10 Things to tell your teenagers…. OFTEN!

  1. Responsibility is yours – Teenagers the world over are notorious for blaming other people when things go wrong. When they fail an exam they will blame the teacher, the pencils, the time of day or any other thing that crops into those imaginative brains of theirs. And yet when they succeed they will take full credit for that feat. We must always remind teenagers that they can to a large extent determine their destiny despite their circumstances. As long as they have breathe and an amazing brain, they can achieve anything they put their minds to.
  2. What is mine is mine not ours – Teenagers, as well as younger and older children, who are not brought up to work for their own accomplishments, grow up in their parents shadows. They may fail to learn responsibility, hard work and discipline. Yes, we as parents work hard to make our children’s lives easier that ours. Yes, they will eventually inherit what we have. But, that should not stop us from encouraging our children to strive to achieve for themselves by their own sweat. It will nurture responsibility and enhance their self esteem. More so, discourage laziness and dependence syndrome. Easy come, easy go.
  3. “Everybody does it,” – is a silly reason for doing anything except studying and obeying your elders. Teenagers should learn that they have an independent mind that they must use to make decisions for themselves. A saying I am borrowing from someone says, “the majority is a group of people who are tired of thinking for themselves and have let someone else do it for them.” If a teenager does something right or wrong, it should be because they have consciously chosen for themselves to do it and they can stand alone to justify their actions.
  4. You did it! – Is a worse answer than above. I always ask, “does something have to happen to you specifically for you to believe that it can happen.” Experience is the best teacher but one can learn just as well from other people’s experiences and not necessarily their own. So get a better reason for drinking, smoking and having unprotected sex. If I get hit by a bus and break a leg while running across the road at a non-designate area, will you follow my lead to confirm it happens?
  5. Never say never till you have been there – It is always interesting to hear young people say that they do not want to be like their parents or elders who may be considered uncool. The amazing thing with life is that in a short time, they will be adults doing the same thing. It is also advisable to encourage them to be tolerant of people who are different from them. Unless you have walked in another person’s shoes i.e circumstance, do not be too quick to judge.
  6. Sex is not a food group – Studies have not indicated any case, that I know of, of someone who has died from lack of sex. It is not a necessity. It is not running out. It is not prescribed by anyone. Teenagers should spend their time and energies on more productive pursuits for their age group. School, sports and talents should be nurtured. Sexually transmitted infections are still with us. Pregnancy is always a risk. One should think always of the future. You do not want to run for elective office and then pictures start appearing all over the World Wide Web….
  7. There is a big difference between going to school and attaining an education – Yes I know of entrepreneurs who have achieved much in life and did not climb to the top of the “usual” academic ladder. Does that mean that they are/were stupid? Of course not. Some were in the University when they discovered greatness, others were doing hands on work and learning in the process while others hire people who are more learned than them and learn from them. Thus, as you await to discover your break though, how about paying attention to your studies… There are many ways to “skin a cat”…..
  8. Act like an adult if you want to be treated like an adult – Teenagers are notorious for wanting to be treated like adults; when it suits them… Other times they will whine and beg for favors and help. I want to drive, go out alone and be independent. But, I do not want to make my bed, clean my room, make a meal, clean the dishes or do other chores. Adulthood is not just about freedom, it also involves responsibilities.
  9. It is better to have one true friend than be popular with the wrong crowd or for the wrong thing – It may look cool to be liked by all the boys in school because you offer yourself sexually but in five to ten years time, they will have moved on. What about you? You think you are cool because you aggravate teachers, bully younger people or disobey your parents. In ten years time, what will you be? A friend who does not help you become a better person is not a true friend.
  10. You can be anything you want to be – Do not be limit your potential based on your circumstances or other people’s expectations. In life, anything is achievable if one is willing to give it the time and effort it requires…

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