go and deliver their babies, then come back to school. A sad reality for the teachers and parents alike.

Today’s discussion at the Choice Club meeting focused on boy-girl relationships and body image.  Many of the girls gained weight during the Covid lockdown. They stayed home and indulged a lot and being at an age when they easily put on weight, they are feeling the effects of overeating. Being back in school, the girls who put on weight are being taunted by their fellow school mates. As teenagers, they have a picture in their heads of how a perfect body should be like.

The problem is a “perfect” body doesn’t really exist, at least not in the way it is defined in the media. So, chasing the “perfect” body can end only in disappointment. This leads to poor self-esteem, which can impact all other aspects of life. Girls naturally lose weight when in boarding school because the school diet is usually not very good. Unlike at home where they have access to snacks and junk food, at school they do not have such luxuries.

In today’s discussion, the girls said they feel the need to look their best because they want to impress the boys. None of the girls wants to lose her boyfriend to a better looking girl, and so they will do anything. Below are some of the notions that came up:

  • I’m not satisfied with my body.
  • A perfect body would make me happy.
  • A perfect body would earn me acceptance from others.
  • A perfect body would earn love and admiration, even attention.
  • I will do anything to have a perfect body.

My sentiments to these girls remains, to love themselves first and see their self-worth. They need to stop being needy, to be in control of their mental and emotional health, stop chasing boys that will definitely ruin their lives, and finally, they are too young for serious relationships. One can only attract the level of love that one feels for themselves, so loving themselves is key. They need to feed their soul in other ways outside of their relationships or else they won’t have anything left to give. Aiming to please the boys will leave them tired and frustrated; they need to stop being people pleasers and learn to speak their minds.

Our parting shot was that growing to love themselves isn’t an overnight process, and it may take longer depending on where one starts. Each needs to go at their own pace, and try to remember that wishing you were someone else isn’t going to get you anywhere—you are you. We hope with time, the girls can learn to embrace and celebrate themselves. The freedom to feel worthy is vital and will allow the girls the necessary space to get away from toxic situations.

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